President Obama has signed the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act (HR 847) while in Hawaii. The Whitehouse released that this new law “extends and expands eligibility for compensation under the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund.” The Department of Health and Human Services is charged with the responsibility of running the World Trade Center Health Program with the passage of the legislation.
The law states that there will be “medical monitoring and treatment benefits to eligible emergency responders and recovery and cleanup workers” and “initial health evaluation, monitoring, and treatment benefits to residents and other building occupants and area workers in New York City who were directly impacted and adversely affected by such attacks.” This law extends benefits to survivors of the 911 attack on the World Trade Center in New York City.
A committee has been established to advise on health related issues concerning survivors and responders. It is composed of 4 occupational physicians (at least 2 of whom have experience treating WTC rescue and recovery workers), 1 physician with expertise in pulmonary medicine, 2 environmental medicine or environmental health specialists, 2 WTC responders, 2 WTC survivors, an industrial hygienist, a toxicologist, an epidemiologist, and a mental health professional.
A Steering committee has been established to coordinate health evaluations, treatment programs, and monitoring. It is comprised of representatives from the Centers for Excellence (servicing WTC responders), firefighters, police, NYC employees, and recovery and cleanup workers (including healthcare professionals such as nurses and nursing practitioners) who responded to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The steering committee also has 3 representatives from New York City. One will be selected by the NYC police commissioner, another by the NYC health commissioner, and another by the mayor of New York City.