This spring, Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan announced the renewal of its two contracts with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health to fund two 9/11-related centers: the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program Clinical Center of Excellence (CCE) and the WTC General Responder Data Center at the Icahn School of Medicine’s Department of Environmental Medicine and Public Health. The renewals are for five years each.
As a WTC Health Program CCE, Mount Sinai provides “medical monitoring and treatment for workers and volunteers who participated in the cleanup and recovery efforts following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.” It is the largest such center in the country, caring for more than 22,000 responders at three locations, in Manhattan, Staten Island, and Yonkers.
The collection of health data is also a vitally important service, because its analysis drives policy and funding related to 9/11 health issues. According to the hospital, “The WTC General Responder Data Center at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai collects information from the Sinai CCE and four other clinical centers, serving more than 41,500 responders.” The total number of people registered in the WTC Health Program is about 77,000, so Mount Sinai is managing the lion’s share of information that could decide the future of 9/11 healthcare.
You might think the need for 9/11-related health screenings and data analysis would be subsiding 16 years after the terrorist attacks, but unfortunately, the opposite is true. Over time, more people have gotten sick with cancers that have long latency periods. And we’ve learned that first responders and recovery workers, who spent long days, weeks and months at Ground Zero, are only the tip of the iceberg. New victims are emerging, such as students and teachers at the local schools, office workers from the area, and residents of lower Manhattan.
These new victims are equally entitled to health screenings, treatment and monetary compensation, but their rights are time limited. Many of them are unaware of their rights; some, because of the passage of time, do not associate their disease with 9/11. Fortunately, thanks to the information collected at Mount Sinai and other data centers, we know enough about the connection of toxic exposure to disease that we have been able to establish legal presumptions about whether a condition is 9/11-related. If you were present in Manhattan south of Canal Street when the attacks occurred or in the months following and you develop one of the 68 cancers recognized as 9/11-related, help is available, but you must act now.
If you have questions about your eligibility for benefits from the WTC Health Program or the Victim Compensation Fund, contact our experienced attorneys who have represented 9/11 survivors from the outset. Call Barasch & McGarry at [ln::phone] or contact our office online.