Where We Stand -
BHS Is Proud of It's Accomplishments
MEDICAL CARE EXTENDING BEYOND CONTRACTUAL AGREEMENTS
- BHS is not involved in absence control issues. BHS is committed
to the health and well being of our uniformed members. The work
of firefighting and emergency medicine requires extremely fit individuals.
BHS activities, including duty evaluations (for both candidates
and incumbents), provide the fire/rescue/emergency medical team
with fit individuals to maximize everyone's safety. BHS medical
decisions remain independent, as our only goal is the health and
safety of our members.
- Annual medical evaluations are now performed according to a
regular cycle to nearly 14,000 uniformed service employees. A dedicated
staff of physicians, nurses, paramedics and support personnel have
been assigned to this unit. Additional blood testing (ex. Hazmat
levels), pulmonary function tests, exercise testing, cancer screening
and cardiovascular screening are now a part of this evaluation.
This medical was a model for the IAFF nationally recognized medical
- Blood tests at the annual medical can take several days to weeks
to return. To improve the annual medical interaction, blood testing
was moved to an earlier date (at the training academy) so that
results are available to each member and the medical officer at
the time of the annual medical.
- Hypertension screening is now a regular part of every visit
to BHS including annual medicals and injury/ illness evaluations.
- Tuberculosis testing and immunizations are a regular part of
our medical evaluation program.
- Influenza (flu) vaccinations are offered both at BHS and in
- BHS has renovated its facilities since moving to 9 MetroTech.
A comfortable waiting room with televisions has been provided.
Separate areas for annuals, injury/illness and specialty evaluations
have been provided. A board-certified physician sees each patient
individually in a private room. The medical chart has been computerized
to provide with a seamless and truly permanent record. Each member
leaving the injury/illness area is given a written diagnosis, duty
determination, return date and when treatment is provided a written
plan for their recovery.
- During clinic hours the medical officer no longer leaves BHS
to respond to multiple alarm fires unless a dire emergency has
- Post-exposure evaluation, testing, counseling and treatment
are available to all members.
- Prescriptions for medications are routinely provided. Expensive
post-exposure medications are provided through a plan that ensures
confidentiality and no need for out of pocket expenses. A quality
assurance program was added to prevent prescription of medications
to those with allergies.
- Specialty evaluations (orthopedics, physiatry, cardiac, respiratory,
psychiatric, renal [hypertension], emergency medicine, internal
medicine, and family medicine) are now routinely available at BHS.
Orthopedic evaluations are available by appointment 6 days per
week. Respiratory evaluations are available 2 days per week.
- Specialty testing (MRI, CAT scans, EMG, Cardiac Stress Testing,
Pulmonary Function Testing, Methacholine Challenge, Cold Air Challenge)
is routinely and expeditiously obtained for every member with persistent
medical issues. Members are sent to facilities that provide improved
service, faster appointments and faster turn around of reports.
This is a process that is constantly refined so that our initial
contracts for MRI and Physical therapy services were terminated
(at the request of BHS) and improved services are now being provided.
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In 2000 -- 1069 MRIs were performed
In 2001 -- 1472 MRIs were performed
In 2002 -- 2064 MRIs were performed
In 2003 (first 4 months) - 623 MRIs were performed
In 2002 -- 301 Chest CT scans were performed in response to 9/11
In 2003 (first 4 months) - 118 Chest CT scans were performed in response
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II. WTC RELATED ACCOMPLISHMENTS
- BHS was the first occupational medical unit to realize the need
for a comprehensive medical following WTC exposure. BHS successfully
argued for federal funding to provide this valuable medical evaluation
and treatment program. BHS was awarded $4.8 million to provided
initial and follow up medicals to incumbents and exposed retirees.
BHS is actively pursuing an additional $25 million to allow this
effort to continue.
- We completed 10,500 WTC Medicals in 5 months form October 2001
to February 2002. All results were sent to each member. Our medical
was used as a model for medicals currently offered by other medical
institutions to non-FDNY employees throughout this region. When
compared to other organizations, our medical remains the most comprehensive
and we have provided more medicals than any other organization.
- We are the only organization to have started follow up medicals
and to date have already provided over 4,000 WTC follow up medicals.
- By providing this medical through BHS, we provided rapid and
more extensive testing than outside facilities, maintained medical
confidentiality, provided diagnostic evaluation and treatment thereby
reducing medical leave while allowing the WTC recovery effort to
- WTC Medical and other related activities were used to publish
in the most prestigious medical journals, evidence that FDNY 1st
Responders were exposed and affected by WTC. Again, this was done
using group data without identifying individuals. Only by allowing
prestigious medical journals to review and publish our results
can we assure that medical issues are taken seriously and that
external funding continues to be available.
- BHS with an outside panel of nationally recognized mental health
experts (with vast experience dealing with Oklahoma and Gulf-War
mental health issues) developed a mental health questionnaire to
better understand the needs of our members and to design services
customized to our members and their families. The various unions
asked for special confidentiality protection from the federal government
and BHS obtained this agreement.
- After intense lobbying by Dr. Kelly and Malachy Corrigan, BHS
and the Counseling unit was awarded over $8 million from the federal
government and additional dollars from private foundations. We
have worked closely with the IAFF, UFA and UFOA for additional
- BHS spearheaded FDNY Fire and EMS involvement in Phase I of
the Federal Smallpox initiative.
- We are committed to our members' active and retired. RETIRED
members who were on active duty and exposed to WTC are eligible
for a WTC Medical or WTC-Follow-up medical through a dedicated
federal grant to the FDNY-BHS. RETIRED members still come to BHS
for medical treatment of WTC respiratory medical issues.
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III. PREVENTIVE MEDICINE
- CARDIOVASCULAR: The number one cause death in firefighters (service
and non-service connected) remains myocardial infarction.
- CHOLESTEROL: The annual medical provides cardiovascular risk
modification counseling for cholesterol lowering.
- HYPERTENSION: The annual medical and our injury/illness evaluations
monitor blood pressure and provide counseling for hypertension
- TOBACCO CESSATION: Firefighters are exposed to numerous toxins
and carcinogens at fires and rescues. All compounded by the WTC
- After the WTC, BHS partnered with American College of Chest
Physicians (Chest Foundation), Pharmacia, and the IAFF to provide
voluntary, non-punitive, no-cost state of the art tobacco cessation
to all tobacco using members AND their families. Medication is
provided at no-cost through monthly meetings at BHS.
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IV. OUTSIDE FUNDING
- WTC Medicals and Follow up Medicals have been funded through
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National
Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) totaling:
$4.8 million years 1 and 2
$25 million future years
- WTC Behavorial and Health Treatment exceeds $8 million
- Tobacco Cessation treatment $500,000 in funding (Chest Foundation,
IAFF) and donated medications (Pharmacia)
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RETIREES - STAY CONNECTED
If you are like most firefighters, the firehouse is more than just part
of your job. It is a part of your life. And when a life change as dramatic
as leaving the firehouse occurs, you are likely left feeling a little
Retiring from a job is never an easy transition, but firefighters suffer
especially hard. The close-knit, family-like nature of the fire department
supplies many of those you consider loved ones as well as emotional comfort
and a sense of place. The fact that many are facing pre-mature retirement
due to injuries sustained in the line of duty only makes the change more
painful. There are, however, steps you can take to ease the transition
to civilian life.
Just because you are no longer fighting fires does not mean that you
cannot still find refuge in your old house and solace in your active-duty
comrades. Stay involved with your firehouse; stop by often. You can also
get help from the Department. A new program called Stay Connected can
help you design a customized post-retirement plan that meets your needs.
Whether you are retiring due to disability and are looking for new job
options or are leaving the department after a full career of service and
are seeking ways to stay involved, the program can help you. If you are
looking to go back to school, refine your resume, or just spend your days
fishing the Stay Connected program can ease the transition from active
duty to retirement. Career workshops, individual educational counseling,
luncheons, trainings, and social activities are all offered. For more
information, contact firefighter Greg Smith or Kim Davis at 212-570-1693.
Retiring from the job does not have to mean the end of your active,
department life. Being a firefighter is part of what makes you who you
are and you do not need to abandon this identity. Instead, enjoy your
new-found freedom in life. Show up and cook for the boys one afternoon.
Volunteer with the Stay Connected program and meet other retirees. Overall,
remember that you are, and always will be, part of a proud tradition and
family. And that is something to hold on to.
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Dr. Kerry Kelly
Chief Medical Officer
Dr. David Prezant
Deputy Chief Medical Officer
Director, FDNY CSU
Mary T. McLaughlin
Director, FDNY BHS