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Press Releases / 2005 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 20, 2005

THOUSANDS OF FIRST RESPONDERS TO RECEIVE
MEDICAL AND SOCIAL WORK SERVICES FOR HEALTH
PROBLEMS RELATED TO SEPTEMBER 11

FDNY and Mount Sinai are among seven organizations to receive recovery grants from the American Red Cross Liberty Disaster Relief Fund

NEW YORK, June 20, 2005: An estimated 15,000 people who responded to the scene of the World Trade Center collapse will receive medical and social work services over the next two years for health problems related to the disaster through September 11 recovery grants totaling more than $16 million from the American Red Cross Liberty Disaster Relief Fund. The Fire Department of New York City and the Mount Sinai Center for Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine are among seven organizations (see below) that were awarded recovery grants to enhance existing government-funded programs that screen and monitor World Trade Center responders but do not cover their treatment costs. They reflect the Red Cross’s strategic, short-term support for public and private sector efforts to address the needs of the people who were most seriously affected by the events of September 11.

“The American Red Cross is coming to the aid of thousands of people who risked their lives and health to help New York recover from the World Trade Center collapse,” stated Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) during a press conference to announce the grants at the Greater New York Chapter of the Red Cross. “Without the support of the grants being announced today, many of these individuals could not afford the diagnostic tests and medications they now need for a variety of health conditions related to their heroic efforts at ground zero. These grants will also provide them with help in applying for publicly funded entitlement programs and accessing other community-based resources that can hopefully assist them with their recovery over the long term.”

Uniformed and non-uniformed workers and volunteers who participated in the arduous recovery and reconstruction effort at ground zero are the primary beneficiaries of the Red Cross September 11 recovery grants that were announced today. For as long as nine-months, they were exposed to a mix of dust debris, smoke and chemicals. Many are under- or uninsured individuals who suffer from a variety of symptoms, including difficulty breathing, gastrointestinal problems and debilitating back pain. These temporary grants will help pay for the additional diagnostic tests and medications currently not covered by the federal government as well as provide funding for ancillary services, including programs that will assist them in applying for workmen’s compensation and disability.

The grants announced today are part of nearly $90 million that the American Red Cross September 11 Recovery Program (SRP) projects it will award to established, non-profit organizations from now until 2007. These September 11 recovery grants will bolster the provision of services in communities that were the most directly affected by the terrorist attacks, and are a critical element of SRP’s sunsetting strategy.

“Since the terrorist attacks the Red Cross has been serving the victims of September 11 with a combination of direct financial assistance and case management to help them achieve self-sufficiency,” said Alan Goodman, SRP Executive Director. “Our recovery grants program now allows us to use the balance remaining in the Liberty Disaster Relief Fund to support non-profit institutions and community-based organizations that can address the longer-term mental and physical health needs of these individuals through a broader range of services than the Red Cross is chartered or equipped to provide.”

"This $5 million grant to the FDNY Fire Safety Education Fund will ensure that both active and retired members of the Fire Department continue to receive long-term medical care and support in the aftermath of September 11," said Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta. "Those individuals who selflessly dedicated themselves to the rescue and recovery work at the World Trade Center deserve access to the best medical care and monitoring. Without this grant and the support of the Red Cross, we would not have the financial resources for this undertaking."

"The generous support of the Red Cross allows treatment with no out-of-pocket expenses for hundreds more WTC responders who continue to suffer from health conditions related to their selfless work at ground zero," said Robin Herbert, MD, Co-Director of Mount Sinai Center's World Trade Center Health Effects Treatment Program. "Working in partnership with the Red Cross we've already provided over 6,300 medical and social support services, aiding well over 1,200 workers and volunteers. Thousands more continue to face serious medical conditions, including life-long illnesses. Our patients and all of us here at the Center are so grateful for the lifeline afforded by this grant."

New Funding Allows Clinics Throughout U.S. To Serve September 11 Responders

The FDNY and Mount Sinai programs will serve individuals predominantly in New York and New Jersey. A grant to the Association of Occupational and Environmental Clinics (AOEC) will make screening and treatment for September 11-related health problems available to 500 workers and volunteers from around the country who responded to the World Trade Center site. AOEC anticipates that its clinics in Irvine, CA; Washington, DC; Tampa, FL; Chicago, IL; Waltham, MA; Baltimore, MD; Albany, NY; Rochester, NY; Syracuse, NY; Cincinnati, OH; and Lorraine, OH will serve the greatest number of responders.

The temporary funding for all seven organizations will be provided over two years to ensure smooth continuity of services. It covers the cost of strategies to enroll and retain the targeted individuals in appropriate treatment programs, and to assist them in accessing other critical support services, including publicly funded insurance, private charitable assistance and transportation. It also ensures the development and dissemination of clinical guidelines to health care providers who will screen other people with similar conditions, including residents of lower Manhattan.

To date, 100 organizations in seven states have been awarded more than $45 million in September 11 recovery grants from the American Red Cross Liberty Disaster Relief Fund for programs that fall into five broad categories: Access To Recovery Services; Health Diagnosis and Treatment (see attached); Mental Health and Wellness; Strategic Opportunities; and Youth Recovery and Resilience. Funding for a sixth category, Community Recovery in Lower Manhattan, will be announced later this year. For more information on this program, visit www.recoverygrants.org.

About the American Red Cross September 11 Recovery Program The American Red Cross September 11 Recovery Program provides assistance, support and guidance to those most directly affected by the September 11 attacks. Current services include case management, financial assistance for mental health and health care, and other financial assistance. Through immediate disaster relief programs and funding of longer term initiatives, the American Red Cross September 11 Recovery Program has helped more than 57,000 individuals and families, in 48 states and 57 countries. For information on services, call (877) 746-4987 [TDD (800) 662-1220] or visit www.redcross.org/september11/help.

American Red Cross September 11 Recovery Program
Health Diagnosis and Treatment Grant Recipients

Association of Occupational and Environmental Clinics, with headquarters in Washington, DC and a network of facilities around the country, will receive $775,000 so that more than 500 World Trade Center (WTC) responders who live outside the greater New York area can access September 11-related medical services, including ongoing evaluation and treatment, closer to their homes. AOEC anticipates that its clinics in Irvine, CA; Washington, DC; Tampa, FL; Chicago, IL; Waltham, MA; Baltimore, MD; Albany, NY; Rochester, NY; Syracuse, NY; Cincinnati, OH; and Lorraine, OH will serve the greatest number of responders.

For further information, contact: Katherine H. Kirkland, MPH (202) 347-4976 or kkirkland@aoec.org

Bellevue Hospital Center (New York City Health & Hospitals Corporation) will receive $2,400,000 to provide medical evaluation and treatment for WTC-related illnesses for severely exposed residents of lower Manhattan. Services will include initial medical consultation with an integrated mental health and social service assessment; consultation or subspecialty testing for diagnosis and further evaluation of suspected illness; treatment for limited or prolonged illness; development of a multidisciplinary referral program; and development of practice guidelines for WTC-related health problems.

For further information, contact: James Saunders (212) 562-4516 or saunderj@nychhc.org

Fire Safety and Education Fund of the Fire Department of New York City will receive $5,085,000 to ensure that New York City firefighters, emergency medical service workers and retirees who were severely exposed to the World Trade Center site receive a full complement of services necessary for their recovery. These include specialized diagnostic testing, thorough medical monitoring and prevention programs to reduce behaviors that can contribute to poor respiratory health outcomes. For further information, contact: Virginia Lam (718) 999-2830 or lamv@fdny.nyc.gov

Long Island Occupational and Environmental Health Center (LIOEHC) at Stony Brook University (Research Foundation of the State University of New York) will receive $1,200,000 to expand clinical services, including diagnostic evaluation, care coordination and treatment or specialty treatment referrals for 1,800 responders identified by the WTC Medical Monitoring Program who live in Nassau and Suffolk Counties.

For further information, contact: Benjamin Luft, MD (631) 444-2066 or bluft@notes.cc.sunysb.edu

Mount Sinai Center for Occupational and Environmental Medicine (Mount Sinai School of Medicine) will receive $6,230,000 to expand the WTC Health Effects Treatment Program (HETP) in Manhattan, Queens and Yonkers, NY. Mount Sinai will also develop the HETP diagnostic service unit to provide streamlined access to standardized diagnostic testing, interpretation of diagnostic test results, and coordination of follow-up care for WTC responders whose screening warrants further medical evaluation; and disseminate the accumulated experience in the diagnosis and treatment of WTC-related health effects to other health care providers. Mount Sinai also will provide patients with social work and entitlements services to help ensure they receive the services and support they need.

For further information, contact: Marie Stelluti (212) 241-0176 or marie.stelluti@mssm.edu

Queens College (Research Foundation of the City University of New York) will receive $318,000 to engage first responders, including law enforcement, transportation, utility, city and construction workers, in screening programs through intensive peer-to-peer and union outreach. Responders who are found to have WTC-related health problems will be referred to appropriate treatment.

For further information, contact: Steven Markowitz, MD (718) 670-4184 or markowitz@cbns.qc.edu

University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey—Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (Foundation of the University of Medicine and Dentistry New Jersey) will receive $226,000 to enhance participation and expand testing to patients screened at Mt. Sinai and who now wish to be monitored in New Jersey.

For further information, contact: Iris Udasin, MD (732) 445-0123, ext. 600 or udasin@eohsi.rutgers.edu

Contact: Jeffrey Hon (SRP) 646-826-3242

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