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Clinton Schumer Announce Bill to Expand 9/11 Health Coverage

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2007 8:50 pm    Post subject: Clinton Schumer Announce Bill to Expand 9/11 Health Coverage
From Wed Jun 20, 2007 2:00 am to Sat Jun 23, 2007 1:59 am (included)
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June 20, 2007


Nina Blackwell (Clinton) (212) 688-9559

Risa Heller (Schumer) (212) 486-3627


Funding Comes as Thousands of Patients are Seeking Treatment for 9/11 Related Illness, with Numbers Rising Every Month

Funds to Expand Treatment to Residents, Office and Commercial Workers, Volunteers, Students, and Other Individuals

Call for Focus on Long-Term, Comprehensive Solution to Screen and Monitor all Individuals who were Exposed to the Environmental Hazards at WTC Site

WASHINGTON, DC – Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Charles Schumer today announced that a key Senate Committee has included an additional $55 million in federal funding to address the mounting health needs of those individuals who were exposed to the environmental hazards released as a result of the September 11, 2001 attacks upon the World Trade Center.

The funding, which comes in addition to the $50 million that was provided in the recent Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Bill, was included in the Fiscal Year 2008 Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS) Appropriations Bill by the Senate Labor, HHS, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee. The bill now moves to the full Senate Appropriations Committee where it is expected to be approved on Thursday.

“I am very pleased that this additional funding is coming to help those who have continued to suffer from the lingering results of the 9/11 attacks,” Senator Clinton said. “We continue to hear tragic stories from first responders, office workers, residents, students and others who are crippled by diseases and health problems resulting from exposure to toxic substances released by the attacks. While the Administration has not yet provided the necessary funding for these 9/11 health treatment centers, those of us close to this issue are keenly aware that without this funding, they are constantly under the threat of having to close their doors altogether. It is our national responsibility to care for those who did our country proud in the hours, days, weeks and months following that horrific attack. We cannot let 9/11’s living victims down. We will do everything we can to fight to get the funding that is needed to continue these vital health tracking and treatment services.”

“These workers were injured serving our nation in its greatest time of need, and now America must fulfill its responsibility to care for them in their time of need,” Schumer said. “I am pleased to see this funding going to the men and women who risked life and limb to bring America back after 9/11, but our work is not complete. More of our heroes develop debilitating diseases every year, yet we must still scratch and claw for every penny needed to take care of them. That is not right. We will continue to fight for full funding for our first responders to ensure they receive the attention and care they deserve.”

Specifically, the $55 million will go towards treatment, screening, and monitoring activities administered by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to help those individuals who were exposed to the environmental hazards released on and after 9/11. The bill also includes language requiring the Department of Health and Human Services, through NIOSH, to expand the program beyond responders and rescue workers to entities that would provide services to residents, office and commercial workers, volunteers, students, and other individuals who were exposed. Existing programs to serve those who were impacted include the centers in the Mt Sinai Consortium and the program run by the New York City Fire Department.

Finally, the bill approved today encourages the development of a long-term, comprehensive solution to screen and monitor all individuals who were exposed to the environmental hazards at the World Trade Center (WTC) site following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 and the provision of comprehensive medical services for those experiencing illnesses or injuries as a result of these exposures.

Senators Clinton and Schumer said that the funding approved late yesterday is a recognition of the importance of addressing the short and long-term health needs of those individuals who were exposed to the environmental hazards released as a result of the September 11, 2001 attacks upon the World Trade Center, and affirms the commitment of the federal government to provide assistance to those whose physical and mental health was adversely impacted as a result of this exposure. More than five years after the attacks, persistent health effects have been documented among residents, rescue and recovery workers, such as asthma, chronic sinusitis, and gastrointestinal conditions. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, and other health effects have also been diagnosed among many of those that have been exposed.
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