Joined: Mar 17, 2005
Location: Staten Island
|Posted: Thu Aug 28, 2008 8:11 pm Post subject: H. R. 6594
From Thu Aug 28, 2008 3:00 am to Sun Aug 31, 2008 2:59 am (included)
|Why did WTC FDNY Members recently stage a Rally at the Manhattan office or Rep. Carolyn Maloney, a sponser of a proposed Bill HR 6594?
Why do they favor the bill, but demand changes?
Will FDNY Employees and Retirees really lose benefits as compared to other groups?
Why don't we just look at the proposed Bill and the Proposed Amendments?
2D SESSION H. R. 6594
(Click Here for Full Text of Proposed Bill)
UNIFORMED EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICE OFFICERS UNION
Lieut. Thomas K. Eppinger
Capt. John Sullivan
67-53 Woodhaven Boulevard, Suite #106 , Rego Park , NY 11374 , Tel: 1.800.289.7161 Fax: 718.732.2797
Proposed Amendments to H.R. 6594,
formerly 3543, the 9/11 Health Compensation Act
for FDNY EMS Employees and Retirees
We appreciate all the work that went into this legislation and the initiatives provided therein for rescuers, volunteers, workers and residents both in NY and nationally as many of our retirees leave NY for climates more conducive to their breathing or injuries; so the national program will help them, not just the people that came from other states to assist NY in our time of need. We do however request a minor amendment.
The primary issue is on the following pages:
1. Page 33, line 4-12
2. page 34, lines 22-24 and page 35 lines 1-2
3. Page 41, lines 22-24 and page 42 lines 1-2
4. Page 50, lines 17-25 and page 51, lines 1-3
All of these sections are verbatim below.
1. On Page 33 under "Center of Excellence Defined," line 4-12, it states, "(A) FOR FDNY RESPONDERS IN NEW YORK – With respect to an eligible WTC responder who responded to the 9/11 attacks as an employee of the Fire Department of the City of New York and who resides in the New York metropolitan area, such Fire Department (or such entity as has entered into a contract with the Fire Department for monitoring and treatment of such responders)."
Proposed Text Change
"(A) For FDNY RESPONDERS – With respect to an eligible WTC responder who responded to the 9/11 attacks as an employee of the Fire Department of the City of New York, such Fire Department (or such entity as has entered into a contract with the Fire Department for monitoring and treatment of such responders), Mt. Sinai or Consortiums. The FDNY program is only open to FDNY Responders and is an alternative to other Centers of Excellence."
FDNY responders (active and retired) should have an option to select the
center of excellence in which they want to be treated both for privacy and for freedom. No other City employee is required to attend employer based program.
2. On page 34 line 22 to page 35 line 2, it states, "(A) FOR FDNY RESPONDERS IN NEW YORK – With respect to an eligible WTC responder who responded to the 9/11 attacks as an employee of the Fire Department of the City of New York, such Fire Department. "
PROPOSED TEXT CHANGE:
Add the following text after the last sentence; "….or may have the option to participate in the Mt Sinai or Coordinated Consortiums for Monitoring and Treatment as an alternative."
FDNY responders (active and retired) should have the option to seek treatment at the center of excellence in which they wish to be treated both for privacy and freedom. No other City employee is limited to an employer based program, options provide privacy and comfort.
3. On page 41 lines 21-24 and page 42 lines 1-2 it states, " (2) The term ‘current consortium arrangements’ means the arrangements as in effect on the date of the enactment of this title between the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the Fire Department of the City of New York." And page 42, lines 17-24, "The term ‘Mt Sinai coordinated consortium’ means the consortium coordinated by Mt Sinai hospital in New York City that coordinates the monitoring and treatment under the current consortium arrangements for WTC responders other than with respect to those covered under the arrangement with the Fire Department for the City of New York."
PROPOSED TEXT CHANGE:
"Current Consortium Arrangements" must include the option for FDNY Responders to attend the center of excellence of their wishes and protection of medical information. Mt. Sinai and the coordinated consortiums must be allowed to accept FDNY employees and retirees. As of November 2007 Retirees were granted the ability to choose the center to provide their care and not be mandated into the FDNY. This bill does not reflect that, and we are continuously working on the same rights for active FDNY employees.
4. On page 50 line 17-25 and Page 51 lines 1-3, it states, "In the case of an eligible WTC responder who is an active member of the Fire Department of the City of New York, the responder shall receive such benefits as part of the individual’s periodic company medical exams."
PROPOSED TEXT CHANGE:
Remove this provision completely, as every FDNY employee should have the option of where they are monitored as this program is invasive, can violate their privacy as conducted by the employer, has installed fear into our members and is well beyond the scope of the pre 9/11 annual exam for the purpose to determine fitness for duty. The FDNY can provide this exam, but under OSHA 29 CFR 1910 and others similar, attending an employer monitoring program is voluntary and for EMS, they fall under the jurisdiction of NYS Workers’ Compensation and WCS §13a and 13j which provide for choice of medical provider. NIOSH also funds this program for voluntary participation only and was not intended to be commingled or mandatory.
The treatment of FDNY responders should be no different than any other responder. Employees and Retirees and should not be required to attend an employer monitoring program. The employee will continue to attend the annual medical exam, just not the augmented exam that consists of the WTC monitoring program if they elect not to. No one should be forced into research against their choice, or the law. Even NYPD members can seek monitoring outside the
NYC Police Department and their Health Services does not require them to only attend their program. The FDNY should not be forcing its workforce into an WTC monitoring program. They compel all workers to particpate in their annual medical exam which by NFPA and Civil Service Regulations must be conducted. The City of NY has conducted these exams since their inception, and now, in order to get Federal funding, they converted this exam into the WTC Monitoring exam and charge the Federal Government for it.
WTC Steering Committee: FDNY EMS Retirees Association and the Retired Firefighters Associations should have a seat on the advisory committee (steering committee) as the active unions do not represent themand in another 12-15 years, the unions will have no members exposed to WTC, they will be retired. DC37 our former parent union represents older retirees whom almost none have had WTC exposures or are compelled into this program like our members. Since DC37 has repeatedly refused to assist in this cause, FDNY retiree associations should be granted seats since almost ALL of our members are affected.
In this paper we quote NYS Law and OSHA Regulations. Here they are for easy reference.
NYS Workers’ Compensation Law §13a and 13j:
An injured employee may, when care is required, select to treat him or her any physician authorized by the chair to render medical care, as hereafter provided. (6) Any interference by any person with the selection by an injured employee of an authorized physician to treat him, except when the selection is made pursuant to article ten-A of this chapter, and the improper influencing or attempt by any person improperly to influence the medical opinion of any physician who has treated or examined an injured employee, shall be a misdemeanor;
2) An employer may maintain a compensation medical bureau at the place or places of employment, if such bureau is required because of the nature of the industrial hazards, or the frequency of injuries to employees arising out of industry. Such bureau or bureaus shall be authorized and licensed pursuant to section thirteen-c, and their use by an injured employee shall be optional in accordance with the provisions of section thirteen-a.
OSHA/PESH 29CFR 1910.1025(j): While this provision is specifically for lead, the other provisions regarding toxins in Table Z say basically the same thing as proven by the OSHA opinion.
The employer shall instruct each examining and consulting physician to:
Not reveal either in the written opinion, or in any other means of communication with the employer, findings, including laboratory results, or diagnoses unrelated to an employee's occupational exposure to lead; and
Advise the employee of any medical condition, occupational or non-occupational, which dictates further medical examination or treatment.
The above also is being violated by the FDNY as the Department Doctors know all details of diagnosis or medical information not related to a toxic exposure merely from the members’ participating in the questionnaires. The monitoring is conducted by employer physicians and the data is stored in employer owned computers and entered by employees of the FDNY. Drs. Prezant and Kelly know all the medical details of members in their program and by name even information not related to but identified through monitoring.
As per the OSHA standard interpretation letter (http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=INTERPRETATIONS&p_id=19113
"As you know, such blood lead testing must be provided in conformance with the biological and medical requirements of the lead standard, at S1910.1025(j). However, neither the lead standard, nor any other OSHA standard, makes participation in the medical surveillance program mandatory for the employee. The employer's obligation is to provide medical tests and examinations as required, whether or not an employee cooperates."
Therefore, at least under these three provisions of law, the FDNY should not be forcing us into their monitoring and treatment program, and neither should the 9/11 Health Compensation Act.
CONDITION OF EMPLOYMENT:
As a recent condition of employment, all EMS employees were notified on their Notice of Exam that the employer may conduct a physical or psychological exam to determine fitness for duty. The scope of the WTC monitoring exam is well beyond fitness for duty. The annual medical prior to 9/11 did not incorporate the monitoring as it was not necessary to determine fitness. Post 9/11 the FDNY unilaterally decided to merge or co-mingle the "monitoring program" into the annual medical, but it is really two programs that they are using NIOSH funding to pay for and have made participation mandatory.
In 1994, NYC had notices of exam that did not have provisions for periodic medical and psychological testing. This is another example of how members were hired under one provision and the FD changed the terms without mandatory negotiations and using Federal Funds to pay for it.