Northwell Health’s commitment to treat first responders from the September 11, 2001 terror attacks – and its toxic aftermath – received a crucial boost with the awarding of a $11.2 million federal contract that will allow the Queens Clinical Center of Excellence to operate until 2021.
The Queens World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program has 3,431 patients under care, including 1,170 diagnosed with WTC-related conditions and 232 first responders certified for cancer, according to clinic director Jacqueline Moline, MD. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health approved $11,281,014 in funding for the 3,650-square-foot center at 97-77 Queens Boulevard, which took effect on April 1.
“Our new contract will ensure that we can continue to provide outstanding patient care to our patients for the next five years – and for an additional 70 years after that under the auspices of the James L. Zadroga 9/11 Health & Compensation Act,” said Dr. Moline, chair of occupational medicine, epidemiology and prevention at Northwell Health. “Our solemn pact with our patients is to provide the best care for their WTC-related medical conditions and to learn about new conditions that might arise so that we can identify disease early and ensure prompt treatment.”
From the heroics of 9/11 first responders to the selfless work of countless others who toiled on the pile at Ground Zero, Northwell Health has provided federally funded health care services to those New Yorkers who answered the call – 4,488 treatment visits and 6,182 follow-up evaluations – since the program was founded 2011.
Enrollees are entitled to free annual exams, cancer screenings and treatment for WTC-associated conditions. The staff ensures patients receive excellent, seamless care and thorough case management. Continued medical care will be crucial in the coming years because the hazardous pollutants unleashed by the collapsing Twin Towers will present itself in the form of more cancers and other health issues as first responders age, Dr. Moline said.
“The WTC health program is still relevant 16 years after the attack on September 11, 2001 because we are continuing to identify and treat the thousands of men and women who had exposure to the detritus from the WTC collapse,” said Dr. Moline. “We are committed to learning what happens to people after a large-scale attack with unprecedented levels of toxins in the air, to care for these individuals but also prepare for future disasters.”