VCF Update: Medical Monitoring Program Update and Preliminary Regulations

WORLD TRADE CENTER INFORMATION ALERT

We are writing with updated information concerning the World Trade Center Medical Monitoring and Treatment Program and also to provide you with additional information concerning the World Trade Center Victim Compensation Fund.

WORLD TRADE CENTER MEDICAL MONITORING AND TREATMENT PROGRAM

There will be several changes to World Trade Center Medical Monitoring and Treatment Program in the upcoming weeks.

As of July 1, 2011, the World Trade Center Medical Monitoring and Treatment Program (MMTP) will become the WTC Health Program. The WTC Health Program was created by the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act which was enacted into law this past winter. As you may be aware, this law also created the World Trade Center Victim Compensation Fund.

If you are presently enrolled in the World Trade Center MMTP through Mount Sinai Hospital, Bellevue Hospital, or many of the other participating hospitals in the New York metropolitan area, or the National Responder Health Program, you will automatically be enrolled into the new WTC Health Program. Your treatment will continue as before. You should receive a Welcome Packet from the WTC Health Program shortly. This information in the Welcome Packet should answer any questions you may have concerning potential benefits.

We have been in touch with representatives of NIOSH, the organization running the WTC Health Program. While they do not anticipate that there will be any problems in the transition from the MMTP to the WTC Health Program, they suggest that if any patients have prescriptions which are due to be re-filled in early July, they should try to refill them now. NIOSH suggests doing this in case there are any early computer glitches that may delay the prescription being filled.

If you are not yet enrolled in the program we strongly suggest that you do so immediately. The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act has placed a limit on the number of new enrollees to the WTC Health Program. Therefore, it would be in your best interest to apply now, before the program no longer accepts new patients.

There are many benefits to enrolling in the program, including annual check-ups, free treatment for your World Trade Center-related injuries, and participation in a study of the impact that September 11th and the World Trade Center dust and debris has had on survivors’ and responders’ health. Even if you currently have health insurance, we encourage you to participate.

For more information and answers to frequently asked questions, we direct you to the Program’s website, http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/wtc/ or you may contact them at 1-888-WTCHP4U (888-982-4748). You may also contact the Program through the website or the telephone number to enroll.

WORLD TRADE CENTER VICTIM COMPENSATION FUND

As we have previously advised, we have been waiting for the Justice Department to issue the regulations for the Victim Compensation Fund. The initial draft of these Regulations was published on Tuesday, June 21, 2011. There will now be a 45-day period during which the public may comment on these rules before the final version is published by the Department of Justice later this Summer or early Fall.

We will address a few of the relevant issues that are referenced in the initial version of the Regulations. Please keep in mind that these initial regulations are subject to significant change and modification after the Special Master, who will be supervising the Victim Compensation Fund, reviews all comments received. Additionally, the Special Master has certain discretion to make exceptions and review additional information on a case by case basis. After a review of the just-released initial draft of the Regulations, it appears that:

  • In order to be eligible for The Victim Compensation Fund you must have a physical injury. If a person is suffering only from a psychological disorder (i.e. PTSD) there will be no compensation for this injury.
  • If a person previously received money from the initial Victim Compensation Fund that was established shortly after 9/11/01, we will be able to file an amended claim for you if there is a new injury not previously claimed or if your condition is now significantly worse.
  • The Victim Compensation Fund will generally follow the lead of the WTC Health Program in determining what injuries to cover.
  • One factor of eligibility will be the geographic area in which you were exposed to injury. Currently the area in the Victim Compensation Fund includes Manhattan, south of Reade Street from the Hudson River to Centre Street and then South to the Brooklyn Bridge and East to the East River.
  • Another factor of eligibility concerns the time when you may have been exposed to injuries. Currently, the time period is stated to be from September 11, 2001 through May 30, 2002.
  • Proof will be required of your presence at the locations where you were injured or exposed to injury. It is important that you continue to maintain any records or proof you have concerning your time spent in the vicinity of the World Trade Center.

A copy of the initial draft of Regulations may be found at the following web site: Click Here

You may also submit comments on the Regulations at that website. Some of our partners have already spoken with the Justice Department concerning these regulations and are also meeting with the newly appointed Special Master who will supervise the Victim Compensation Fund.

Very truly yours,

Robert A. Grochow, Esq.

Robert Grochow

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Robert Grochow has over 30 years of experience as a personal injury lawyer in New York, serving as co-counsel in over a thousand cases. He has also received recognition as one of New York’s “Most Honest Lawyers” from the National Law Journal/Washington Post.

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