The World Trade Center Health Program-also known as WTC Health Program or WTCHP – also created several Clinical Centers of Excellence to serve responders and survivors of the 9/11 terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center who live in New York City. However, the 9/11 Ground Zero responders and survivors enrolled in the program live in every state in the nation. Many survivors and responders also live abroad. Does this mean all of those individuals must travel to New York City to obtain medical care and monitoring? This post answers the question What Is the Nationwide Health Program Network?
If you suffered injuries in the New York City disaster area on September 11, 2001, or in the months that followed while working as a responder, a volunteer assisting with the rescue, recovery, or clean up, or if you lived or worked in the area at the time, and you are or have been suffering with a medical condition because of exposure to the 9/11 toxins, you qualify to receive health care monitoring and medical treatment of associated conditions.
You do NOT have to travel to New York to receive these services. Instead, let an experienced 9/11 benefits attorney help you understand how to participate in the program through its Nationwide Health Program Network, also known as a nationwide provider network.
What Is the Nationwide Health Program Network?
The Nationwide Health Program Network, also known as a nationwide provider network, is an organization of vast health care resources that are located across the United States. These resources include health care information technology consultants, health care providers, and the ability to provide hospital operations staff.
#1. Who Administers The Network?
Logistics Health Incorporated serves as the national provider that administers the WTC Health Program, which provides network services for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which administer the WTC Health Program along with the National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH). Other federal agencies that Logistics Health Incorporated serves include the Veterans Health Administration, the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, the Administration for Children and Families, and others.
Logistics Health Incorporated was founded in 1999 to address military medical concerns regarding a mass immunization against anthrax.
#2. Who Qualifies For Services Through The Network?
The individuals eligible to obtain WTC Health Program services through the Nationwide Health Program Network include:
- Responders, such as active or retired fire or law enforcement personnel, emergency health workers, and those who assisted with the rescue, recovery, or cleanup efforts at any of the 9/11 terrorist attack sites during eligible times.
- Survivors, including those who lived, worked, went to school, attended daycare or adult daycare, worked as a cleanup or maintenance worker, or suffered from exposure to the dust cloud in the New York City disaster area on September 11, 2001.
#3. Can Members Obtain Certification of Medical Conditions Through the Network?
Most individuals will have to travel to one of several Centers of Clinical Excellence located throughout New York City to obtain certification of a medical condition, which can then be treated through the Nationwide Health Program Network. However, if the member cannot travel to New York City, the national provider network will coordinate and handle the certification, following the same process as the health care providers at the Centers of Clinical Excellence provide.
The process of obtaining an initial screening and certification through the Nationwide Health Program Network involves:
- Applying online at the WTC Health Program website. To apply, you must prove that you were at one of the 9/11 terrorist attack sites for the required length of time during the eligible time. This time and exposure period depend on which attack site you sustained your injuries as well as which type of survivor group to which you belong.
- Once you have enrolled in the program and supplied the supporting documentation to show your presence at one of the impacted sites during the periods of high toxic exposure, if you live outside of New York City and cannot travel for your initial exam, a representative of the nationwide provider network will contact you to discuss your medical needs and help you locate a provider in your area who can provide WTC Health Program services.
- Your initial medical exam occurs in three parts: First, you will participate in the completion of a medical history questionnaire over the phone. Your case manager will then contact you to schedule you for medical testing to assess your conditions. Finally, you will need to schedule a clinical evaluation with a physician who will go over your results with you and determine-based on the results-the next course of action in your medical treatment.
#4. What Type of Treatment Can You Receive Through the Network?
Some of the services now provided through the Nationwide Health Program Network include:
- Physical exams
- Dental services
- Behavioral health services
- Vision screening
- Lab services
For WTC Health Program members, the services that you qualify to receive depend on whether you are a responder or survivor.
Treatment options are:
- For responders from the 9/11 attacks in New York City, the Pentagon, and Shanksville, PA, the program provides through the network all monitoring, treatment, and medication for certified conditions unless the responder has obtained worker’s compensation benefits. In that case, the worker’s compensation program becomes the primary provider, and the WTC Health Program becomes a secondary payer.
- Survivors who lived, worked, or attended school in the New York City disaster area may obtain a one-time initial screening through the nationwide provider network. For certified conditions, the WTC Health Program covers expenses that remain after your primary insurance provider has paid its share.
In most cases, the nationwide provider network will bill insurance providers for both survivors and responders, meaning that the member will not need to take any further action to obtain the benefits available through the program.
#5. About The WTC Health Program
The James Zadroga 9/11 Health & Compensation Act established the WTC Health Program in 2011. The program officially launched in July of that year, replacing two earlier programs-the Medical Monitoring and Treatment Program and the WTC Environmental Health Center Community Program. When the program started, more than 50,000 responder members of the previous programs were grandfathered in to begin receiving services.
Currently, there are more than 82,000 9/11 responders and nearly 32,000 survivors who have enrolled in the program since its inception. The largest group of enrollees are general responders (those working on the rescue and recovery efforts from emergency service departments other than the New York City Fire Department, who account for about 56 percent of the program’s membership.
FDNY responders constitute the second largest group; they account for about 15 percent of the membership rolls for the WTC Health Program. The majority of program participants are now between the ages of 45 and 74.
Applying For The WTC Health Program? An Attorney Can Help