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Thread: A Fallen Hero - Video Inside

  1. #571
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Kathleen, meet Martin: 9/11 hero has lesson for U.S. Health Sec'y Sibelius

    Monday, May 4th 2009, 4:00 AM

    It was New York's great good fortune to see the smiling face of Fire Lt. Martin Fullam on his release from the hospital last week after a lung transplant.

    "I'm the luckiest man in the world," Fullam said as he left New York-Presbyterian Hospital Columbia in Manhattan. While luck played a role in Fullam's survival, he is also a hero whose story reinforces the pressing need to establish a coordinated health program for 9/11 rescue and recovery workers.

    Fullam, now 56, raced to Ground Zero that terrible day and worked 10-hour shifts for weeks at The Pile, inhaling toxic dust and destroying his lungs in the same way that so many others destroyed their lungs.

    Robbed of 70% of his lung capacity by pulmonary fibrosis, he needed an oxygen tank to breathe. His only hope was a transplant and, miraculously, a lung became available.

    The procedure is costly. Fullam had the benefit of a federal program for Trade Center responders that has operated hand-to-mouth for years.

    At the same time, Fullam also suffers from an exceedingly rare autoimmune disorder that attacks muscles, called polymyositis. It shows up in five of every 100,000 people in the general population, but the Fire Department, with 12,000 members, has recorded six cases.

    Doctors are certain pulmonary fibrosis is Trade Center-related. But not whether WTC exposure triggered polymyositis. The question demands research and answers.

    Newly confirmed federal Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sibelius ought to take a close look at Fullam's history. For it documents why the federal government must get fully behind health care for the forgotten victims of 9/11.

    The effort needs proper funding as well as leadership by an expert who can monitor 9/11 health trends and treatment advances with an eye toward spotting emerging WTC-linked diseases. That person should be the indomitable Dr. John Howard.

    As head of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Howard was the first federal official to recognize that WTC rescue and recovery workers were really and truly sick. Named by President George W. Bush as the nation's 9/11 health coordinator, he advocated forcefully for monitoring and treatment programs - and was fired for those efforts.

    Howard was, and is, the best physician for the job.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  2. #572
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    Jan 2005
    $70 Million for 9/11 Health Care in President’s Budget

    For Immediate Release: May 7, 2009

    Contacts: Joe Soldevere (Maloney), 212-860-0606
    Ilan Kayatsky (Nadler), 212-367-7350
    Carol Danko (King), 202-225-7896
    Lauren Amendolara (McMahon), 202-225-842

    Washington, D.C. – Representatives Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Peter King (R-NY), and Michael McMahon (D-NY) today applauded the inclusion of $70,723,000 in funding for the World Trade Center Health Programs in President Obama’s budget for Fiscal Year 2010. The lawmakers are sponsors of the 9/11 Health and Compensation Act (H.R. 847), which would provide more than $10 billion for critical health care and compensation for those sickened or injured in the aftermath of 9/11. The Members of Congress hope to pass the bill with President Obama’s support by the eighth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

    “It’s a new administration and a new day for 9/11 health programs. This $70 million in federal funding will keep the doors of 9/11 health clinics open until we pass comprehensive 9/11 health legislation, hopefully this summer,” said Rep. Maloney. “I thank President Obama for his continued support of the heroes and heroines of 9/11.”

    “I want to thank President Obama for including this $70 million in funding for the WTC Health Programs,” said Rep. Nadler. “This $70 million will be put to immediate use for the significant health care needs of first responders, residents, workers and students who are suffering ill health effects as a result of exposure to post-9/11 toxins. Now let’s pass the 9/11 Health and Compensation Act and ensure that sufficient funding will be available every year for these victims.”

    “It’s been over seven years since the heroes of 9/11 were exposed to the toxins of the dust cloud, yet the health effects from exposure continue to develop,” said King. “The World Trade Center Health Programs are essential to monitoring the health of all who were exposed and I am pleased that the president has included 9/11 health funding in his budget.”

    “President Obama’s inclusion of $70 million for 9/11 health programs shows the residents of New York City, and the citizens of this country at large, that we will indeed never forget,” said Rep. McMahon. “I applaud the President for his commitment to these heroes.”

    Earlier this year, the House passed and President Obama signed into law the Fiscal Year 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act (H.R. 1105), which contains $70 million in funding for FY 2009 for federal 9/11 health programs.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  3. #573
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Dear Jonathan:

    Thank you for contacting me with your support for H.R. 847, the proposed James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2009. I appreciate the opportunity to respond to your concerns.

    As you may know, H.R. 847 would, if enacted, provide medical treatment and compensation to first responders, construction workers, local residents and others who became ill as a result of exposure to Ground Zero toxins after the attacks of September 11, 2001. The bill would re-open the Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) in order to provide compensation to the responders and community members whose illnesses did not manifest until after the VCF deadline.

    H.R. 847 was introduced by Representative Carolyn Maloney of New York on February 4, 2009 and was referred to the House Committees on Energy and Commerce and the Judiciary. Although I am not a Member of either of these Committees, please know that I intend to support the bill should it come before the full House for a vote.

    Again, thank you for contacting me with your views on this issue. If I can be of help to you or your family in the future, please let me know.

    With kind regards, I am Sincerely,

    Jim Gerlach
    Member of Congress
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  4. #574
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    New bills would aid 9/11 heroes
    Legislation in Congress and City Council would help first responders by increasing medical coverage

    Monday, June 08, 2009

    STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- The way Bay Terrace resident Gary White puts it, he didn't retire three years ago, he just switched careers from commanding officer of a Lower Manhattan detective squad to "professional patient."

    His list of maladies includes severe asthma, gastroesophageal reflux disease, sleep apnea, pulmonary artery disorder and a stroke that resulted in temporary paralysis and permanent brain damage.

    Physicians at several hospitals, including Staten Island University Hospital, traced the 54-year-old's medical condition to months of recovery efforts at "The Pile" at Ground Zero and the former Fresh Kills Landfill.

    A panel of surgeons at the NYPD Medical Board didn't buy it, and twice refused him a line-of-duty disability pension. That designation would have granted White a bigger income and better benefits than the regular pension he now gets, including footing the cost of thousands of dollars of out-of-pocket expenses.

    But legislation recently introduced in City Hall and Congress after more than a year of delay may help White and other officers who have fallen through the cracks of the confusing and incomplete medical care provided by the government for Sept. 11 illnesses.

    "I don't understand. I am sick from 9/11. The doctors have said so. So why am I being denied?" White said.

    White helped to create The 9/11 Police Aid Foundation, in part to lobby for the bills, which would provide full coverage and long-term funding for all responders. Those bills have stalled, mostly amid concerns over the costs.

    "The bill before the Council will certainly increase the costs of medical coverage -- in fact, it is extremely difficult to estimate what those costs will be," said Joey Kara Koch, a member of the police and fire pension boards and special counsel to Mayor Michael Bloomberg on the issues of Sept. 11 illnesses, at a hearing for the Council bill in City Hall last week.

    The bill, introduced last February by then-North Shore Councilman Michael McMahon, would provide full line-of-duty health coverage for a city employee with any of the designated Sept. 11 medical conditions as long as they meet eligibility requirements for the time spent at World Trade Center sites. All three Island Councilmen have signed on as sponsors.

    Beside the unknown costs, Ms. Koch said the Bloomberg administration does not support the bill because it "strips medical professionals of the ability" to make decisions.

    But Frank Tramontano, research director for the Patrolman's Benevolent Association, said the NYPD's medical panel rarely grants line-of-duty benefits to officers who meet the state criteria for Sept. 11 illnesses. From January 2007 to December 2008, 59 police officers were approved for accidental disability under the state World Trade Center Disability Law; only three were provided line-of-duty benefits, according to PBA stats. Tramontano estimates some 10,000 PBA members -- about a third of the city's current police force -- may have applied for such benefits.

    In total, more than 1,000 uniformed city employees were granted line-of-duty disability for post-Sept. 11 medical conditions, though it is unclear how many applied.

    "We do not have a pre-approved list of illnesses. If something comes our way, we make the evaluation and follow the science that has been published," she said.

    The problem, advocates and medical experts say, is that the science of post-9/11 illness is changing almost every year, as more and more people exhibit new symptoms.

    The city and federal government have addressed the problem by providing free integrated physical and mental health care for eligible patients at designated World Trade Center Centers of Excellence across the city, including one at Richmond University Medical Center in West Brighton. But critics point out the coverage is limited. The centers do not treat illnesses that have yet to be recognized as Sept. 11-related -- cancer, for example -- and it is difficult for some of the most ill patients to travel to them.

    Thus far, the 9/11 health centers have been funded through ad-hoc appropriations, and a non-responder program is funded entirely with city dollars. Members of Congress from New York presented a long-term solution with the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which was finally introduced at a session in February. The bill would establish a permanent WTC Health Program within the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health to provide medical monitoring and treatment benefits to those who adversely affected by the attacks.

    The bill stalled last year, but was re-introduced this February with strong support from House Democratic leaders and the bipartisan New York delegation.

    James Oddo (R-North Shore) said the Council could be "fine-tuned" in a way that controls the costs. However, he stressed the "overriding concern" is the city meeting its obligation to those who sacrificed their health in the performance of their duties.

    "If there are X number of officers who are genuinely impacted by exposure to Ground Zero, then we have a responsibility to take care of them, regardless of the fiscal impact," Oddo said.

    "They were there for us. I haven't forgotten that," he added.

    Peter N. Spencer covers City Hall for the Advance. He can be reached at
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  5. #575
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Awards ceremony pays tribute to NYPD's Finest, including 9/11 heroes


    Awarded a medal of honor by the NYPD Tuesday, Detective Angel Cruz said he was just glad he was around to accept it.

    And no wonder.

    Cruz came within a quarter-inch of death two years ago after a vicious thug plunged a six-inch knife into his head in a Brooklyn subway station.

    Though gravely wounded, Cruz shot and wounded the suspect, chased him down the stairs and held him at gunpoint.

    "I feel blessed to even be here," said Cruz, one of 52 cops honored for bravery on the job and off-duty at an annual ceremony.

    He returned to full duty in October 2007, and was promoted to detective last year.

    For the first time, the NYPD awarded Distinguished Service Medals to 10 officers who died of illnesses caused by their work at Ground Zero and the Fresh Kills landfill after Sept. 11, 2001.

    Mayor Bloomberg hung a medal around a young Garret Helmke's neck in recognition of his late father, Police Officer Robert Helmke, who died July 28, 2007, from 9/11 sickness.

    Detective Richard Burt was also recognized for calm under fire with a Medal of Valor for his response when a gunman killed Councilman James Davis at City Hall July 23, 2003. From 40 feet away, Burt pulled out his Glock 9-mm. and fired six times, killing the gunman.

    "It's something that makes you appreciate life," Burt said. "Going home, the small things of life."
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  6. #576
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    9/11 heroes may get health care cuts while hospital fights government

    Tuesday, June 16th 2009, 4:00 AM

    Nearly 2,000 sick 9/11 first responders could be left without medical care while a New Jersey hospital battles with the federal government for more money, the Daily News has learned.

    The Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences Institute at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in ., says it expects to run out of federal funding next month.

    It has requested more money, but the Office of Management and Budget in Washington has disputed the hospital is broke.

    "The promise is that the check's in the mail," said Dr. James Melius, of the New York State Laborers' Health and Safety Fund. "But it's been in the mail now for two months."

    A hospital spokesman confirmed that they're waiting for more funding but said he's hopeful the money will come in time.

    An OMB spokesman didn't immediately return a call for comment.

    But for Charles Giles, a former EMT worker who responded to the World Trade Center attacks, every day without knowing how he will get the medical care he needs is terrifying.

    Giles, who takes 28 medications a day, has been treated at the institute for respiratory problems for the past two and a half years.

    He said hospital officials told him they were no longer taking appointments past July. "If this place closes, I'm screwed," Giles, 41, told The News.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  7. #577
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    NY Reps. Express Concern About Funding Problems At 9/11 Health Clinics
    -New Jersey Clinic Will Have Only $100K on Hand at Month’s End, May Stop Seeing Patients-

    News Release: June 16, 2009

    Contacts: Joe Soldevere (Maloney), 212-860-0606
    Ilan Kayatsky (Nadler), 212-367-7350
    Carol Danko (King), 202-225-7896
    Lauren Amendolara (McMahon), 202-225-8420

    Washington, D.C. – Today, New York Representatives Carolyn Maloney, Jerrold Nadler, Peter King, and Michael McMahon wrote to Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Peter Orszag asking him to correct flawed accounting procedures and other obstacles put in place by the previous administration that are impeding the flow of funding to clinics operated by the World Trade Center Health Program (a full copy of the lawmakers’ letter is below). As a result of these difficulties, the WTC Health Program’s New Jersey clinic reports that it will only have $100,000 on hand by the end of June and may have to stop seeing patients by the end of next month.

    In a recent letter to New York lawmakers, Director Orszag stated that the WTC Health Program has spent only 50% of the funds Congress has appropriated for 9/11 health care since 2003. Accordingly, OMB has yet to deliver fresh infusions of funding to the Program’s clinics. However, Reps. Maloney, Nadler, King, and McMahon have been informed that the Program’s actual expenditures are far higher than OMB’s figure, which was determined using accounting procedures put in place by the previous administration that do not adequately track the Program’s current expenses and future commitments.

    “Unfortunately, the previous administration’s incompetence continues to haunt the World Trade Center Health Program, but I’m confident that the OMB will now take quick action to correct these problems,” said Rep. Maloney. “It’s vitally important that the New Jersey 9/11 health clinic and other Centers of Excellence remain open and delivering much-needed care to the heroes and heroines of 9/11. We look forward to working with the Obama Administration to solve this issue and to pass the 9/11 Health and Compensation Act by the eighth anniversary of the attacks.”

    “It is very frustrating that we are still mired in the Bush administration’s legacy of an incompetent and piecemeal approach to 9/11 health care policy,” said Nadler. “What is important now is to correct that failed policy and ensure that the WTC Health Program has the tools it needs to efficiently treat the 9/11 first responders, area workers, students and residents who are in need of health care. We must make sure that the Centers of Excellence can afford to keep their doors open and continue providing quality care. I am hopeful that OMB Director Orszag will provide the Centers the funding they need. And, in the long term, it is essential that we pass the 9/11 Health and Compensation Act.”

    “It’s been over seven years since the heroes of 9/11 were exposed to the toxins of the dust cloud, yet the health effects from exposure continue to develop,” said King. “The World Trade Center Health Programs are essential to monitoring the health of all who were exposed.”

    “It’s shameful that these funds were not being directed appropriately to program clinics serving our first responders,” said Rep. Michael E. McMahon. “For the past five years, we could have made great strides with caring for and treating those who have fallen ill after 9/11. We intend to resolve this problem as quickly as possible with the help of the Administration.”

    Reps. Maloney, Nadler, King, and McMahon are the authors of H.R. 847, the 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which would make permanent existing 9/11 health programs and reopen the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund.

    The lawmakers also wrote to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius last week asking to meet with her to discuss the WTC Health Program’s funding problems and restrictions preventing the Program from using federal funds for outreach, benefits counseling, and data evaluation.


    June 16, 2009

    Mr. Peter Orszag
    Director, Office of Management and Budget (OMB)
    725 17th Street, NW
    Washington, DC 20503

    Dear Director Orszag:

    Thank you for your recent response to our letter of March 26, 2009 regarding funding for the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program.

    In your response, you claim that the WTC grantees have only spent 50 percent of the funds appropriated since 2003. We believe that this figure significantly underestimates the actual expenditures and spending commitments of the grantees and thus misrepresents the actual needs of these vital health programs.

    These underestimates are due to a combination of factors related to the funding vehicles (i.e., grants) including delays in actual expenditures being reflected in the accounting systems used by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and OMB to track spending in these programs and the fact that these federal accounting systems do not always reflect spending commitments made by the grantees as part of providing medical care for these WTC responders. Within their institutions, the grantees must account for those spending commitments in order not to exceed the amount of funding available through their grants.

    We have recently learned that these discrepancies, combined with unexplained delays in processing extensions to the current grants for the clinical centers, have resulted in the New Jersey center having to prepare to stop seeing patients next month due to the delays in extending their grant extension. They report that they will have only $100,000 in available funding left at the end of June, hardly enough to operate a busy medical clinic. This situation was apparently not reflected in the federal accounting systems. Other medical centers serving the WTC responders will soon find themselves in similar situations unless their grants are extended and adequate funding made available to them.

    We recognize that the current mechanisms used to fund this program, which were designed by the previous administration, are not ideal and make oversight of the program more challenging. In our proposed legislation, the 9/11 Health and Compensation Act (H.R. 847), we have strived to correct that problem by funding the medical care for eligible responders and community residents through a more direct reimbursement system. Meanwhile, as our bill is being considered by Congress, we need to make sure that we continue to provide adequate funding for the badly needed medical care that these people deserve. We cannot continue the restrictive policies of the previous administration who sought to limit this program by unnecessarily restricting the available funding and support for these centers. These restrictions are described in our enclosed letter to Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sebelius.

    We look forward to continuing to work with you and OMB on the WTC Health Program and providing care for the heroes and heroines of 9/11.


    Members of Congress

    Joe Soldevere
    Press Secretary
    Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney
    (212) 860-0606 office
    (646) 831-1649 cell
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  8. #578
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    $575G reprieve for 9/11 hospital

    BY Stephanie Gaskell

    Wednesday, June 17th 2009, 4:00 AM

    A New Jersey hospital that treats sick 9/11 first responders got a last-minute reprieve Tuesday when the feds vowed to send cash to keep it open through September.

    The Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences Institute at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick had told its 1,800 patients it wasn't sure it could stay open past next month.

    Federal funding had been held up over an accounting dispute, but late Tuesday the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health said it was sending $575,000 to cover summer expenses.

    John Feal, founder of the Fealgood Foundation, which pushes for health care for 9/11 workers, said the money isn't enough.

    Feal said, "$575,000 is like putting a Band-Aid on a machine-gun wound.

    "Funding for three months is a joke when 9/11 first responders will need treatment for the rest of their lives."
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  9. #579
    Join Date
    Jan 2005

    Today at 8:07pm

    First Time Comprehensive 9/11 Health Legislation Will Be Introduced In Senate

    Mayor Bloomberg and Representatives Maloney, Nadler, King, and McMahon to Join Gillibrand to Help Provide Treatment for Community Members, First Responders Suffering From 9/11-Related Health Effects

    Joseph Zadroga, Fire Lt. Marty Fullam, Others Affected by Rescue and Clean-Up Efforts to Tell Their Stories

    Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand will be joined by Senators Charles E. Schumer, Frank R. Lautenberg, and Robert Menendez and Representatives Carolyn Maloney, Jerrold Nadler, Peter King and Michael McMahon, along with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and 9/11 first responders, construction workers, clean-up workers and community members who have suffered from the long term health effects of working at Ground Zero to introduce the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act – the first comprehensive 9/11 health legislation to ever be introduced in the U.S. Senate.

    Thousands were lost on the morning of September 11, 2001, but today, thousands more – including first responders, area residents, workers, students and others – are sick and getting sicker from exposure to toxins released from the collapse of the World Trade Center Towers.

    The 9/11 Health and Compensation Act would ensure proper monitoring and treatment for the innocent men, women and children that face life-threatening health effects due to the toxins released at Ground Zero in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.

    WHO: Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
    New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg
    Senator Charles E. Schumer
    Senator Frank R. Lautenberg
    Senator Robert Menendez
    Reps. Carolyn Maloney, Jerrold Nadler, Peter King, Michael E. McMahon
    Joseph Zadroga, father of James Zadroga, the first known death from 9/11-related illness
    Fire Lt. Marty Fullam
    Ken George, city worker involved in clean-up efforts
    Other First Responders, Construction Workers, Clean-Up Workers
    New York City Area Residents

    DATE: Wednesday, June 24, 2009
    TIME: 10:00 AM
    PLACE: 301 Russell Senate Office Building
    Washington, D.C.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  10. #580
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Rivals Kirsten Gillibrand, Carolyn Maloney put aside differences to aide 9/11 victims

    By Michael Mcauliff

    WASHINGTON - Rival New York politicians are putting aside their distaste for one another in hopes of getting the U.S. Senate to embrace a major bill to help the ailing heroes of Sept. 11.

    Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand will team up on a 9/11 health bill Wednesday with Mayor Bloomberg and key members of the House, including Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan) and Pete King (R-Long Island) - who would both like to unseat the recently appointed senator in 2010.

    The measure, which would re-open the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund, among other things, is similar to legislation pending in the House that's a cherished cause of Maloney and King.

    "All of us must put our political interests aside," King said, explaining why he'd work with a woman he may challenge in the fall. "The health of our 9/11 first responders and workers is too important."

    House lawmakers, often led by King and Maloney, have passed numerous 9/11 aide bills over the years, only to see many of them die in the Senate.

    They were encouraged that Gillibrand also has the New York's senior senator, Chuck Schumer, on board, and well as Sens. Bob Menendez and Frank Lautenberg, of New Jersy.

    "I'm glad that the senators from New York and New Jersey have come together to sponsor this relief for 9/11 responders, residents, workers and students who were exposed to the toxins at Ground Zero," said Maloney, who predicted the House would come through with its version before the next anniversary of the attacks.

    So, in spite of the competing ambitions, the rivals climbed on board with Gillibrand.

    "We have an undeniable moral obligation to help the heroes of 9/11 and all others exposed, and failure to do so may have long-lasting implications on future response efforts," Gillibrand said.

    She even had praise for her competitors, and the woman she succeeded, Secretary of State Clinton.

    "I commend my predecessor, Secretary Clinton, as well as my colleagues in both the Senate and the House, who invested tremendous effort over several years to get us to this point," Gillibrand said. "Today we are taking a major step toward fulfilling our obligation, but we have a lot of work left to do."
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

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