Hundreds Of Thousands May Be Eligible For WTC Health Monitoring Program

World Trade Center lower Manhattan
Photo credit Kena Betancur/Getty Images
By WCBS Newsradio 880

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – Hundreds of thousands of people exposed to toxic dust on 9/11 might be eligible for the World Trade Center health monitoring program but haven’t applied.

An estimated 400,000 people who lived or worked in lower Manhattan and part of Brooklyn were potentially exposed to toxic dust, but only 13,000 are enrolled in the WTC Environmental Health program. That means many more people may be sick and not even know it.

Survivors are entitled to monitoring and care management, said Dr. Joan Reibman, medical director of Health + Hospitals WTC Environmental Health Center.

“There are differences between the survivor program and what we all know as the responder program. For the survivor program, we are secondary payers. In other words, we first have to ask for each individual’s insurance to support, but whatever the insurance can’t support in terms of copays or deductibles, we will then support through the World Trade Center program,” Reibman said.

The program provides monitoring, support, care management and help paying after insurance.

“In order to be in this program, you really have to have symptoms consistent with upper respiratory or lower respiratory, like asthma or COPD, or have mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, or have a cancer,” Reibman said.