-- James Zadroga 9/11 Legislation Provides Long-term Health Funding and improved access to health services for WTC Responders --
NEW HYDE PARK, NY – LIJ Medical Center today announced the award of a five-year, $3.85 million federal contract to partner with the Queens World Trade Center (WTC) Clinical Center of Excellence at Queens College to increase access to medical and mental health services for WTC responders in the borough of Queens. The funding is part of the recently enacted James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which provides $4.3 billion in federal funding to address the health crisis surrounding the WTC tragedy.
The program is administered by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Jacqueline Moline, MD, the center’s new director, and vice president and chair of Population Health at the North Shore-LIJ Health System, will lead the newly-merged WTC Queens Center of Excellence (QCCE). Steven B. Markowitz, MD, who directs the Center for the Biology of Natural Systems at Queens College, which has sponsored the Queens-based World Trade Center Health Program since 2003, will co-direct the program. Previously, Dr. Moline served as the principal investigator and director of the largest WTC Medical Monitoring and Treatment Program, located at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. In late September 2001, she and her colleagues began treating first responders and other patients with immediate health consequences after the terrorist attacks in New York City on September 11. First responders and others who served at the WTC site have developed health problems including lung disease, asthma and gastroesophageal disease. Responders also experienced mental health problems such as post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression.
“The recent federal funding that the Queens Clinical Center of Excellence received guarantees that we will be able to continue to provide high-quality medical care and mental health services to WTC responders for the next five years, without interruption, as well as increased access to critical healthcare services,” said Dr. Moline, who is board certified in internal medicine and occupational medicine. “To further improve access to care, we plan to relocate the center from its present location in Flushing to a larger facility in Rego Park in the next few months.”
The QCCE is one of five clinical centers of excellence in the New York/New Jersey area that provide medical monitoring examinations, diagnosis and treatment services for WTC-related health conditions. Currently, there are 5,563 responders enrolled in the WTC Medical and Monitoring Treatment Programs from the borough of Queens.
Dr. Markowitz noted that “the new partnership between Queens College and LIJ Medical Center to re-configure the Queens World Trade Center Clinical Center of Excellence will be a tremendous benefit to WTC responders in the borough of Queens because it opens up a very large network of physician specialists, clinicians and mental health providers in Queens. Dr. Moline and her occupational medicine colleagues will also be an invaluable asset.”
“I am delighted that the outstanding and multiple resources of the LIJ Medical Center will now be a full partner with the Queens World Trade Center Clinical Center at Queens College to expand health care services and programs for first responders who were affected by the terrorist attack on America. Increased access to quality medical care and services for first responders in Queens, which already has more than 5,500 responders in WTC-related programs, will provide more space, personnel, specialists and an entire network of care to cover a multitude of medical conditions of individuals and their families,” said Queens Borough President Helen Marshall. “The high quality care provided by LIJ Medical Center and the North Shore-LIJ Health System makes them an ideal candidate for this Clinical Center of Excellence.”
LIJ Medical Center is part of the 15-hospital North Shore-LIJ Health System. In addition to inpatient care at LIJ and other health system hospitals, responders will have access to the outpatient network of physician groups with offices in Queens and other areas. They include: the North Shore-LIJ Medical Group, a multispecialty group practice with over 2,000 faculty physicians, the health system’s provider network of 7,000 affiliated physicians and healthcare professionals. More than 1,000 of these providers are located in Queens.
Access to mental health services will be strengthened through the expert services available at The Zucker Hillside Hospital in Glen Oaks, Queens, one of the specialty hospitals within the North Shore-LIJ Health System and part of LIJ Medical Center. The hospital, known for its pioneering work in the diagnosis, treatment and research of mental illness, provides a comprehensive continuum of behavioral health services to all ages with programs provided in inpatient and outpatient settings.
Patients served by the QCCE will also have access to North Shore-LIJ’s Rosen Family Wellness Center, which provides no-cost, confidential behavioral health services to law enforcement and military personnel and their families. Through a Journey for 9/11 grant, the center will provide behavioral health services to World Trade Center first responders. The Rosen Center offers mental health and psychiatric evaluations and specializes in evidence-based cognitive behavioral therapies (CBT), including trauma-focused CBT, prolonged exposure therapy and CBT conjoint therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder.
To ensure continuity of care, QCCE will work to continue relationships with the current established network of external healthcare providers. Members will be informed about the expanded options of healthcare providers within the North Shore-LIJ Health System network. As part of the contract and to improve quality of care, the QCCE will adopt the North Shore-LIJ’s electronic health record system.
For more information, contact QCCE at 718-670-4174; WTC Health Program at 1-888-WTC-HP4U (1-888-982-4748); or http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/wtc/.