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WTCHP Members May Be Eligible for Reimbursement From New York-Presbyterian Hospital

May, 2022

The World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP) funds medical treatment for 9/11 toxin exposure victims who require care for a 9/11-related injury or illness. All hospitals in the New York City metropolitan area – with the exception of NewYork-Presbyterian (NYP) – have willingly participated in the WTCHP to ensure that victims and first responders have easy access to needed care. 

After years of making the access to care difficult for 9/11 toxin exposure victims, NYP has finally entered into an agreement with the WTCHP so that survivors and first responders can receive necessary medical care for their 9/11-related conditions without paying out-of-pocket. 

Only recently has NYP acknowledged the difficulties faced by WTCHP members to receive care, even going so far as to charge co-pays to these patients. Following immense pressure, however, from lawmakers, WTCHP members, and the public – particularly the New York Daily News – NYP will now fully participate in the WTCHP, and no longer deny or hinder care and treatment to 9/11 victims.

New York Lawmakers Push NYP to Better Serve WTCHP Members

On March 11, 2021, New York lawmakers Carolyn Maloney, Jerrold Nadler, and Andrew Garbarino sent a letter to Steven J. Corwin, MD, the President of New York Presbyterian Hospital. This joint letter – from three devoted supporters of the 9/11 community – asked NYP to adjust its terms of treatment for WTCHP members. All other hospitals in the New York City metropolitan area have “Provider Agreements” with the WTCHP that allow members to receive care without going through administrative hassles every step of the way.

According to the letter, for many years, NYP utilized a “Single Case Agreement” approach to treatment of 9/11 toxin exposure victims. For example, if a WTCHP member with cancer saw an oncologist at NYP, that one instance of treatment required a Single Case Agreement. 

If the patient was referred to another specialist for a consultation, a new Single Case Agreement had to be created. Such a process has caused WTCHP members to suffer undue burden as it took much longer to receive approval for treatment. Delays in treatment can have life-threatening consequences for 9/11 victims.

Paying Their Own Way: Many Use Private Insurance at NYP

Using private health insurance has been one way to speed up the process whenever a 9/11 WTCHP member requires treatment at NYP. Using private health insurance, however, means that the WTCHP member is footing some of the bill, having to make co-pays and other payments to NYP. The purpose of the WTCHP is to ensure that those who have suffered from 9/11-related injuries and illnesses will receive medical treatment with no out-of-pocket costs.

NYP’s prior method of requiring a separate contract for care for every visit often pushed WTCHP members to use private insurance just so that they could see a doctor within a reasonable time frame. Such a practice has caused unnecessary stress when NYP should have been providing easy access to care for the 9/11 community.

Some WTCHP Members May Be Entitled to Reimbursement of Costs

WTCHP members who paid out-of-pocket to receive medical treatment at NYP for a 9/11-related condition may be entitled to reimbursement of those costs. The WTCHP provides free medical monitoring and treatment for those suffering from 9/11-related conditions. As such, no member is responsible for paying a penny for covered treatments attributable to his or her 9/11-related condition(s). The number of WTCHP members affected by NYP’s acceptance of out-of-pocket payments is unknown.

New York Daily News Exposes NYP’s Practice of Hindering Care

The New York Daily News has been outspoken in regard to the issue of NYP and its long-standing practice of creating hurdles for WTCHP to receive medical treatment at one of the largest and most esteemed hospitals in the world. Coverage of the issue concerning NYP’s failure to work with the WTCHP – as all other area hospitals do – certainly played a role in the hospital ultimately agreeing to enter into a Master Provider Agreement.

The New York Daily News spoke with WTCHP members who experienced the pitfalls of NYP’s system of providing care to 9/11 victims. Exposure of such experiences shed light on an issue which many people did not know existed. Now that the public is aware of how many 9/11 victims have been treated at NYP, the hospital has changed course to allow ease of access to care as intended by the WTCHP. Although it took many years to get to this point, NYP is now a full participant of the WTCHP provider network.

Contact the 9/11 Lawyers of Pitta & Baione Today For a Free Consultation

If you or a loved one is a victim of 9/11 toxic exposure, you may be eligible to receive WTCHP benefits and compensation through the Victims Compensation Fund (VCF). At Pitta & Baione, we have recovered more than $250 million in compensation for our clients. To find out if you qualify to receive medical benefits and compensation, contact Pitta & Baione today by calling (844) 982-2667 to schedule your free consultation.

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