Legislation would Help Thousands of New Jersey First Responders and Survivors

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06), Ranking Member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, announced that on Thursday, June 11 the Committee’s Health Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act.  The bill would ensure responders of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center continue to receive the monitoring and care they need.  Pallone is an original co-sponsor of the bill and, as the lead Democrat on the full committee, has been integral in securing the upcoming hearing and advancing the bill.

“We owe it to the 9/11 first responders to reauthorize the Zadroga Act, and I am pleased that we were able to secure this hearing,” said Congressman Pallone.  “The hearing is the critical first step in ensuring the first responders who answered our call for help when we needed them most continue to receive the care they need and deserve as they deal with the after-effects of their service at Ground Zero.”

In 2011, the bipartisan James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010 was signed into law, establishing the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program and the Nationwide Provider Network and reopened the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF).  The programs provide the thousands of 9/11 responders and their survivors with medical treatment for 9/11-related health conditions and economic compensation for losses resulting from the attack.  Without reauthorization, the WTC Health Program and the VCF will expire in 2016.

Due to the Zadroga Act, over 4,800 responders or survivors are getting treatment in New Jersey through the WTC Health Program at Rutgers’ Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences Institute in Piscataway.

In addition to providing health care services, the legislation directs the Department of Health and Human Services to conduct and support research into new conditions that may be related to the attacks and to evaluate emerging methods of diagnosis and treatment.  The program builds on the expertise of the Centers of Excellence, which are currently providing high-quality care to thousands of responders and ensuring ongoing data collection and analysis to evaluate health risks.