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13-09-2012 | Article

9/11 survivors, first responders eligible for cancer coverage


Final rule

medwireNews: The federal government has added 15 diagnostic categories of cancer to the list of conditions eligible for compensation from the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program.

The addition, announced by WTC Health Program administrator John Howard, will allow first responders and survivors of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks to receive compensation from the fund established by the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act in 2010. The law was named for a New York City police detective who died at age 34 after working at the WTC site, known as Ground Zero.

Members of the New York Congressional delegation had petitioned the WTC Health Program on behalf of constituents, asking that cancers be considered for coverage, and a scientific and technical advisory committee agreed, resulting in the change, Howard said.

"The publication of this final rule marks an important step in the effort to provide needed treatment and care to 9/11 responders and survivors through the WTC Health Program," Howard said in a statement.

The final rule, which will be become effective 30 days after its publication in the Federal Register on September 12, adds 15 conditions corresponding to International Classification of Diseases Revision 10 (ICD-10) codes.

Certified responders and survivors will be eligible for compensation for mesothelioma, rare cancers, and childhood cancers.

Also covered will be following malignant neoplasms: retroperitoneum, peritoneum, omentum, and mesentery; trachea, bronchus, and lung; heart mediastinum and pleura, and other ill-defined sites in the respiratory system and intrathoracic organs; soft tissues (sarcomas); skin (melanoma and nonmelanoma), including scrotal cancer; breast; ovary; urinary bladder; kidney; renal pelvis, ureter, and other urinary organs; eye and orbit; thyroid; and blood and lymphoid tissues (including, but not limited to, lymphoma, leukemia, and myeloma).

Current members of the WTC Health Program can contact their current Clinical Center of Excellence (CCE) to begin the certification process.

By Neil Osterweil, medwireNews reporter