Gillibrand National Defense Authorization (NDA) Amendment
As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator Gillibrand proposed an amendment for the National Defense Authorization (NDA) with the support of Senator Schumer, which would have provided the funding needed to deal with the World Trade Center Health Program’s impending deficit and the other provisions contained in HR 4965 /S. 2683 the “9/11 Responder and Survivor Health Funding Correction Act” along with fixing a new issue regarding enrollment of Pentagon/Shanksville responders.
In addition, the amendment would also have fixed an issue with respect to the membership of the Pentagon/Shanksville component of the WTC Health Program.
Since HR 4965/ S.2683 was introduced last summer, the sponsors of the “9/11 Responder and Survivor Health Funding Correction Act” became aware that The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has been blocking responders from Federal Agencies who were not law enforcement and who responded to the Pentagon and the Shanksville Crash site from joining the World Trade Center Health Program. This includes responders who were Department of Defense employees, both active-duty Military and civilian employees who responded to the Pentagon and the Shanksville crash site.
Apparently based on an interpretation of the original law from 2010, HHS has not enrolled Pentagon and Shanksville responders who were Federal employees who were not law enforcement since beginning of the WTC Health Program. While employees of Federal agencies including DOD employees both military and civilian who responded to the World Trade Center have been admitted to the WTC Health Program, Department of Defense, active duty military and civilian and responders from other Federal Agencies who responded to the Pentagon and Shanksville are not being allowed to join the program. While this is a small number of responders, it was never the intention of the original sponsors of the 2010 bill.
Here is a NY Daily News article about it from August 29th 2022, Veterans who worked as 9/11 first responders can’t access WTC health program due to technicality .
According to HHS, over the last ten years HHS has denied at least 15 DOD employees, civilian and active military at the time, who responded to the Pentagon and Shanksville, applied and were rejected.
The proposed NDA amendment that Senator Gillibrand submitted would fix this issue along with the other provisions contained in HR. 4965/S. 2683.
Flexibility for Certifications under the World Trade Center Health Program.
Criteria for Credentialing Health Care Providers in the Nationwide Network.
Clarifying calculations of Enrollment.
Authorize a research cohort for emerging health impacts on youth.
This proposed amendment has the support of the House sponsors of HR 4965, Members of Congress Maloney, Nadler and Garbarino.
Regretfully it was not included in the 2022 NDA as passed.
August 29, 2022 — NY Daily News — Veterans who worked as 9/11 first responders can’t access WTC health program due to technicality
Nate Coward didn’t ask questions when his company of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Regiment was called on to recover and bury the Pentagon’s dead.
August 30, 2022 — NY Daily News — Cover them too: Defense personnel should be covered by the 9/11 health program
Why does the health program set up by Congress for responders and survivors exclude Department of Defense personnel?