Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Visit to WTC EHC

Hey all! I just had my first visit to WTC EHC, the health program for 9/11 survivors that I'm always directing people to. I wanted to go over what it entailed, who qualifies, and how you can get an appointment for yourself. Feel free to leave a question in the comments or email me directly at stuyhealth@gmail.com if you have any follow-up questions.

First off, there are a couple of reasons for signing up for WTC EHC if you have 9/11-related health concerns:
1. If you have any pulmonary issues, stomach problems like acid reflux, mental health issues, or others problems caused or related to 9/11, you can be treated for free at WTC EHC by doctors experienced in dealing with 9/11 victims. The medication the prescribe you to treat these problems is also free.
2. In signing up, you are contributing to research on what ails 9/11 victims and what treatments are effective in dealing with their specific health concerns.

The symptoms the WTC EHC treats include:
-Shortness of breath
-Chronic Respiratory Infections
-Sinus congestion
-Stomach problems
* As of yet, treatment for cancers, autoimmune disorders, and other conditions is not provided by this program, but with the passage of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, there is a system in place for us to petition to add conditions to the list of treated diseases.

Stuyvesant students of any grade level who attended the school in 2001 qualify for WTC EHC, as does anybody who met one of these criteria on 9/11:
-Lived in Lower Manhattan or areas of Brooklyn
-Were a student in a school in the area
-Worked in or around offices, stores, schools, or apartment buildings
-Commuted to Lower Manhattan during 9/11
-Helped in the clean-up of buildings in the affected area

When you make the initial call (the number is 877-982-0107), you'll answer a brief series of questions to determine if you qualify, after which they call you with an appointment date. It usually takes a couple of months to get an appointment, but for people from out of town, I can assist in contacting the program and making an appointment that is convenient for you.

WTC EHC has locations at -
Bellevue Hospital Center
462 First Avenue (27th St.)
New York, NY 10016
*The WTC Environmental Health Center's pediatric program is located here.

Gouverneur Healthcare Services
227 Madison Street (Clinton St.)
New York, NY 10002

Elmhurst Hospital Center
79-01 Broadway (79th St.)
Elmhurst, NY 11373

They'll tell you that the initial appointment takes five hours, and they aren't lying. When you arrive, the front desk gives you a checklist of different people to see and tests you'll complete over the course of the day. The list of things to do includes: a vital sign check by a nurse, a 36-page nurse questionnaire that contributes to the program's research, a visit with a doctor, a social worker, and a psychologist, a blood test, a chest x-ray, a pulmonary function test (if you are there with breathing issues), and an EKG if it's indicated. From there, follow up plans are made with either the doctor or the psychologist, depending on what you're there for.

Any medications that you are prescribed are available at the hospital pharmacy for free. The medications the program covers include respiratory and GERD medicines, antibiotics, and medicines that treat depression and/or anxiety.

Overall, I had a great experience at WTC EHC and would highly recommend it to anybody suffering from the problems they treat. Again, anybody with questions should contact me at stuyhealth@gmail.com.

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