Sunday, February 25, 2007

Groups Unite to Treat Lingering 9/11 Illnesses - New York Times

Groups Unite to Treat Lingering 9/11 Illnesses - New York Times

Groups Unite to Treat Lingering 9/11 Illnesses

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By ANTHONY RAMIREZ
Published: February 25, 2007

Seven philanthropies are announcing today that they will contribute more than $4.3 million to help treat uninsured workers and residents who developed serious illnesses after the Sept. 11 attack on the World Trade Center.
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The money will go to groups led by Mount Sinai Medical Center and Bellevue Hospital Center. The continuing effort, known as the 9/11 Neediest Medical Campaign, will also take donations from the public.

The New York Times Neediest Cases Fund, the New York Community Trust, the Ford Foundation, and the Open Society Institute are each contributing $1 million.

“This campaign can’t raise nearly enough to meet all of the need, but we can help the very neediest of these victims,” said Jack Rosenthal, president of the Neediest Cases Fund.

In November, the federal government provided $26 million to treat some, but not all, who fell ill after the attack. The money from the Neediest Medical Campaign will be available to doctors whose patients are not eligible for federal help.

This month, the city’s World Trade Center Health Panel estimated that screening and treatment of ailments associated with ground zero costs the nation $393 million annually.

The $1 million from the Neediest Cases Fund is going to a hospital consortium led by Mount Sinai to treat uninsured responders who performed rescue, recovery and cleanup work at the trade center.

The consortium said it had screened 20,000 ground zero workers since 2002 and found that 60 percent suffer from respiratory illnesses.

The New York Community Trust, a foundation made up of 1,800 charities, plans to contribute $1 million to Bellevue and Beyond Ground Zero, a Manhattan organization for working-class families affected by the terrorist attack.

The money will be used for screening and treatment, with a focus on uninsured cleanup workers and Lower Manhattan residents.

Terry Miles, Bellevue’s chief operating officer, said that as many as 400,000 people were caught in some way by the dust cloud.

“How much air they breathed in, how frequently, and for how long a time are all factors in how ultimately they may be affected,” he said.

In addition to the groups mentioned above, the Altman Foundation is giving $250,000, the United Way of New York City $75,000, and Trinity Church $25,000.

Trinity Church on Wall Street will accept contributions from the public at its St. Paul’s Chapel, only steps from ground zero.

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