Workplace Illnesses

Eligibility for WTC Funding Expanded

Treatment costs for four new covered cancers may be up to $5 million a year.
By: | March 21, 2014

More workers at the sites of the 9/11 terrorist attacks are now eligible for medical assistance. The Administrator of the World Trade Center Health Program issued an interim final rule that included additional cancers to the list of covered conditions.

“Four types of cancer — malignant neoplasms of the brain, the cervix uteri, the pancreas, and the testis — are newly eligible for certification as WTC-related health conditions as a result of this action,” the rule states. “The Administrator estimates the costs of medical treatment for the four cancers now considered eligible under the definition of rare cancers, as well as screening costs associated with invasive cervical cancer, to be between $2,287,933 and $4,933,280 annually for FY 2014 through FY 2016.”

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The program provides medical monitoring and treatment benefits to eligible persons, including  firefighters and related personnel, law enforcement officers, and rescue, recovery, and cleanup workers who responded to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York City, at the Pentagon, and in Shanksville, Pa. Also eligible are persons who worked in the New York City disaster area.

The addition of brain and pancreatic cancers came about upon reconsideration and reversal of the policy to deny certification of such cases. “With this rulemaking, a WTC Health Program member whose 9/11 exposure is found substantially likely to be a significant factor in aggravating, contributing to, or causing the individual’s brain and/or pancreatic cancer, will be certified for WTC Health Program treatment services,” the rule says. “The WTC Health Program will review and reassess cases of brain and pancreatic cancer that were denied certification prior to this rulemaking.”

An amended definition of the term “rare cancers” revised the numeric threshold that determines which cancers are considered rare. The result was the addition of invasive cervical cancer and testicular cancer.

Nancy Grover is the president of NMG Consulting and the Editor of Workers' Compensation Report, a publication of our parent company, LRP Publications. She can be reached at [email protected]

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The R&I Editorial Team can be reached at [email protected]