2010 Year in Review
Report to the HHC Board of Directors
Passage of the Zadroga Bill
Another bright light at the end of December came when Congress passed and the President signed the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. The bill ensures $1.5 billion in federal healthcare funding for those sickened by the aftermath of 9/11. Despite major efforts to exclude non-responders from coverage, the intensive lobbying efforts we undertook with our City, State, and community partners succeeded in keeping the community health portion of the bill intact ensuing ongoing funding for our World Trade Center Environmental Health Center (WTC-EHC). Funds will support patient care as well as outreach, social services, data collection, and development of treatment protocols – all vital to the success of our program.
To date the WTC-EHC has treated 5,000 patients at its three sites: Bellevue, Gouverneur, and Elmhurst Hospitals. Most patients require ongoing care due to chronic conditions that need long-term management. In addition, our outreach efforts continue to identify new patients who become aware that their illnesses may be related to exposure on 9/11 and in the weeks and months following.
As you can see, despite formidable headwinds, HHC is not standing still. Buoyed by our indelible mission and the past five years of nationally recognized accomplishments in quality, patient safety, and innovation, we are resolute in our drive to remain competitive and better serve our communities in a post-healthcare reform environment.
As I visit our facilities and talk to their leadership and staff, I am constantly reminded of their creativity, energy, and fierce commitment to our mission. As we await the further unfolding of national healthcare reform, as well as imminent Medicaid redesign at the state level, we know that the next few years will bring dramatic changes and continuing challenges. The trajectory of health care reform is bending toward the active promotion of health, early testing to detect serious treatable disease, reliance on clinical IT to drive evidenced-based care, assertive management of chronic disease, and focus on care coordination that increasingly have been our hallmarks in recent years.
Change is upon us. And we will embrace it for the benefit of all we serve.