Initial STAC Meeting Considers Inclusion of Uterine Cancer for WTCHP Illness List
The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010, and the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act of 2015, authorize the World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP) and the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) to provide benefits and compensation to 9/11 survivors and first responders.
Within the WTCHP, the Scientific/Technical Advisory Committee (STAC) is the governing body that reviews evidence to determine whether a condition should be added to the list of WTC-related illnesses. Efforts to include uterine cancer on the list of covered medical conditions are finally paving the way for action. However, it has been a bumpy road to get to this point.
After a 2019 petition to add uterine cancer to the list of WTC-related illnesses failed, a new petition was filed in September 2020, which was a request to the Administrator of the WTCHP, Dr. John Howard, M.D., to take another look at the 2019 petition amid new and compelling data and arguments.
The 2020 petition was not validated as a legitimate petition, given a new medical issue was not raised. However, the data provided to the Administrator of the WTCHP was strong enough for the data to be presented at a STAC meeting for further review. On September 28, 2021, the issue of uterine cancer was raised on day one of a two-day STAC meeting.
The issue of uterine cancer was the subject of another STAC meeting held on November 18, 2021, which was the final step to recommending the inclusion of uterine cancer on the list of WTC-related health conditions. The recent decision will allow 9/11 survivors and first responders with uterine cancer to seek medical benefits through the WTCHP and compensation through the VCF.
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For more than a decade, the 9/11 attorneys of Pitta & Baione LLP have dedicated their careers to representing the rights of survivors and victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Our legal team has helped clients obtain significant compensation for suffering debilitating injuries and illnesses.
Uterine cancer is a condition that may be added to the list of WTC-related conditions. If you are a 9/11 survivor or first responder who has been diagnosed with uterine or endometrial cancer, reach out to our 9/11 benefits attorneys today.
Presentation by Dr. Geoff Calvert, M.D.
Dr. Geoff Calvert, M.D., the Associate Director for Clinical Quality with the WTCHP, presented data regarding the inclusion of uterine cancer to the list of WTC-related health conditions at the September 28, 2021, STAC meeting. The presentation described the progression of efforts to add uterine cancer to the list of qualifying conditions, noting that of the eight petitions filed concerning uterine cancer, only one petition was considered valid, which was the 2019 petition (Petition No. 23).
Dr. Calvert’s presentation also notes that the most recent petition to add uterine cancer to the list of WTC-related conditions, which was filed in September 2020, provided important information on the role of endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and uterine cancer. Numerous EDCs were found in the 9/11 toxic dust. As such, a link may exist between exposure to 9/11 toxins and the development of uterine cancer.
Although the 2020 petition was denied for failing to raise a new medical issue, the information produced through the petition sent a message to the Administrator of the WTCHP to take another look at uterine cancer, which is the only cancer type not already included on the list of WTC-related conditions.
Dr. Calvert’s presentation at the September 28, 2021, STAC meeting provided the Committee with the information they need to make a recommendation as to whether a reasonable basis exists to add uterine cancer to the list of WTC-related health conditions. Dr. Calvert’s presentation does not reach a conclusion as to whether uterine cancer should be considered a WTC-related health condition. Rather, the presentation provides STAC with additional information and data to review.
Did Congress Help to Push the Issue?
The STAC meeting on September 28, 2021, followed a letter from a group of lawmakers that was sent to the Administrator of the WTCHP on August 2, 2021. As discussed in a press release from the office of Congresswoman Mickie Sherrill, who serves the 11th District of New Jersey, lawmakers urged the Administrator to act quickly to include uterine cancer on the list of WTC-related health conditions.
While it is unclear whether the letter advocating for 9/11 victims suffering from uterine cancer is the one effort that forced the issue to be heard at a STAC meeting, congressional efforts certainly help the overall situation. A letter from lawmakers demonstrates that the public, especially 9/11 survivors and first responders suffering from uterine and endometrial cancer, are listening and want action to be taken.
Uterine Cancer May Finally Be Considered a WTC-Related Health Condition
The past year has involved massive efforts to add uterine cancer (which includes endometrial cancer) to the list of conditions that qualify for 9/11 benefits by not only medical professionals and scientists but also victims and a key group of lawmakers. Although a final decision has been made to add uterine cancer to the list, it may still be months before 9/11 uterine cancer victims can file claims for medical benefits and compensation.
What Do 9/11 Benefits Cover?
Survivors of first responders who were exposed to 9/11 toxins produced from Ground Zero can apply for benefits through the WTCHP if they have a qualifying condition. Once a victim meets the minimum requirement of establishing a qualifying health condition, the victim will undergo medical exams to verify that he or she is suffering from a WTC-related health condition.
Once a victim is approved for benefits, he or she can receive treatment from any healthcare provider within a Nationwide Provider Network (NPN) with no out-of-pocket costs to the victim. Coverage provided through the WTCHP for 9/11 benefits includes coverage for any prescription drugs or medical devices in addition to medically necessary treatment.
A common question many 9/11 victims have is whether they will receive cash payouts by filing a WTC 9/11 benefits claim. While the Zadroga Act does have an avenue for providing compensation to qualifying claimants, the WTCHP only pertains to coverage for medical conditions that were likely the consequence of exposure to 9/11 toxins.
The Zadroga Act created both the WTCHP fund and the VCF. To learn whether you qualify for 9/11 benefits and compensation, consider reaching out to a 9/11 attorney to discuss your situation.
Contact the 9/11 Attorneys of Pitta & Baione LLP Today
If you or a loved one is a survivor or first responder who has suffered from uterine or endometrial cancer, you may qualify to receive 9/11 benefits. Now that uterine cancer is a WTCHP-related health condition, you now have a chance to seek benefits and compensation. To learn how the 9/11 attorneys of Pitta & Baione LLP may be able to help you, contact our office today by calling (844) 901-1237 to schedule your free consultation.