On September 20, 2007, Mayor Bloomberg and HHC President Alan Aviles announced the opening of two new World Trade Center (WTC) clinics to be located at Gouverneur Healthcare Services and Elmhurst Hospital Center. The announcement was made during a press conference held at Gouverneur Healthcare Services. These clinics will provide free treatment to people with 9/11-related illnesses, and will be available to anyone who lived, worked or went to school in Lower Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn, or who helped in the WTC cleanup process.
“The City is stepping up to the plate to make sure that everyone gets the health care they need - despite this clearly being a national responsibility," said Mayor Bloomberg.
The clinics, located in Chinatown and in Queens, will be part of the World Trade Center Environmental Health Center, which the city established earlier at Bellevue Hospital Center. With the addition of these new sites, the WTC Environmental Health Center will be able to treat up to 20,000 patients over the next five years.
Most of the conditions being treated now are respiratory ailments, such as sinus and nasal problems. Some have also reported shortness of breath, asthma and throat irritation. In addition to respiratory conditions, some patients have experienced heartburn, indigestion, headaches, rashes and anxiety.
The Fire Department recently conducted a six-year health assessment of 14,200 firefighters and Emergency Medical Service technicians who responded on Sept. 11, 2001 and afterward. The report found that more than 79% of those responding to the attacks experienced at least one lower respiratory symptom.
Assemblyman Sheldon Silver, who attended the opening, stated, "These two new health centers will improve accessibility and ensure the delivery of comprehensive care for the increasing number of residents, emergency responders and workers who are experiencing 9/11-related illnesses.”
Gouverneur’s new clinic, located on the 4th floor of the facility, and Elmhurst’s clinic, which is to open soon in the hospital’s new Cancer Care Pavilion in Queens, will both treat and monitor those affected by 9/11, regardless of their ability to pay. Mayor Bloomberg expects that this type of monitoring will be required for the next 30 years.