9/11 Health Watch Persuades Westchester Medical Center Health System to Stay in the WTC Health Program Network

In April of 2024, 9/11 Health Watch Inc. learned that Westchester Medical Center Health Care System had decided it would withdraw from participating in the World Trade Center Health Care Network and stop providing ease of access to its facilities for injured and ill 9/11 responders and survivors throughout its system including Westchester Medical Center, your Behavioral Center, Bon Secours Community Hospital Good Samaritan Hospital, Margaretville Hospital, Mid-Hudson Reginal Hospital and St. Anthonys Community Hospital as well as its doctors and other medical staff.

While Westchester Medical Center Health Care System at the time said it would continue to allow the WTC Health Program to utilize its system but only with the World Trade Center Health Program entering into Single Case Agreements for each case. This case-by-case basis process requires an immense amount of paperwork, imposes additional costs, and most importantly delays in access to care that is needed.

We learned that the reason Westchester Medical Center was pulling out of the network was that they felt that the World Trade Center Health Program did not provide the volume of patients that Westchester County Medical System would like to see.

They reportedly stated to the program “…that they only sign agreements based on patient volume and the Program does not have enough volume to warrant an agreement. “

Basically, they were saying that because there aren’t enough sick 9/11 responders and survivors for their business, they will make it harder for those who need help to get it.

On April 11th, 2024, 9/11 Health Watch wrote to Mr. Michael Israel, President and Chief Executive Officer, we pointed out that allowing access to their health system’s resources by requiring single use agreements was an extremely cumbersome inefficient approach that leads to overall less than optimal patient care. That 9/11 responders and survivors who need care are many times terribly ill patients that require care from more than one physician of one division in a hospital – each requiring a separate agreement before care can be provided. There are radiology images that need to be interpreted, emergency dept visits, anesthesia for surgeries, infectious disease, critical care, oncology, hematology, physical therapy and on and on. Each would require its own single-use agreement. This leads to patient visit cancellations, service claims that remain open and when finally rectified may be too late to be paid under current guidelines. Claims that go unpaid are then the responsibility of the patient only because the necessary agreements were not in place.

9/11 Health Watch pointed out that this was the same position taken by New York Presbyterian when they refused to be part of the WTC Health Program Network and would only allow access to their facilities and their personnel by use of the same cumbersome single case agreements as well.

Within days of our letter and after contacting News Channel 12 and County Executive Geroge Lattimer, Westchester Medical Center announced that they were reversing the decision and would remain in the World Trade Center Health Program Network.


April 11, 2024, 9/11 Health Watch Letter to CEO of Westchester Medical Center.

Last updated: June 20, 2024