Last week, members of the police union called on Mayor Mike Bloomberg to release the medical records of 9/11 first responders to a panel that is studying possible links between cancer andcontaminants unleashed by the destruction of the trade center.
The panel at Mt. Sinai Medical Center was trying to determine if the the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act should be expanded to cover cancer treatment. That bill, which was signed in 2010 and is designed to aid those injured in the attacks on the World Trade Center, currently only includes respiratory ailments.
The city has said that it would violate patient privacy to release the names to the hospital and that it was searching for an accommodation. Now it appears as if they have found one.
“Following further conversations this morning between City officials and Mt. Sinai, the City will – subject to a confidentiality agreement – shortly be disclosing to Mt. Sinai the names of the uniform and civilian members of the NYPD who participated in the recovery and clean-up operations following the 9/11 terrorist attacks,” said Cas Holloway, deputy mayor of operations, in a statement. “Since Federal and State laws prevent us from disclosing the names of those who have reported that they have cancer or other conditions without their permission, we are developing a process to ask all of those individuals if they will authorize the release of their names. We are committed to working with Mt. Sinai to share this information as quickly as possible.”
The issue has quickly become a political hot potato, with Assemblyman Micah Kellner and Senator Diane Savino pushing a bill in Albany that would have compelled the city to turn over the information. And today, Council members Margaret Chin and Steven Levin pushed for a similar bill at a press conference on the steps of City Hall today.
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