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Highlights

Responders to the World Trade Center (WTC) attack--individuals involved in rescue, recovery, or cleanup--included New York City Fire Department (FDNY) personnel, federal government workers, and others from New York and elsewhere. They were exposed to numerous hazards, and concerns remain about the long-term effects on their physical and mental health. In February 2006, GAO testified that four of the five key federally funded programs that were monitoring health effects in responders had made progress but that the Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) WTC Federal Responder Screening Program, implemented by the Office of Public Health Emergency Preparedness (OPHEP), lagged behind (GAO-06-481T). GAO also reported that the Congress appropriated $75 million in December 2005 to HHS's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for monitoring and treatment for responders and that CDC was deciding how to allocate the funds. This statement updates GAO's February 2006 testimony. GAO examined (1) progress made by HHS's WTC federal responder program and (2) actions CDC has taken to award the $75 million appropriated. GAO reviewed program documents and interviewed HHS officials and others involved in WTC monitoring and treatment programs.

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