Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the WTC Health Program

The World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program's top priority is to continue providing your WTC-related health care needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. We have responded with several operational changes to help accomplish this during this challenging time. Our clinics have also shifted how they operate to ensure that they are able to meet your needs while limiting face-to-face interactions.

Latest Program Updates
  • COVID-19 vaccine section updated (2/9/21)
  • COVID-19 vaccine section updated (1/14/21)
  • COVID-19 vaccine section added (12/14/20)
  • Statement by Program Administrator Dr. John Howard on COVID-19 and the WTC Health Program (Updated 5/4/20)
  • Members who prefer to pick up prescriptions at retail pharmacies can now receive up to a 90-day supply of medication. The new quantity must be authorized by your provider. (Updated 4/28/20)
  • Information on mental health resources is available at www.cdc.gov/wtc/mentalhealth.html (Updated 4/17/20)
  • There are no processing delays for WTC Health Program enrollments, certifications, or claims at this time. (Updated 3/31/20)
  • Members should keep upcoming monitoring and treatment appointments, unless otherwise advised by your clinic. Clinics are continuing to provide care through telehealth services (phone or video) when possible. Contact your clinic for more details. (Updated 3/31/20)
  • The WTC Health Program is not able to provide disinfectant supplies or protective equipment. If you are in need of these supplies, please contact your provider or local COVID-19 resource helpline. (Updated 3/23/20)
  • Members should continue following CDC’s guidelines for COVID-19 prevention. (Updated 3/23/20)

Looking for COVID-19 information from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF)? The VCF is a separate program from the WTC Health Program. The latest updates from the VCF are available on the VCF COVID-19 page.


Protect yourself and those around you

All WTC Health Program members are encouraged to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)'s guidelines to protect against COVID-19.

Some WTC Health Program members with certain health conditions, WTC-related or not, may be at a higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19. The CDC recommends additional preventive steps be taken for these higher risk individuals.

We know that this time of social distancing and self-isolation may be filled with stress and anxiety. Information on mental health resources is available.

Organizations and programs are also available to assist if you need help with financial burden, resource access, or other social support.


When to seek care for COVID-19 symptoms

If you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop COVID-19 symptoms such as a fever or cough, call your health care provider. If contacting the WTC Health Program’s Clinical Centers of Excellence or the Nationwide Provider Network, you may be referred to alternative locations for COVID-19 testing and treatment based on local public health directives.

If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19, get medical attention immediately.


What we've done in response to COVID-19

The WTC Health Program has taken several steps to ensure that Program members continue to receive monitoring, treatment, and other authorized services for their certified WTC-related conditions during this challenging time.

Expanded use of telehealth

We have approved the use of telehealth services (either telephone or video) so that members can continue to receive care without coming into a clinic. Telehealth services may vary from clinic to clinic but will help ensure continued care for certified WTC-related conditions.

Implemented in-person safeguards

Each clinic is following the preparedness plan outlined by their parent institution. Non-essential appointments are being rescheduled and several safety measures are in place for any essential in-person visits.

Filling prescriptions

All members with prescriptions for their certified WTC-related conditions are strongly encouraged to sign up for Optum Home Delivery which allows for 90-day prescription fills and delivers directly to members by mail. For more information, please call Optum at (855) 640–0005, Option 2.

To reduce trips to the pharmacy, members who prefer to pick up prescriptions at retail or community-based pharmacies can now receive up to a 90-day supply of medication if the quantity is authorized by your provider.

Please note: This 90-day allowance at retail pharmacies replaces the previous waiver of the early medication refill limits on 30-day prescription fills.


COVID-19 vaccines

Visit the CDC COVID-19 vaccines webpage for information about COVID-19 vaccines, including frequently asked questions and recommendations for prevention after vaccination. Learn more about CDC priority recommendations on the Who Gets Vaccinated First? webpage. If you are unsure whether the COVID-19 vaccine is right for you, contact your healthcare provider. Continue to follow CDC’s COVID-19 prevention steps before and after you receive the vaccine.

Is the COVID-19 vaccine available through my Clinical Center of Excellence (CCE)?

Most CCEs will not be getting the vaccine to administer in the Program clinics, even if the CCE’s parent medical institution has a vaccine administration program. All Members should seek the vaccine outside of the WTC Health Program through their state or local health department’s vaccine administration process.

When and where can I get the vaccine?

To get the COVID-19 vaccine, please visit your state or local health department’s website and follow these steps:

  1. Review the COVID-19 vaccination prioritization plan for your state and see what priority group you are in. Please note: Your membership in the WTC Health Program does not affect your prioritization for the vaccine.
  2. If your priority group is eligible for the vaccine, look up where you can receive the vaccine near you. Vaccine supply is currently very limited and may impact your ability to get an appointment.
  3. Review any documentation requirements needed to prove you are eligible for the vaccine. For example, a driver’s license to show your age. Please note: If your certified WTC-related health condition meets the criteria for the vaccine, your certification letter may be used as documentation.
  4. Follow your location's instructions for requesting or scheduling an appointment. You may find that your location is a local health department, hospital, pharmacy, or medical practice.

Links to health departments in all 50 states, 8 U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia are available in the CDC’s Health Department Directory. The WTC Health Program does not have any influence in how the vaccine is distributed or prioritized. Learn more about What to Expect at Your Appointment to Get Vaccinated for COVID-19 on the CDC website.

The WTC Health Program CCE’s and the Nationwide Provider Network are not able to assist with providing information about when and where members can receive the vaccine.

Does the WTC Health Program cover the vaccine?

The WTC Health Program does not cover the COVID-19 vaccine or the administration of the vaccine at this time. All vaccine doses currently available were purchased by the federal government with U.S. taxpayer dollars and, therefore, are available at no-cost to the American people. However, vaccination providers may charge vaccine administration fees. The CARES Act requires that these costs be covered by the patient’s personal insurance (whether public or private) or, for uninsured patients, by the HHS Provider Relief Fund. Providers are prohibited from seeking reimbursement for the vaccine administration fee from the patient or otherwise balance billing the patient.

Please continue checking this page for WTC Health Program updates about the COVID-19 vaccine.


COVID-19 testing and treatment

The WTC Health Program covers limited COVID-19 testing for members with certain certified WTC-related conditions that may put them at higher risk of illness from COVID-19. Treatment for COVID-19 is covered when certain criteria are met, including that the member was eligible for COVID-19 testing, the treatment is authorized by the Program, and the treatment is not experimental.

We are able to provide COVID-19 testing and care to members who are at high risk due to certified WTC-related conditions while ensuring that the Program adheres to its WTC-related care mission, Program requirements, and the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. All COVID-19 testing and treatment available through the WTC Health Program will align with CDC testing guidance. The Program will not cover antibody testing. There are no COVID-19 vaccine trials associated with the WTC Health Program. The Program does not cover any expenses related to clinical trials.

Your Clinical Centers of Excellence or the Nationwide Provider Network can inform you about whether the Program will cover the cost of COVID-19 diagnostic testing. Coverage of COVID-19 treatment cost requires approval by the Program Administrator, on a case-by-case basis.


Questions?

If you have specific questions related to your WTC-related care and COVID-19, please contact your clinic directly. Clinic contact information is available on the Find A Clinic page.


Print Material

Fact Sheet (updated January 21, 2021)