Newsday - September 05, 2007by JOIE TYRRELL
The first combined satellite center opened yesterday in Staten Island, offering physical and mental health services. The sites in Brentwood, in Suffolk County, Fort Totten in Bayside and Middletown in upstate Orange County are expected to open in coming weeks.
These sites had been previously used solely as FDNY counseling centers since 9/11 and now will incorporate medical services to encourage participation in the FDNY's World Trade Center medical monitoring program.
"So many of our members performed heroically on Sept. 11, 2001, and risked their lives for the sake of this city and each other," Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta said. "These expanded sites will ease the burden of their treatment and help us continue to record and analyze the effects of their heroic acts. Every first responder deserves no less."
Previously, active and retired firefighters were monitored at FDNY headquarters in Downtown Brooklyn. They will still be able to be monitored there, but the additional sites should make it easier for them to get help closer to their homes, said FDNY spokesman Tony Sclafani.
Participants at the sites will receive medical questionnaires, meet with a physician and may undergo pulmonary tests in the future, he said.
"It is very similar to any visit to any doctor's office," he said.
The FDNY's World Trade Center Medical Monitoring Program, which was launched in October 2001, was the first program of its kind to evaluate and treat first responders at the World Trade Center site.
Led by FDNY Chief Medical Officers Dr. Kerry Kelly and Dr. David Prezant, the program has become a national model in providing treatment and identifying the physical and psychological effects of 9/11.
Each year, more than 2,000 FDNY members receive treatment for 9/11-related physical health issues, and more than 3,000 FDNY members are monitored for mental health issues, fire officials said.