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New York City has given Bellevue Hospital $16 million to be used over the next five years to treat those affected by World Trade Center Illness. 1,000 people have already signed up for the program and the hospital has the capacity to treat 6,000 over the next few years.

Bellevue is hiring more specialists – including pulmonary physicians, ear-nose-and-throat doctors, psychologists and social workers, said Dr. Joan Reibman, director of the WTC Environmental Health Center.

Some patients – suffering respiratory, gastrointestinal, psychological and other health problems – said they had been reluctant to seek care because they were uninsured or feared doctors’ skepticism.

The WTC Environmental Health Center is for those that are uninsured, live in lower Manhattan, office workers from the area, and those involved in the clean-up. Critics claim that the funding is not enough to treat everyone affected by World Trade Center Illness.

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