An independent contractor responsible for managing the medical benefits of 9/11 first responders and survivors living outside New York City has lost a government contract, according to a company email reviewed by NBC News.
The email says the contract has been awarded to another seller from mid-2022.
News reports in September reported concerns from nearly a dozen first responders and survivors of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center Health Program, a program that provides treatment for 9/11 related diseases.
At the time, 9/11 respondents and survivors said the program failed to pay medical bills, provide inadequate treatment options and neglect to address the needs of people with significant levels of post-traumatic stress disorder.
LHI, based in Wisconsin, has hosted a program for 9/11 community members living outside New York City since 2008.
“LHI has been recognized as a trusted partner of NIOSH and the World Trade Center Health Program for over a decade. Our team will continue to provide the highest level of service and care to members of the health system for the remainder of our contract, ”said an LHI spokesperson.
NIOSH, or the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the state contracting agency, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The government began demanding bids for a new contract in August. LHI entered into a bridge contract when the government demanded bids. LHI will continue to provide services until a new contractor takes over by mid-2022, according to the email.
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The email added that LHI's parent company, Optum, was considering whether to file a protest with the Government Accountability Office "to challenge the prize."
"I'm shocked," said Michael Day, a first respondent for 9/11 and a former paramedic with the New York Fire Department. “I am happy, because I hope the one who got the contract will do better. I don't think you can do much worse than what LHI did. "
In September, a group of two House members from New York called on LHI and the state contracting agency to Capitol Hill to address concerns raised in a NBC News report.
When asked to address Congress, LHI said in a statement, "We are committed to treating everyone we serve with care and compassion, and will continue to carefully review any concerns we bring."
Pat Aubert, wife of 9/11 who first responded that she had struggled with LHI for years, said: “It's great that I don't have to deal with these people anymore. I hope [the new contractor] will do the right thing and get the program the right way. ”