Bishop Leads Letter to Mass. AG Requesting Update on NECC Victims’ Compensation
WASHINGTON – Last September, following months of working with the Department of Justice and Office of Management and Budget, Congressman Mike Bishop (MI-08) helped secure $40 million for victims of the New England Compounding Center’s 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak, which now falls under the responsibility of the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office. Seven months after the funds were allocated, Rep. Bishop and 11 of his colleagues have sent a follow-up letter asking for an update on the disbursement process.
“We have a duty to continue fighting for the victims of this tragedy,” said Rep. Bishop. “That’s why my colleagues and I followed up with the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office - to get a much needed update on the status of the disbursement of funds these families are owed. Five years after patients received these tainted steroid injections, their families remain in dire need of financial assistance. With all of the stress and mounting costs they face, time is of the essence. The Massachusetts Attorney General’s office must treat this matter with the urgency it deserves.”
Michigan’s Eighth District was the largest epicenter of this tragedy. More than 200 people became sick and 15 people died after receiving the NECC’s tainted injections from a clinic in Brighton, Mich. All of the co-signers on this letter also had constituents who were impacted:
Bill Huizenga (MI-02), John Moolenaar (MI-04), Fred Upton (MI-06), Tim Walberg (MI-07), Paul Mitchell (MI-10), Dave Trott (MI-11), Debbie Dingell (MI-12), Erik Paulsen (MN-03), Tom Emmer (MN-06), Jackie Walorski (IN-02), Jim Cooper (TN-05).
Text of the letter that was sent can be found here or below:
Dear Attorney General Healey:
We write today requesting a progress report on the implementation of a compensation program for which your office received $40 million on September 29, 2016.
As you know, in October 2012, the New England Compounding Center (NECC) distributed contaminated steroid injections, which were subsequently administered to patients in 23 states. This led to 778 cases of diagnosed fungal infections, resulting in the death of 76 individuals.
After a two-year investigation, 14 individuals were charged with 131 criminal acts, including a combined 25 counts of second degree murder for deaths occurring in Michigan, Tennessee, Indiana, Virginia, Maryland, Florida, and North Carolina. On Wednesday, March 22, 2017, a Boston jury found lead defendant Barry Cadden guilty of racketeering and mail fraud for his role in this tragedy.
The testimonies of those affected are heartbreaking. Children have lost their mothers and fathers, parents have buried their sons and daughters, and the lives of hundreds of families have been irretrievably altered. They came to us seeking justice.
Last spring we wrote to then-Director Shaun Donovan at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) requesting that OMB and Department of Justice (DOJ) provide Victims Compensation funding for those affected by this outbreak. After working with OMB and DOJ to achieve a resolution the DOJ set aside $40 million so your office could administer a victim’s compensation program.
While this is certainly progress, we remain steadfast in our commitment to seeing these claims processed and paid in a timely manner. The victims – our constituents – continue to suffer as a result of the injections they received almost 5 years ago. This suffering need not be compounded by financial distress, but for far too many, their bills continue to go unpaid.
Time is of the essence. Therefore, we respectfully request a progress report on the development and implementation of the NECC Victims’ Compensation Program, and we hope to hear from you by May 17, 2017, so that we may attend to the significant concerns of our constituents.
- In October 2012, the New England Compounding Center (NECC) in Framingham, Mass., distributed contaminated steroid injections that were administered to patients from 23 states. After a two-year investigation, 14 individuals have been charged with 131 criminal acts, including a combined 25 counts of second degree murder in Michigan, Tennessee, Indiana, Virginia, Maryland, Florida, and North Carolina.
- After months of discussions with Rep. Bishop’s office, the Department of Justice announced in July 2016 it had reprogrammed $40 million specifically for victims of this case. The funds come from federal criminal fines, penalties, and forfeited bail bonds. It does not include any taxpayer dollars.
- In September 2016, the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office submitted the formal application to receive these funds, which was accepted before the end of the fiscal year (Sept. 30, 2016). Since the NECC was located in their state, their office has jurisdiction over processing all victims’ claims from across the country.
- Victims and families who have questions or would like to submit a claim are asked to visit this link. Disbursement amounts will be determined on an individual basis, depending on payments and collections submitted in the claims process.