08/19/2011

Government black lung program comes to WVU

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University Institute of Occupational and Environmental Health is now a participant in the Federal Black Lung Program, offering pulmonary testing and services to coal miners suffering from the disease. Black lung, or coal workers’ pneumoconiosis, is a potentially debilitating disease caused by exposure to dust produced in the mining process and is irreversible.

As the only Federal Black Lung Program clinic in Monongalia County and one of only three in the region, the designation makes it easier and faster for miners to be evaluated for the disease.

Established to offer monetary compensation and medical coverage for coal miners disabled by black lung, the United States Department of Labor program benefits both miners affected by the disease and the survivors of coal miners who have died of the disease. Acceptance into the program allows three board-certified occupational medicine physicians of WVU Healthcare to evaluate coal miners for program eligibility: Anna Allen, M.D., Chuanfang Jin, M.D., and Charles Werntz, III, D.O.

“The required medical testing is performed within the medical center complex and can be completed on the same day of the visit,” Dr. Allen said. “This allows for efficient turnaround on results and convenience for those traveling long distances.”

West Virginia currently ranks second in the nation for black lung claims.

“WVU’s participation in this program is a continuation of our commitment to improve the health, safety and medical care of employees in West Virginia and the surrounding area,” Allen said.

In addition to black lung treatment, care for patients with all other mining-related respiratory diseases is also funded through this program. Each site provides services that include screening, diagnosis, treatment, education, rehabilitation, outreach and benefits counseling.

Program beneficiaries are eligible for prescription drugs, inpatient and outpatient services and doctors’ visits. In addition, home oxygen and other medical equipment, home nursing services and pulmonary rehabilitation may be covered with a doctor’s prescription.

To learn more about the Federal Black Lung Program, visit www.dol.gov/owcp/dcmwc.


-WVU-


11-172
For more information:
Leigh Limerick, HSC News Service, 304-293-7087
limerickl@wvuhealthcare.com
ll: 08-08-11

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