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Author Archives: myen

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Final Rule Governing the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund’s Payment of Medical Benefits Has Been Issued

The Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs has issued a Final Rule governing the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund’s payment of medical benefits under the Black Lung Benefits Act.

The Final Rule:

  • Adopts modern payment formulas for physicians, hospitals and other providers that are derived from the formulas used in the Medicare program. These formulas are also similar to those used by other OWCP programs (e.g., Federal Employees Compensation and Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation programs).
  • Codifies the black lung program’s current practices for the payment of prescription drugs and the submission of medical bills for payment.
  • Provides greater clarity about fees paid to providers, which should speed processing and payment of benefits as well as make it easier for the Trust Fund to obtain reimbursement from coal companies.
  • Prohibits providers from seeking additional payments from miners for covered services that have been paid by the Trust Fund.

Miners will not see any change in the medical care they receive to treat their black lung disease.

The regulations will be effective August 31, 2018.  The rules will apply to medical equipment, prescription drugs, and inpatient medical services provided or rendered after that date. The rules governing payment of professional medical services and outpatient medical services have a delayed application date and will apply to services rendered after November 30, 2019.

DOL Press Release of Final Rule

The Final Rule is available for public inspection today on the Federal Register’s website at: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/06/14/2018-12418/black-lung-benefits-act-medical-benefit-payments. The Federal Register will publish the rule on June 14, 2018. The published version will be available online at the same website location.


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Majority of mining-related injuries and illness in Illinois go unreported

Category : Dr. Robert Cohen

Illnesses and injuries associated with working in Illinois mines are underreported. Researchers lead by Dr. Robert Cohen, clinical professor of environmental and occupational health services in the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health, took a deeper look into why this was the case.

Read the UIC Today article


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Why is mining-related lung disease on the rise?

Category : Dr. Robert Cohen

UIC Today covers the research project, led by Dr. Robert Cohen, that looks to determine why mine dust-related lung diseases are on the rise.

Read the article


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Congress Boosts ‘Black Lung’ Treatment Funding by Millions

Category : News

“Rural medical clinics that are struggling to respond to an epidemic of a fatal lung disease plaguing coal miners received a 40 percent boost in federal funding with the passage of the omnibus spending bill last week.” – Howard Berkes, NPR –

Read the entire article on NPR.org.


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Mark Your Calendars! NCBLRDC BoD Meeting & 2018 Conference

Category : NCBLRDC , News

Please mark your calendars for these upcoming events!

NCBLRDC Board of Director’s Meeting
HRSA Workshop

Washington, DC
March 5, 2018

NCBLRDC 2018 Conference
Pipestem, WV
June 5-June 8, 2018


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