Category Archives: News

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Thousands Of Coal Miners Dying From Advanced Form Of Black Lung Disease Which Could Have Been Prevented, Investigation Finds

Category : News

“In an investigatory piece conducted jointly with the PBS investigative series FrontlineNPR (1/22, Berkes) reports, “Thousands of coal miners are dying from an advanced form of black lung disease, and federal regulators could have prevented it if they had paid closer attention to their own data.” 


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DOL: “U.S. Mining Fatalities in 2018 Were Second Lowest on Record”

Category : News

On January 9, 2019 the Mine Safety & Health Administration of the Department of Labor reported that 2018 was the second lowest year on record for U.S. mining fatalities. Click here to be directed to the News Release.


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NPR: “Calls For Change Follow NPR/Frontline Black Lung Investigation”

Category : News

NPR will speak more about their co-investigation with Frontline during their 3 pm (central) broadcast of “All Things Considered”. Here is a link to the continuation of their investigation and what its impact may be. NPR reports that due to

Tonight, Frontline will also premier the documentary Coal’s Deadly Dust which will air on PBS January 22, 2019. Click here to be linked to the trailer, featuring our very own Dr. Robert Cohen.


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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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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.