According to the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy (DMME), the SMHS Black Lung Clinics serve an area in Virginia that had 3,082 active coal miners in 2015 and 1,169 active coalminers in 2016. In 2015-2016, 597 active coal miners received primary medical care, dental care, and/or behavioral health services at SMHS clinics. This represents approximately 20% of all miners in the state in 2015 or 50% of the miners in 2016.
The SMHS Black Lung Clinics provided services for thousands of coal miners between July 1, 2016, and June 30, 2017:
- Number of Coal Miners Served: 2,474
• Active: 142
• Former / Retired: 2,332
- Medical Encounters to Patients with Black Lung Disease: 5,139
- Benefits Counseling: 3,790
- Department of Labor Exams: 389
• Follow-up Exams: 1,696
One of the special services our Black Lung Program offers is assistance throughout the Black Lung Benefits claims process, including assistance with preparing materials for hearing and being there with miners in front of the Administrative Law Judges (ALJs). On another page, we describe our Layperson Legal Representation program in more detail. From July 1, 2015 – June 30, 2017, we helped file over 900 applications and the miners we helped received over 400 Interim Awards and almost 150 Federal ALJ Awards.
In addition to providing services to miners, we also try to inform the public about Black Lung Disease. From July 1, 2015 – June 30, 2017, Black Lung Program Staff did outreach and made presentations to approximately 16,000 people.