Boone Memorial Hospital opened its Black Lung Center in February and in less than 4 months tested its 100th patient, Randall Light of Chapmanville.
The BMH Black Lung Center offers assistance completing Federal Black Lung claims, conducts testing and B-Read chest X-Rays (specific to black lung), PFT’s (Pulmonary Function Testing), EKG, Exercise Stress Test and a complete physical by one of four pulmonologists; Dr. Dominic Gaziano, Dr. Anil Agarwal, Dr. Esther Ajjarapu or Dr. Jeffrey Werchowski.
“It’s such a convenient drive,” said Light. “I drove to Norton, Virginia several years ago for the same tests. It took over 5 hours drive to Norton from Chapmanville and back and over 6 hours that day in testing. At Boone Memorial it took just 2 hours, start to finish.”
“We realize the process involved can be overwhelming for a miner to file and receive black lung benefits,” said Willie Carte, Director of the BMH Pulmonary Rehab and Black Lung Center.
“We want to make each step from filing the application to testing easier and convenient on the miner and their family.”
Light was pleased to be the 100th Black Lung Patient to receive testing and said fellow miners could benefit from the convenience of this local program.
“Willie (Carte) and staff did a great job. They actually took a real interest in my care and condition.”
The hospital offers outreach events throughout the year to help miners file claims. Staff is also readily available and willing to help miners face-to-face at Boone Memorial or via telephone. The hospital has far exceeded the 100 mark since seeing Light in May. The numbers continue to increase as more miners hear about the program.
To file a claim miners should bring the following:
Proof of your coal mining employment: (W-2’s, pay stubs, or employment letters)
Your work history with approximate dates of employment including name and company
NOTE: Do not get social security record due to expense
A certified copy of your marriage certificate, spouse’s social security number and date of birth
Copy of divorce decree (if applicable)
Copy of Birth Certificate and Social Security # for self and all dependents
“We are excited to provide this service locally to miners in Boone County as well as across Southern WV,” said David Gresham, Chief Development Officer at Boone Memorial. “It’s only fitting we provide these services to the miners who helped build this community over the last 60 years. Boone Memorial Hospital is proud to ‘Bring Black Lung Testing Home,’ he concluded.
To learn more about upcoming outreach events and the Boone Memorial Hospital Black Lung Center visit www.bmh.org/blacklungcenter or call 304-369-8825.