Boone Memorial Hospital in Madison, West Virginia opened its new Black Lung Center this past February. In just 9 months the hospital has tested over 500 active and retired miners and helped them complete their federal black lung claim forms.
“The process is often difficult to tackle alone,” explained Willie Carte, Director of Respiratory Therapy and The Black Lung Center at Boone Memorial Hospital. “We don’t want our miners or widows to get discouraged. We want to make the process easier and guide them through the necessary steps to complete the claims, receive testing, and in turn hopefully receive their black lung benefits,” said Carte.
It is the hospitals intent to hold various outreach events across the State of West Virginia annually to make filing claims more convenient. The hospital has already held two outreach events at Boone Memorial Hospital and a third event in Oceana, helping nearly 150 miners. On Wednesday, December 5th The Black Lung Center will sponsor another event to file claims at the Beckley-Raleigh Convention Center on Armory Drive from 9:00am – 5:00pm.
Pre-registration is not required; the event is free of charge. Those attending should bring proof of their coal mining employment: (W-2’s, pay stubs, or employment letters), 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 their marriage certificate, spouse’s social security number and date of birth, copy of divorce decree (if applicable) and copy of birth certificate and Social Security number for self and all dependents.
“The outreach event is just one more avenue to help our local miners get the support they need,” said David Gresham, Chief Development Officer at Boone Memorial Hospital. “The Division of Labor partners with us to provide assistance at the outreach events. In addition, a local law firm who specializes in legal matters regarding black lung will also be onsite at the December 5th event, explained Gresham”
In addition to helping miners file claims, The Black Lung Center at Boone Memorial Hospital performs B-Read chest x-rays (specific to black lung), spirometry testing to determine breathing capacity, EKG’s, exercise stress tests and a complete physical by a physician. The completion of claims application and the initial testing, as described above, are completely free to the miner.
“We encourage miners to attend one of our upcoming outreach events or simply call our Black Lung Center at 304-369-8825 to set-up an appointment at BMH. We are happy to help and furthermore provide a location, close to home,” concluded Carte.
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