The Black Lung Clinics Program celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2019. This program provides funding for medical, outreach, educational, and benefits counseling services to active, inactive, and disabled coal miners throughout the country. The purpose of this program is to reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with occupationally-related coal mine dust lung disease. BLCP awardees range from public, private, and state entities.
There are nearly 60 clinic sites across 15 states, and BLCP awardees served over 13,000 coal miners between July 2016 and June 2017. These clinics are located in areas where miners live so they are able to cultivate trust and develop strong bonds with the coal mining community. This close connection has allowed the clinics to employ creative ways to tailor services to the needs of their local populations. For example, Miners’ Colfax Medical Center in Raton, New Mexico, has telemedicine and mobile screening units, specialized Department of Labor examination clinics, and telementoring programs. These innovative programs allow for reduced travel time for patients, increased participation in the program, and a better understanding of the coal mining community.
Despite coal mine regulations, miners are still at great risk for developing health issues including black lung. With the help of BLCP, these coal miners have hope and can look forward to a healthier future.
BLCP is authorized by Section 427(a) of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 as amended which called for the creation of the Mine Safety and Health Administration, quarterly mine inspections, and limits on coal dust exposure.
BLCP officially started at HRSA in 1979 in the Bureau of Community Health Services and included a community health centers program.