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, over 500 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, 2017, and June 30, 2018:
- Over 2,500 Coal Miners
- Over 4,500 Medical Encounters for Patients with Black Lung Disease
- Over 4,000 Benefits Counseling sessions
- Over 1,200 exams for the Department of Labor
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, 2018, we helped file over 1,400 applications and the miners we helped received over 600 Interim Awards and over 200 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, 2018, Black Lung Program Staff did outreach and made presentations to approximately 18,000 people.