Emily Rice Published

Black Lung Clinics Awarded More Than $2 Million

Two men are seated in front of a computer screen displaying an x-ray of black lung disease.
Mackie Branham views a lung X-ray with Dr. James Brandon Crum, who was among the first physicians to note an uptick in black lung diagnoses.
Howard Berkes/NPR

More than $2 million in federal funding is supporting black lung clinics across the state.

The money from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will go towards the state’s Black Lung and Coal Miner Clinics Program to provide financial help to the program’s health and treatment services.

Some of the services the program offers include lung function testing and rehabilitation, chest imaging, case management and benefits counseling.

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito is a ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and related agencies.

She said in a statement that miners are entitled to the medical care and treatment provided by the clinics and that they will continue to advocate for more accessible healthcare for coal miners in the Senate.

“West Virginia has a long tradition of generating America’s energy, and our coal miners are on the front lines every day to keep the lights on across our country,” Capito said. “I have been an advocate for coal miners for a long time and this funding from HHS will continue to help clinics deliver treatment to miners suffering from black lung. As the top Republican on the Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittee, I will continue fighting for resources that provide assistance to brave West Virginia coal miners dealing with this disease.”

According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Division of Coal Mine Workers’ Compensation, there were 28,628 total black lung beneficiaries nationwide in 2022.

West Virginia has more cases of black lung disease than any other state. And nearly one-quarter of the total number of cases reported, according to the Department of Labor.

More information about the West Virginia Black Lung Clinics Program, including services available by county, is available online.