Stone Mountain Health Services Black Lung Program Recognized Nationally

Recently the Stone Mountain Health Services Black Lung Program was recognized nationally when it received the Virginia Rural Health Association’s 2018 Best Practices in Rural Health Award for their ongoing efforts to address Black Lung in Appalachia. The Black Lung Team was also awarded the “Team of the Year” by the Virginia Commonwealth Healthcare Association.
The Black Lung Program was created and designed to aid with the diagnosis, evaluation and treatment, along with enhancing the quality of life for individuals with chronic respiratory issues. The program is funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration in order to be able to provide specific services to local miners.
In total, the Black Lung grantees served 13,122 area miners from July 1st, 2016 until June 30th, 2017. SMHS clinics served 2,474 miners, and roughly 20% of the total miners served were done so by the grantees.
Staff members at the Black Lung Clinics cite their success as the result of a strong relationship to the community. Many of the Black Lung Clinic employees are from the region and can relate with the miners and their families.
Individuals with Black Lung Disease have a buildup of coal dust that leads to the creation of small areas of damaged lung tissue that appear on chest x-rays. Recently an increase of the advanced form of the disease called Progressive Massive Fibrosis or PMF in area miners, in central Appalachia, Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee has been noted. Individuals with PMF have increased lung damage.
SMHS offers medical screening for Black Lung; available at low cost and any miner, whether surface or underground is eligible for the screening. Individuals may contact the St Charles office at 276-383-4428 for additional information.

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