The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources and the West Virginia Primary Care Association will receive $626,520 each under the Black Lung Clinics Grant Program, administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) for a total award of $1,253,040, according to U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.).
Since February 2014, Manchin said he has worked closely with Senator Rockefeller and Congressman Rahall to urge HRSA and the Department of Health and Humans Services (HHS) to ensure West Virginia receives sufficient funding so that miners suffering from black lung disease can get the treatment and medical services they need.
“This funding is less than West Virginia received last year, and I will do everything in my power to continue to fight for the full funding,” Manchin said. “However, I am pleased that the Health Resources and Services Administration decided to not limit the state’s total black lung grant funding at the previous $900,000 cap. Every single miner who suffers from black lung disease should receive the best treatment and medical care, and this funding helps make that possible. Our coal miners have mined the coal that keeps our lights on, heats our homes and powers our businesses. The health and safety of our miners has always been one of the Mountain State’s top priorities, and I will continue to make sure our miners are always taken care of and supported.”
“I am pleased to have advocated in behalf of this critical funding and worked with Senators Rockefeller and Manchin in getting every dollar possible for our clinics – it’s more than we expected under the new application process and just shy of full funding. Although it is less than what our State needs, it will go a long way in helping to provide the medical care and treatment our coal miners and families need and deserve,” said Rahall.
“Our miners have dedicated their lives to their work, and we owe it to them and their families to provide them with the timely treatment of Black Lung disease. This award is promising news for miners and families, but with West Virginia still leading in the number of cases of Black Lung disease, we cannot rest until our state’s black lung clinics have all the resources necessary to care for our miners,” Rockefeller said.
The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources administers grant funding for eight black lung clinics – more than any other state – and is proposing to add a ninth clinic to the program.