Questions about Benefits?

discussing chartBenefits counseling services include review of patients’ medical and work history to determine appropriate filing process. Coal miners who show impairment but not enough to be totally disabled are assisted with the West Virginia Workers’ Compensation Occupational Pneumoconiosis Program. Those miners who do show evidence of total disability, the New River Breathing Center staff helps with the initial application for Department of Labor Federal Black Lung Program. They are then counseled throughout the process by our benefits counselors. New River Breathing Center also evaluates patients with work-related noise exposures by audiometry testing and West Virginia Workers’ Compensation Noise-Induced Hearing Loss benefits counseling. In addition, the staff assists with benefits issues and paperwork such as letters for legal purposes, medication approvals, oxygen certifications and work physicals.

Outreach services provided by New River Breathing Center include attendance at Black Lung Association meetings, West Virginia Black Lung Clinics Program conferences, National Coalition of Black Lung and Respiratory Disease Clinics conferences, local United Way functions, Family Resource Network meetings, local health fairs, local United Mine Workers’ of America meetings, and Mine Safety and Health Administration meetings. At these outreach events, we provide benefits counseling, pulse oximetry and occasionally portable breathing tests. We offer annual flu vaccine to the attendees at the Fayette County Black Lung Association meetings in the fall. New River Breathing Center also recognizes the need to reach active coal miners and have begun a campaign to enroll active miners by advertising on Billboards and distributing fliers at convenience stores/gas stations frequented by the active coal miners.

Routine testing services for coal miners include spirometry, B-Reader chest x-ray, pulse oximetry, and audiometry. Other available testing services include EKG, metabolic labs, titmus vision screening, and digital x-ray. Pulmonary Rehabilitation services, Pulmonology Consultations and other Specialty Consultations are available locally by referral. The New River Health Association also has a program (called CAP) for individuals without health insurance to receive these tests at Charleston Area Medical Center for a nominal fee.

Patient education is a main focus of the New River Breathing Center Black Lung Program staff. Patients receive instruction on proper use of meter-dose inhalers and nebulizers, home peak flow testing, and review of medication compliance. Environmental exposures education, preventive education, and other health risk factors are addressed with Black Lung patients. Smoking Cessation is highly encouraged and prescriptions to aid in this process are given to patients upon request. All patients are encouraged to utilize the services available through the West Virginia Tobacco Quit Line.