Ballad Health’s Norton Community Hospital has been caring for our coal miners for generations.
Today, Norton Community Hospital’s Black Lung Clinic offers the region’s only black lung program approved and certified by the U.S. Department of Labor.
The clinic offers disease screening / diagnostic testing and pulmonary rehabilitation services.
What is black lung disease?
Black lung disease – or coal worker’s pneumoconiosis – is a lung disease caused by breathing in dust from coal, graphite or man-made carbon over a long period of time.
Your risk of getting it depends on how long you have been around coal dust. Most people with this disease are older than 50.
Smoking does not increase your risk of developing this disease, but it may have additional harmful effects on the lungs.
When coal worker’s pneumoconiosis occurs with rheumatoid arthritis, it’s called Caplan syndrome.
Two types of black lung
Coal worker’s pneumoconiosis occurs in two forms:
- Complicated, which is also called progressive massive fibrosis or PMF
Black lung symptoms
Coughing and shortness of breath are symptoms of the disease.
How we treat black lung
If you have been exposed to coal dust and have the symptoms, Norton Community’s black lung program provides services including:
- Federally approved diagnostic testing at Norton Community Hospital
- Pulmonary rehabilitation
- Pulmonary function testing
- Durable medical equipment (such as oxygen)
- Prescription medications
- Sleep disorder testing
- Clinical education
- Home health/hospice
- Follow-up care at the outpatient pulmonary clinic as needed
Our Workers’ Compensation program was designed specifically to meet the requirements of the Department of Labor. But it can provide medical care for any miner with black lung disease.
Miners awarded disability benefits through the Federal Black Lung Program will have a “miner’s card” or a U.S. Department of Labor card.
Black lung program referral
To refer someone to the Black Lung Program:
- Call outpatient services 24/7 referral hotline at 1-800-366-4599.
- Answer a few simple questions and we will follow up with provider and patient directly.
Call (276) 439-1373 for U.S. Department of Labor exams.