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Federal Funding Reduced Third Year in a Row for Black Lung Clinics

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The federal government announced Wednesday a reduction in the amount of aid West Virginia’s eight black lung clinics will receive this year for operating and clinical costs. The announcement continues funding cuts for the state’s Black Lung Program for the third year in a row.

The federal Health Resources and Services Administration granted $1,253,040 to the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources and the West Virginia Primary Care Association. According to the DHHR, the reduction is the third the program has seen in as many years.

West Virginia Black Lung Program Funding History

  • 2010 -  $1,508,654
  • 2011 -  $1,508,749
  • 2012 -  $1,507,323 ( - $1,426 from previous year)
  • 2013 -  $1,424,368 ( - $82,955 from previous year)
  • 2014 -  $1,253,040 ( - $171,328 from previous year)

Senator Joe Manchin said in a news release Wednesday the federal government attempted to cap the amount of money given to black lung clinics to $900,000 per state, which would have resulted in a $500,000 loss for West Virginia.

Manchin, working with Senator Jay Rockefeller and Congressman Nick Rahall, said they were able to bring an extra $300,000 by stopping the cut.

But only part of the money will go to the already established eight clinics. The DHHR is proposing a new ninth clinic be opened as well.

Commissioner of the state’s Bureau for Public Health Dr. Letitia Tierney said in a statement Wednesday she’s disappointed in the decrease, but the state will continue to provide clinical services.

The state DHHR says more than 50,000 West Virginians were treated in state black lung clinics last year.

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