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Capitol Health Call
December 9, 2009

Black Lung Coverage

JAMA. 2009;302(22):2423. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.1803

Patients with coal workers' pneumoconiosis have difficulties in obtaining medical and financial assistance they are entitled to through the Department of Labor's Black Lung Benefits Program, according to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report (http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-10-7).

The report, which was released October 30, found that claim approval rates for the condition, also known as black lung disease, were below 15%, with reports of some cases taking years to resolve. The GAO recommended that the Labor Department make several administrative changes to make it easier and faster for someone with the disease to get the assistance that they need.