Black Lung and Respiratory Disease


The purpose of the Rainelle Medical Center’s Black Lung/Respiratory Disease Program is to (1) Provide a facility to screen individuals for occupational disease, (2) Treat those cases diagnosed as having Black Lung or other Respiratory Diseases, and (3) Improve the “Quality of Life” for each patient through education, pulmonary rehabilitation, and benefits counseling.


If you or someone you know has worked in the state of WV for the last 2 out of 5 years or 5 out of 15 in coal dust or any other type of dust or chemical exposure that seems to have affected your breathing, you probably need to be screened for occupational lung disease.

Testing and Evaluation

Prior to enrollment in the program, patients will be given tests to determine their level of impairment. These tests include a chest x-ray and a Pulmonary Function Test (breathing test). This baseline study will allow our highly trained staff of physicians to recommend the appropriate treatment plan for your case.

Benefits Counseling

Should your test results show impairment, our on-site benefits counselor will help guide you through the difficult process of filing a claim for state benefits. The counselor will also be available throughout the claims process to answer questions and give advice on what steps to take to ensure that you receive all the benefits for which you are entitled.

Education/Pulmonary Rehabilitation

Educational classes are offered as part of the treatment plan in some cases. These sessions focus on such topics as nutrition, stress reduction, effects of your disease on daily living, breathing techniques, and med reaction review. Your spouse or family members are encouraged to become involved during this phase of treatment because they can offer support as you practice the things you have learned.

Program Costs

Anyone interested in pursuing a Black Lung claim may do so, providing they meet the criteria. The physical exam, chest x-ray, and breathing test are offered at a reduced rate. Our sliding fee scale may apply to those who qualify. Private insurance can not be billed for these particular services. Receiving services will not interefere with any lung disability benefits you are currently receiving.


While there is no cure for Occupational Lung Disease at this time, the quality of life for its victims can be greatly improved by participation in a program like the one offered here at Rainelle Medical Center. Through management of your disease, education/pulmonary rehabilitation, and interaction with others who share your condition, we feel confident that you can lead a far more enjoyable lifestyle than you may have thought possible.

“People Who Care For Your Life”

  • Testing
    We are fully equipped to determine the extent of your breathing and hearing loss.
  • Treatment
    Our physicians and therapists can recommend treatment to help you manage and control your work-related diseases.
  • Medication
    We may be able to prescribe medicines that will help you feel better.
  • Education
    Our staff will explain your disease and how it affects you, and help you to know how it affects you, and help you to know how to cope with it.
  • Compensation
    The benefits counselor will help you through the process of filing a state claim for benefits.

Black Lung Criteria

State Black Lung may be filed every three years while a person is still working and exposed to dust and you must file within three years from the last continuous 60 days after you quit work and no longer exposed to the dust.

When you have filed a state claim and you receive an award letter of your percentage, your claim is good for five years after the date of the award letter. You may reopen your claim twice, within this five-year period providing you have medical evidence, which proves that your lungs have worsened. Once five years is up, you will no longer be able to reopen your state claim.

You must keep your medical check-ups within that five-year period or if you have any medical benefits they will be lost. You must have a ten percent award or more to have medical benefits.

A person must be exposed to dust at least two years during the 10 years or 5 years of the 15 years immediately preceding the date of last exposure. This exposure must be in the state of West Virginia.

The proof that you are suffering from lung disease is a physician’s diagnosis accompanied by medical evidence, which are a chest x-ray and a pulmonary function test.

Federal Black Lung must be filed with the U.S. Department of Labor. The application must be completed about your personal information, dependents, employment history, and medical information. You must choose a doctor from the list provided. This list does not include the Rainelle Medical Center. The examination, if done, is at no cost to the miner.

The operator will be notified and has 30 days to respond. The miner and the operator will have at least 60 days to submit evidence, and another 30 days to file rebuttal evidence. Each side may submit only two x-ray readings, two breathing tests, two blood gas tests, two medical reports, and one biopsy or autopsy report besides the DOL initial pulmonary examination. Medical treatment records are unlimited. The coal companies may examine you twice.

To qualify for black lung the miner must show he has black lung disease, and the coal miner employment caused his black lung disease, and third that he has total respiratory disability caused at least in part by black lung disease.

Our purpose of outreach and benefit counseling is to locate those individuals who qualify for filing a claim and help them to secure the benefits which they are entitled to receive. They are provided with advice and legal referrals when indicated.