News and Events

UMWA concerns about West Virginia H.B. 2875


Concerns about West Virginia’s House Bill 2875 are rising due to changes in safety protocols and reductions in the length of apprenticeships. “United Mine Worker’s Association President Cecil E. Roberts voiced concerns over numerous other aspects of the bill in a Feb. 11 press release, including provisions to:

  • No longer permit a miner representative to accompany an inspector during his or her inspection.
  • Alter requirements for ventilation of mines and ventilation plans. The bill would allow a mine operator to obtain an approved ventilation plan from the Mine Safety and Health Administration rather than submitting his or her own detailed plan for review.
  • Reduce to 45 from 120 the amount of days apprentice miners must work under the supervision of experienced miners upon beginning work” (Safety and Health Magazine, 2019).

Read more here
https://www.safetyandhealthmagazine.com/articles/18177-labor-union-shares-concerns-about-outrageous-west-virginia-mining-bill

Below is the link to West Virginia H.B. 2875

http://www.wvlegislature.gov/Bill_Text_HTML/2019_SESSIONS/RS/bills/hb2875%20intr.pdf


US DOL: Senior Level Former Coal Company Officials In Kentucky Charged For Defrauding Regulators About Black-Lung Causing Risks To Miners

Category : News

“United States Attorney Russell M. Coleman announced the charging of an additional former supervisor and safety official from Armstrong Coal, in addition to the eight previous officials charged by a federal grand jury, for conspiracy to defraud an agency of the United States government by deceit, trickery, and dishonest means. “

Read more below in the US DOLs News release:
https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/msha/msha20190227


$291 million to Clean Up and Repurpose Abandoned Coal Mines

Category : News

Acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt has announced that more than $291 million in funds will be distributed to states and tribes in an effort to eliminate dangerous conditions and pollution caused by former coal mining. The most allocated will be going to Wyoming, who is receiving $87,833,889.

Click below for the US Department of the Interiors News Release.
https://www.osmre.gov/resources/newsroom/News/2019/031919_AMLdistribution.pdf

Click below to see an article on it pertaining to IN.
https://indianapublicmedia.org/news/indiana-gets-8.1m-to-clean,-repurpose-old-coal-mines.php


News on Federal Black Lung Funding

Congress established the Black Lung trust fund in 1978. The tax rate used to fund it expired on Dec. 31, 2018, and has since been cut in half, leaving many beneficiaries uncertain of what will happen next.

Below are links to articles regarding the current state of federal Black Lung funding.

  • AP News Break: Congress’ Inaction Endangers Black Lung Fund
  • NY Times: With Black Lung Fund in Jeopardy, Taxpayers Could Fit the Bill
  • KHN: Expected Shortfalls For Black Lung Fund Will Be Covered By Taxpayers Instead Of Coal Companies

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    Revised Procedures for In-Facility Pulmonary Rehabilitation

    Category : Uncategorized

    The Division of Coal Mine Workers’ Compensation (DCMWC) has revised the procedures for providing pulmonary rehabilitation services at a health care facility to eligible coal miners whose benefits are paid by the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund. Based on the expertise of the physicians, hospitals, and clinics that treat coal miners who have black lung disease, DCMWC is eliminating the pre-certification requirement for pulmonary rehabilitation services, as well as updating and streamlining our procedures related to pulmonary rehabilitation services provided at a health care facility. Please note that DCMWC will not pay for at-home pulmonary rehabilitation services.

    For miners and providers, the new procedures mean:

    1. A medical facility no longer has to be pre-certified as a PR facility to provide pulmonary rehabilitation services;
    2. A miner no longer needs a Certificate of Medical Necessity (CMN) from a physician to receive pulmonary rehabilitation services;
    3. Physicians may refer patients directly to a pulmonary rehabilitation provider without pre-approval by DCMWC.

    Pulmonary rehabilitation providers must be enrolled in the DCMWC Provider Network in order to treat miners and receive payment for services. To enroll as a DCMWC provider, please access: https://owcpmed.dol.gov/portal/main.do for enrollment instructions.

    All bills for pulmonary rehabilitation services must be submitted on the OWCP-1500 claim form. A downloadable OWCP-1500 form is available at: http://www.dol.gov/owcp/dfec/regs/compliance/OWCP-1500.pdf. Providers must use Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) code G0424 when billing for pulmonary rehabilitation services. A bill for pulmonary rehabilitation services must include at least one of the following mandatory components:

    1. Physician-prescribed exercise;
    2. Education or training;
    3. Psychosocial assessment;
    4. Outcomes assessment; or
    5. An individualized treatment plan.

    DCMWC will pay for up to a maximum of 60 one-hour treatment sessions during any 90 day period; or a maximum of 90 one-hour sessions during any 12 month period. Lifetime maximums may also apply.

    In accordance with 20 CFR 725.707(b), DCMWC may require reports of treatment from time to time, including an individualized treatment plan for each patient.

    There is no change in the procedures for billing for other medical services that may be related to pulmonary rehabilitation services. For example, bills for established patient office visits and pulmonary function tests still do not require a CMN and can be billed separately as they are now. There is also no change in the procedures for prescriptions for durable medical equipment (DME) or home nursing care, which will continue to require CMNs.

    All medical bills should be sent to:

    DCMWC/Federal Black Lung Program
    P.O. Box 8302
    London, KY 40742-8302