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Division of Coal Mine Workers' Compensation (DCMWC)

Request for Information – Comment Request

Medical Testing Standards
Under the Black Lung Benefits Act

The U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Workers' Compensation Programs (OWCP) has published a Request for Information (RFI) in the Federal Register. OWCP is seeking public input on updating the standards for administering and interpreting medical testing done in connection with claims for benefits under the Black Lung Benefits Act.

Congress passed the Black Lung Benefits Act in 1969 to provide compensation to miners who are totally disabled by black lung disease (pneumoconiosis) arising out of coal mine employment and certain of their survivors. Claims for benefits typically involve medical tests to evaluate the miner's respiratory condition. OWCP's standards help to ensure that medical tests performed in connection with a black lung claim produce accurate and valid results and that test results are interpreted consistently across claims.

OWCP is seeking public input on:

  • How existing standards for administering and interpreting pulmonary function tests should be updated
  • How existing standards for administering and interpreting arterial blood gas studies should be updated
  • Whether OWCP should adopt standards for pulse oximetry testing
  • Whether OWCP should adopt standards for lung diffusion testing (DLCO)
  • The potential economic impact of any such changes

In particular, OWCP seeks information from medical professionals, medical associations, black lung clinics, employers, miners, insurance carriers, trade associations, and any other interested parties. Written comments are due by January 27, 2020. Information on how to submit written comments is available in the RFI published in the Federal Register.

PDF of the RFI.

More information on the Black Lung Program and the Division of Coal Mine Workers' Compensation is available through the DCMWC website.