Linking Compensation and Health Surveillance Data Sets to Improve Knowledge of US Coal Miners’ Health

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Abstract

Objective:

Increase knowledge of US coal miners’ respiratory health by linking data from the black lung benefits program (BLBP) and the coal workers’ health surveillance program (CWHSP).

Methods:

BLBP claims data from 2000 through 2013 was linked to CWHSP data from 1970 through 2016.

Results:

Overall, 273,644 miners participated in CWHSP, 37,548 in BLBP, and 22,903 in both programs. Median age of miners at their time of first/only participation in CWHSP was 28 and 32 years, respectively. BLBP claimants were older (median age 59). Thirty-nine percent of BLBP claimants had not participated in CWHSP. The relative contributions of states to participation differed between CWHSP and BLBP. For example, Kentucky miners accounted for 18% of CWHSP participants, but 36% of BLPB participants.

Conclusions:

Many BLBP claimants never appeared in CWHSP, indicating missed opportunities for secondary prevention.

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