Coal Tattoo

Hopkins suspends controversial black lung program


Hopkins Hospital, photo via Wikimedia Commons.

In case you missed the news that came out Friday evening, here’s what Chris Hamby at the Center for Public Integrity was reporting:

Johns Hopkins Medicine has suspended its black lung program pending a review in response to a Center for Public Integrity-ABC News investigation revealing how medical opinions from doctors at the prestigious hospital have helped coal companies thwart efforts by ailing mine workers to receive disability benefits.

“Following the news report we are initiating a review of the [black lung X-ray reading] service,” said a statement issued late Friday by Johns Hopkins Medicine. “Until the review is completed, we are suspending the program.”

Hopkins’ decision came as United States senators from coal country announced they have begun working on new legislation to address “troubling concerns” raised in this week’s reports.

“This new report raises a number of troubling concerns,” said a statement from U.S. Sen. Robert P. Casey (D-Pa.) Friday. “It is imperative that miners receive fair treatment and are not victimized at any point in the system.  I am working closely with Senator (Jay) Rockefeller to develop new legislation to address this problem.”

Rockefeller called the treatment of coal miners a “national disgrace” in an interview with ABC News.

You can read the entire Johns Hopkins statement here. The initial stories by the Center for Public Integrity and ABC New are here and here.