Research Alert: April 5, 2021
Spatial Analysis of Healthcare Utilization Among Medicare Beneficiaries with Coal Workers' Pneumoconiosis and Other Related Pneumoconiosis
In 2017 there were approximately 50,000 coal miners, more than half of whom worked in just 25 mostly rural counties spread across 9 states. These miners are at risk of developing respiratory diseases such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), asbestosis, silicosis, and coal workers' pneumoconiosis (CWP), also referred to as black lung disease. CWP is a progressive occupational lung disease caused by overexposure to respirable coal mine dust and there is no cure. The Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act of 1969 outlined practices to improve the health of all individuals working in underground coal mines, and since 1979 coal workers have access to care, education, and counseling at Black Lung Clinics.
The aims of this project were to determine and map the geographical distribution of healthcare utilization patterns among Medicare beneficiaries with CWP and other related pneumoconiosis.
The study found significantly elevated rates of healthcare utilization for Medicare beneficiaries with CWP from 2011 to 2014 in counties in the central Appalachian states (West Virginia, Kentucky, and Virginia) compared to other parts of the country. These findings signify the need for expanding access to health care for individuals with CWP. However, the significance of clusters of healthcare utilization rates among beneficiaries with other related pneumoconiosis is unknown, and there is a need for further studies to understand the characteristics of these beneficiaries and the underlying disease etiology.Contact Information:
Ahmed A. Arif, PhD, CPH, FACE
Rural and Underserved Health Research Center
Additional Resources of Interest:
- Estimating the Prevalence and Spatial Clusters of Coal Workers' Pneumoconiosis Cases Using Medicare Claims Data, 2011‐2014
- Mortality Among Workers Employed in the Mining Industry in the United States: A 29‐Year Analysis of the National Health Interview Survey—Linked Mortality File, 1986‐2014
- Prevalence of Chronic Diseases Among Current and Ex-Miners in the United States
- More information about the Rural and Underserved Health Research Center
- More information from the Rural Health Information Hub's topic guides: Chronic Disease, Healthcare Access, Rural Health Disparities