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

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.

Source: Almberg, K. S., Cohen, R. A., Blackley, D. J., Laney, A. S., Storey, E., & Halldin, C. N. (2017). Journal of occupational and environmental medicine, 59(10), 930-934.

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