When you picture the state of Montana,a you imagine wide open ranges and blue skies: yet the town of Libby in Montana will be remembered as one of the areas most devastated by malignant mesothelioma. The town was the site of an asbestos-contaminated vermiculite mine originally owned by the Zonolite Company and later purchased by W.R. Grace & Co. Those companies’ reckless disregard for the environment and the people in the neighboring area resulted in more than 400 deaths and thousands of illnesses that continue to afflict the town’s residents decades later. Fortunately, a clinic that treats those who are out at risk has just been granted funding to allow them to continue their important work.
The Center for Asbestos Related Disease has become an integral part of the battle against malignant mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases in the town of Libby. Also known as the CARD Clinic, the facility’s physicians and health care professionals have worked for decades to monitor the town’s residents’ health, and they have been able to do this work because they have been funded by a generous grant. This week Montana state senator Steve Daines announced that the clinic has been awarded another $2.5 million grant so that its work can continue.
The CARD clinic provides invaluable mesothelioma screening services to those who have lived in Libby for a sustained period of time, and particularly to those who lived there in the past when the asbestos contamination was at its worst and the risk of asbestos exposure was at its highest. According to the clinic’s Administrative and Research Director Tracy McNew, who spoke of the many people who remain at risk in the area, and their need for constant screening, “Anybody who was in Libby for at least 6 months, at least 10 years ago qualifies for free screenings. We’ve been doing this same grant, this $2.5 million a year for seven years now, so this will be year number eight. This money was written into the Affordable Care Act in 2010. As long as the ACA is around we should hopefully be able to apply for this grant, it should exist. It is a four-year block grant. This will be year number four so next year we’re looking at applying for the full four year version.”
The clinic sees roughly 800 patients per year, providing chest X-rays and other tests to ensure that those who are at risk for mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases are receiving the card and treatment they need. If you or someone you love was exposed to asbestos on the job or in any other setting, you need the same type of care, as well as legal guidance. Call us today to learn more about how we can help. You can reach us at 1-800-966-2244.