Baucus Announces New Grant Program for Asbestos Disease Screening in Montana
Senate Unanimously Passes Baucus Asbestos Awareness Week Resolution
Posted: Friday, March 11, 2011
Posted: Friday, March 11, 2011
(Washington, D.C.) - Montana's senior U.S. Senator Max Baucus announced a new grant program today to help health care providers in Libby, Lincoln County and Public Health Emergency sites across the country provide screening for asbestos-related diseases. Baucus created the grant program, now accepting applications this week, as part of his work to secure health care coverage for the Libby asbestos victims in the new health care law.
"Although we can never fully right the outrageous wrong that took place in Libby, we can fight to make sure the community has the tools it needs to heal. This new grant program for asbestos-disease screening is another important step in that healing process," Baucus said. "I want to thank health care providers like the CARD Clinic who are already providing great screening and health care to folks in Lincoln County. I'll continue doing all I can to help Libby heal and raise awareness to prevent horrible tragedies like this from ever happening again."
"CARD greatly values the unwavering support of Senator Baucus to make this screening grant available which will allow uninterrupted screening to continue in Libby and across the nation" said Dr. Brad Black, CARD Medical Director and Lincoln County Public Health Officer. "We thank Senator Baucus for his dedication to finding long term solutions for populations impacted by public health emergencies."
CARD is a community based non-profit organization established in 2000 that is committed to providing asbestos screening and healthcare related to the Libby asbestos exposure.
This week, the Senate also unanimously passed Baucus' resolution to designate the first week of April 2011 as "Asbestos Awareness Week," and call attention to Libby and other victims of asbestos-related disease.
Earlier this year Baucus was announced as the 2011 Tribute of Hope Award recipient by the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) for his tireless efforts fighting on behalf of residents of Libby, Lincoln County and Asbestos victims everywhere.
Baucus has been a long-time champion of asbestos awareness in his efforts to declare the mining tragedy in Lincoln County a public health emergency and make sure folks there have access to the clean-up tools and health care they need.
Since news reports first linked widespread deaths and illness to exposure to deadly asbestos fibers at the defunct W.R Grace and Co. mine, Baucus has visited Libby more than 20 times, secured millions for healthcare and cleanup, brought numerous White House cabinet secretaries to the town, helped save the CARD clinic, and has dogged the EPA to keep cleanup efforts moving forward.
As far back as 1999, Baucus wrote a letter to then Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala requesting immediate medical help and assistance to the area. He further lambasted the EPA's decision to not declare a Public Health Emergency, calling it an "outrage."
In 2008, Baucus released a report detailing a 2002 attempt by the EPA to declare a Public Health Emergency in Libby that was thwarted by the previous Administration's Office of Management and Budget. And on June 17, 2009, due in large part to Baucus' efforts, the EPA declared its first ever public health emergency in Libby, Montana.
As a the key author of health care reform law, Baucus fought hard to make sure the law included a mechanism for residents of Libby and Lincoln County to access the health care they were entitled to as victims of a public health emergency. As a result, victims of asbestos exposure in Lincoln County began getting care under Medicare in the Spring of 2010.
Baucus will be presented the award at ADAO's Seventh Annual International Asbestos Awareness Conference, which will be held in Atlanta, Georgia, April 1-3.
Contact: Kate Downen (406) 224-5056/Jennifer Donohue (202) 224-2651/Kathy Weber (406) 657-5915
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