A northwestern Montana clinic has been awarded $2.5 million to continue providing asbestos-related healthcare.
Libby’s Center for Asbestos Related Disease, or CARD Clinic, specializes only in asbestos-related illness.
Senator Steve Daines made the grant announcement Friday.
CARD’s Administrative and Research Director, Tracy McNew, says the federal money is specifically earmarked for the clinic’s screening program.
"Anybody who was in Libby for at least 6 months, at least 10 years ago qualifies for free screenings," McNew says.
Those screenings include a chest x-ray, and a breathing test, among other services.
McNew says the $2.5 million grant is not new money.
“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 screens about 800 people a year for asbestos related disease.
In 2009, Libby was declared a public health emergency after years of asbestos exposure was linked to the now defunct W.R. Grace & Company vermiculite mine.