A 3rd District Court ruling will enhance and expand medical care for disabled miners at the University of Utah Health's sciences center.
The negotiated settlement agreement will not only allow miners access to the services available through the university health system, but create new programs in different parts of the state.
The university has been the officially designated provider of medical services for miners for more than 40 years. In 1957, the Utah Legislature mandated that funds accrued from trust lands gifted to the state by the federal government for a miners hospital be directed to the U of U rehabilitation center.
In recent years, several plaintiffs have petitioned the courts for medical services expressly tailored to meet specific health-care needs of miners.
The first step in personalizing services involves changing the U of U facility's name to the rehabilitation center and miners hospital.
"University hospital has long been the de facto hospital for Utah's miners. This agreement makes it official," said Dr. Phillip Bryant, the newly named director of the facility.
With the court's approval of the settlement, the university will hire an assistant medical director and case manager exclusively devoted to miners hospital patients.
The expanded services are supported by the Miners Land Grant Trust Fund. The money comes from the sale and lease of 100,000 acres of land given to the state by the United States government in the interest of the miners in 1896 and 1929.
Services to be offered by the university's rehabilitation center and miners hospital include:
Scheduling an off-site clinic two days a month in Orem, allowing miners to receive medical care closer to home.
Presenting annual seminars on mining-related health issues in Price, Magna and possibly other locations.
Offering an interdisciplinary clinic at the university's hospital where specialists in rehabilitation, pulmonary, orthopedic and occupational medicine will offer specialized care for medical ailments common to miners.
Outreach coordinators from the university will work with communities in the Carbon-Emery area and elsewhere which have large miner populations to coordinate diagnosis and treatment of related illness and injury.
Disabled miners who use the hospital will receive ongoing needs health assessments to document their medical needs, both for epidemiological purposes and to ensure that they continue to receive appropriate treatment and education to prevent illness.
Pending the necessary applications and approvals, the miners hospital will be a certified provider of the Federal Black Lung Program.
For additional information regarding the medical services available at the rehabilitation center and miners hospital, Carbon County residents should contact Sunny Vance-Lauritzen at the university in Salt Lake City.
The administrative director of rehabilitation services at University of Utah's hospitals and clinics, may be reached by calling 801-581-2251.