Expanded Care Coming for Asbestos-Related Disease Victims - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Expanded Care Coming for Asbestos-Related Disease Victims

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MISSOULA -

During his "Montana Whistle Stop Tour", Montana's senior U.S. Senator Max Baucus announced the expansion of the Libby Pilot Program to 18 additional counties in Montana, Idaho and Washington. The program provides medical services for those affected by asbestos-related diseases caused by the W.R. Grace Mine in Libby.

"The Libby Pilot Program brought specialized healthcare only to folks in Lincoln and Flathead counties, but now, with the expansion of the pilot program, those who have moved away from Libby will get the healthcare they need and deserve," Senator Baucus said on Saturday. "It has been a long fight to make sure the people of Libby get justice. But it was a fight worth fighting. I am proud of the work we have been able to accomplish together. Libby has a bright future and I look forward to seeing it prosper."

Baucus was instrumental in making sure that Libby residents with asbestos related diseases were able to receive Medicare benefits under the health reform law. Also included in health care reform was the Libby Pilot Program, which provides medical services not normally covered by Medicare. These services are tailored to specific health needs resulting from asbestos exposure such as long-term care and special types of medication.

The Pilot Program, which currently covers Flathead and Lincoln counties, will be expanded to include Glacier, Lake, Mineral, Missoula and Sanders counties. The expansion will also include six counties in Washington and seven counties in Idaho.

Baucus was also honored during Saturday's event for his work on behalf of Libby and the CARD Clinic.

"We've faced some tough times in Libby over the last few decades. But, were it not for Senator Baucus' tireless advocacy for the health and well-being of the people of Libby, we would not be where we are today. We truly owe Max a debt of gratitude," said Dr. Brad Black, Chief Executive Officer and Medical Director of the Libby CARD Clinic. "His work has granted hope to Libby. For that, we are thankful."

CARD Clinic staff and board members dedicated a wing of the clinic to Baucus as well as to unveil a wall of appreciation.

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