CARD’s Free Asbestos Health and Lung Cancer Screening Programs

Each year, the CARD Clinic provides free screenings to more than 500 people for asbestos related lung diseases and over 500 more for lung cancer screening. These important programs are funded through a federal grant awarded to CARD by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Participation in CARD’s asbestos health screening and lung cancer screening programs is free for those who qualify.

In order to qualify for free asbestos health screening you need to have lived, worked or spent time in the Libby or Troy area for at least six months at least ten years ago. You will also need to provide proof of your presence in the area and fill out a one-page application. The screening itself includes a spirometry breathing test, a chest x-ray, an ANA (antinuclear antibody) blood test, a visit with a CARD medical provider, and a CT scan and/or fecal occult blood test if indicated. Even if you have been through asbestos health screening in the past, you are likely eligible to rescreen as long as you were not diagnosed with an asbestos related disease (ARD). It can take anywhere from ten to 30 years or more for ARD to present clinically following exposure to Libby asbestos, so it’s a good idea to follow-up if you have any concerns.

In order to qualify for CARD’s free lung cancer screening, you will need to have been diagnosed with an asbestos related lung disease, be between the ages of 50 and 84, and have at least a 15-year smoking history. Lung cancer screening involves a short questionnaire, a low-dose chest CT scan and either a phone call or in person follow-up depending on your results.

Unfortunately, grant funding does not pay for regular ongoing healthcare (annual visits) for those diagnosed with ARD. However, once you do become diagnosed through our free asbestos health screening program, you also become eligible for Medicare no matter what age you are. Access to Medicare can make ongoing healthcare more accessible because it is not tied to employment and it is significantly more affordable than policies found on the exchange. In addition, programs are available to help with the cost of Medicare premiums if you meet criteria. CARD employs a Case Manager who is available to help our patients through the process of enrolling in these programs.

In addition to Medicare, for those diagnosed with ARD who live in Lincoln, Flathead, Lake, Glacier, Mineral, Missoula and Sanders County of Montana; Ferry, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Spokane, Stevens and Whitman of Washington; Benewah, Bonner, Boundary, Clearwater, Kootenai, Latah and Shoshone County of Idaho, a Medicare Pilot Program for Asbestos Related Disease (MPPARD) is also available. The MPPARD is free and may cover medically necessary costs denied by regular Medicare. Some examples of covered services have included lawn maintenance, indoor assistance, gym memberships, snow removal, and some durable medical equipment. Call CARD’s Case Manager, Stephanie for more information at 293-9274 ext. 139.