Many Hope To Assist Asbestos Sufferers Outside Of Libby - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

Many Hope To Assist Asbestos Sufferers Outside Of Libby

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LIBBY -

Hundreds are hoping for help in the battle against asbestos related disease.

While many are in Libby, others have moved across the Treasure State.

US Senator Max Baucus brought a high-ranking health official to the region today to show her about this problem.

"I think I'd be dead if it wasn't for them," said John Troyer, a sufferer of an asbestos related ailment.

Troyer, a Libby-native, was diagnosed with an Asbestos related illness back in 2009.

"I've been diagnosed with Plural Fibrosis. Just in a nutshell: the lining in your lung for most people is like a balloon, and mine is turning into an orange peel," explained Troyer.

Although he didn't work in the mines, John's grandfather, who passed nearly two decades ago, did. John now lives in Helena and has to drive to the Center for Asbestos Related Disease--otherwise known as the CARD Clinic--in Libby several times a year because the care is unmatched.

"Nobody in Helena...I actually had a doctor say 'we'll deal with your pleurisy or whatever it is you have,'" said Troyer.

Today, Troyer was able to share his story with Senator Baucus and the medicare administrator for Libby, Marilyn Tavenner, before the pair took a tour of the CARD clinic.

Many people, including Troyer, are hoping the pilot program is expanded beyond Lincoln and Flathead counties.

"I think what I've heard today is that we've got issues with service boundaries that we need to take a look at, and so I'm gonna go back and take a look at that because I think it's a fair request. And we'll make a review and see what we can do," said Tavenner.

This is good news for Troyer. If the pilot program is altered to include nonresidents of Libby, he along with nearly 600 other diagnosed patients could stand to gain extra services such as nutritional supplements, travel reimbursement, and special home care services.

Currently, 850 people are enrolled in the pilot program covering Flathead and Lincoln counties only, meaning their basic medical expenses as well as special, extra services are covered.

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