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MASSA program still accepting new participants

| April 6, 2005 12:00 AM

To the Editor:

I have been honored to spend the past two years working to help the people of Libby who have been impacted by asbestos-related disease. Through the Montana Asbestos Surveillance and Screening Activity (MASSA) of the Department of Public Health and Human Services, my staff and I have been able to provide free screenings for more than 2,000 people since May 2003. The federal Agency for Toxic Substances Disease and Registry has funded screenings for over 9,000 Libby residents since 2000.

I want to remind residents that we are still accepting new participants for screening. The process is simple and painless. Because asbestos-related disease develops slowly, at-risk individuals who have been tested previously should also call the MASSA clinic to see when they need to be re-screened. You can reach us at 293-5060.

If a MASSA screening indicates a need for follow-up medical care, participants are referred to the health care provider of their choice. A recent article in The Western News indicated that participants are sent to the CARD clinic for treatment. Many participants indicate the CARD as their health care provider and follow-up there. But, if they do not have a health care provider identified, then we provide information on all of the health care options available in the community.

If the participant requests assistance with other concerns, such as insurance, home health, and psychosocial issues related to asbestos exposure and its health effects, we refer them to a social worker provided by the Asbestos-Related Disease Network (ARDNET). These services are available to the entire community.

I look forward to continuing to provide this vital service to Libby residents. We are here solely because we care about you and your health.

Carol D. Holoboff, RN, HSS

MASSA Program Coordinator