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Two Year Extension Means Intermountain Downwinders Clinic Will Continue to Help Affected Patients

The Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) helps those exposed to atmospheric nuclear testing and uranium industry employment.

(PRUnderground) July 11th, 2022

The Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) was originally put forth in 1990 by the federal government to recognize and compensate individuals living in parts of southern Utah, northern Arizona, or eastern Nevada during the 1950s and ‘60s who were put at increased risk for cancer due to atmospheric nuclear testing and uranium industry employment.

Although originally set to expire soon, President Biden and Congress extended RECA coverage to help these “downwinders” and their families. The filing deadline was extended to summer of 2024.

The act allows qualifying downwinders to receive a one-time payout of $50,000, said Becky Barlow, project director and nurse practitioner at the Radiation Exposure Screening and Education Program (RESEP) Clinic at Intermountain St. George Regional Hospital.  Test site workers can apply for $75,000 and certain uranium workers can apply for $100,000.

Now, Barlow has spent the last 18 years working to help people with their downwinder claims. She said the RESEP Clinic has seen an increase in interest in the last few months as the old deadline approached.

“We are pleased that the president and Congress would continue support downwinders and uranium workers that were unknowingly exposed because of nuclear testing or jobs in uranium mining and refinement,” Barlow said.

One detail Barlow said is particularly important to note, that the Amendments of 2000 added some cancers and took away some stipulations. So if people were denied before the year 2000, we should take another look at their claim. The program has also been made a little clearer.

“For example,” Barlow said, “the law itself says leukemia is covered, except for Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL), but many CLLs are considered the same disease as Small Lymphocytic Lymphoma (SLL), which is covered as a lymphoma. So if their doctor is willing to write a letter that their CLL is the same disease as SLL, they can apply or reapply, and we can get them compensated.”

If possible, the Department of Justice prefers to award the money directly to the person impacted by the testing. However, if that person is already deceased, their legal spouse can apply for the money, and in some cases the person’s children or grandchildren can also apply.

“If you had a family member impacted and you don’t know if they filed, you can contact us to check,” Barlow said.

Information meetings held regularly by the RESEP Clinic to help individuals through the registration process. Individuals can also reach out to the clinic with questions about the program and its requirements, RECA compensation, and the recent deadline extension. Information is available and assistance provided to start the compensation process for those who qualify.

Although much of the work of the RESEP Clinic is to help people apply for these federal funds, Barlow said it is not just about getting money. That’s just one part of a two-fold mission.

“We also provide cancer screenings for people who were there at the time of the testing,” Barlow said. “The people who were there at that time were exposed to radiation, whether as downwinders, in the uranium mines and mills, or at the test sites. Their exposure puts them at risk for certain cancers and it’s important for them to be proactive in doing their cancer screening; to be aware of the risk.”

For anyone with questions regarding the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act, or in need of screenings, please call (435) 251-4670.

“Cancer can be such a devastating disease,” Barlow said. “We just want to make sure they can get whatever help they are entitled to and need.”

About Intermountain Healthcare

Based in Utah with locations in seven states and additional operations across the western U.S., Intermountain Healthcare is a nonprofit system of 33 hospitals, 385 clinics, medical groups with some 3,800 employed physicians and advanced practice providers, a health plans division with more than one million members called SelectHealth, and other health services. Helping people live the healthiest lives possible, Intermountain is committed to improving community health and is widely recognized as a leader in transforming healthcare by using evidence-based best practices to consistently deliver high-quality outcomes at sustainable costs. For more information, see Intermountain Healthcare.

The post Two Year Extension Means Intermountain Downwinders Clinic Will Continue to Help Affected Patients first appeared on PRUnderground.

Press Contact
Name: Lance Madigan
Phone: 801.442.3217
Email: Contact Us
Website: https://intermountainhealthcare.org/

Original Press Release.

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