On behalf of our profession, the AARC has successfully influenced the introduction of HR 2619 – The Medicare Respiratory Therapist Access Act in the U.S. House of Representatives. It would permit qualified respiratory therapists to provide self-management services to Medicare patients in physician offices. The bill also has backing in the Senate.
The AARC’s Government Affairs page clarifies, “The legislation would amend Medicare Part B to add coverage of pulmonary self-management education and training services when furnished by qualified respiratory therapists in the physician practice setting to Medicare patients who have been diagnosed with COPD, asthma, pulmonary hypertension, pulmonary fibrosis and cystic fibrosis. If enacted, this new benefit will not only enhance patient access to respiratory therapists, it will also provide Medicare pulmonary patients with the tools they need to lead healthier lives through self-management of their disease.”
While an incremental step, successful passage of this legislation would strategically position the Respiratory Therapist to ensure that patients recently discharged from the acute care setting receive the proper disease specific education in their follow-up visit with their PCP. This has been identified as a key element in preventing avoidable readmission and reducing cost and penalties!
There is an easy-to-use letter system online at AARC.com that allows you to quickly edit a suggested message in order to personalize it a bit, and then to easily send those emails on to your members of Congress.
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