HR 2619 would allow qualified respiratory therapists to provide education and instruction in disease self-management for Medicare patients diagnosed with certain chronic lung diseases. The legislation will allow physicians to utilize the respiratory therapists’ skill set to educate Medicare beneficiaries on how to recognize and reduce symptoms and triggers of their disease to prevent exacerbations that can lead to costly inpatient acute care.
Congressman John Lewis (D-GA) has introduced the AARC-backed Medicare Respiratory Therapist Access Act in the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill, identified as HR 2619, will permit qualified respiratory therapists to provide self-management services to Medicare patients in physician’s offices.
“We have listened to the feedback from previous years, and are positioned to move the profession forward in an era of increasing healthcare needs,” said AARC Federal Government Affairs Chair Frank Salvatore. “We need your letters going to your U.S. Representatives, asking them to co-sponsor HR 2619.”
The bill has not yet been introduced in the Senate, but has backing there from a number of members who are also involved with the Congressional COPD Caucus. “We’re at a tipping point,” said Cheryl West, AARC Director of Government Affairs. She explained that letters help garner attention and they should be sent now to:
- Your member of the House of Representatives asking for their co-sponsorship of HR 2619.
- Your 2 Senators, asking them to support the introduction of a companion bill in the Senate.
AARC has an easy-to-use letter system online 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. Click here to find the page. A Respiratory Therapists Alert with an update on the bill is at the top of the page; scroll down to find the form to send the letter.