If you have Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and are hospitalized, chances are you will be cared for by a respiratory therapist (RT). But what happens when you go home? Medicare does not recognize RTs as qualified caregivers in settings outside of hospitals, so when you go home, you are not likely to be able to receive care from a respiratory therapist. A new bill in Congess seeks to change that.
HR 2508, the Better Respiration through Expanded Access to Tele-Health Act (BREATHE Act), was officially introduced by Congressman Mike Thompson (D-CA) and 3 co-sponsors: T.J. Cox (D-CA); Mike Kelly (R-PA) and Buddy Carter (R-PA). HR 2508 is a 3-year pilot that covers qualified respiratory therapists as telehealth practitioners to furnish disease management services, such as self-management education and training, demonstration and evaluation of proper inhaler techniques, smoking cessation, and remote patient monitoring to Medicare beneficiaries with COPD. The purpose is to give the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) the tools it needs to demonstrate the value respiratory therapists bring to the health care system and to their patients with respect to improved health outcomes and lower costs.
The release of HR 2508 was preceded by an advocacy day on Capitol Hill that was coordinated by the American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC). In an effort to continue the momentum and gain more sponsors, the AARC is hosting a Virtual Lobby Campaign, and they need your help. AARC is asking everyone to support their by reaching out to your members of Congress for support. Please ask your US Representative to co-sponsor HR 2508, and your Senators to consider introducing a companion bill in the Senate.
Send your letters to Congress by clicking on the AARC's Take Action Page.