Lobbying for Better Health Care

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Illinois Respiratory Therapists Lobby for Better Health Care in Washington, D.C.

Lisa Zaenger, AAS, RRT, RCP, DCCS, AARC President-Elect Dana Evans, MHA, RRT, RRT-NPS, FACHE, FAARC, and Lexie Caraway, MBA, RRT, RRT-ACCS, RRT-NPS, AE-C recently traveled to Washington, D.C. with about 100 other respiratory therapists and patients to request members of Congress to support the Medicare Act.

To help fix the problems created by the Medicare Competitive Bidding Program, the AARC has been working with a comprehensive coalition of oxygen stakeholders that includes providers, patients, and the durable medical equipment industry.

Of great importance to the respiratory care profession, the SOAR Act will establish a service benefit to pay respiratory therapists to see oxygen patients outside the care facility and in their home, which has never existed before under the durable medical equipment benefit. They asked members of Congress to co-sponsor this legislation to ensure anyone who requires supplemental oxygen can access the most appropriate type of oxygen equipment for their needs. Congress must prioritize patients and solve this problem. The legislation is based on four pillars of reform:

  1. Ensure supplemental oxygen is patient-centric.
  2. Ensure access to liquid oxygen for patients for whom it is medically necessary.
  3. Create a statutory service element to provide adequate reimbursement for respiratory therapists to ensure patients have access to their expertise.
  4. To ensure predictable and adequate reimbursement and to protect against fraud and abuse, establish national standardized documentation requirements that rely upon a template rather than prescriber medical records to support claims for supplemental oxygen suppliers.

Representative Bost IL-12, was presented a Certificate of Appreciation for Co-Sponsoring H.R. 1406, which will improve patients’ access to expanded telehealth services and in particular to the unique skills of respiratory therapists who are trained experts in the care of patients’ chronic respiratory diseases.

Lisa and Lexie are members of the Political Advocacy Contact Team (PACT), a nationwide group of respiratory therapists and patients organized by the American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC) and the Illinois Society for Respiratory Care to spearhead grassroots level advocacy efforts.