AARC AnAARC Rep. Mike Ross Introduces Respiratory Therapy Legislation into Congress
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Rep. Mike Ross Introduces Respiratory Therapy Legislation into Congress

 Dallas, TX (March 15, 2011)

Respiratory patients are one step closer to greater access to respiratory therapists in physicians' offices, thanks to the introduction of the Medicare Respiratory Therapy Initiative into Congress. 

The Initiative was introduced into the House of Representatives by Rep. Mike Ross of Arkansas on Mar. 8 just as 120 representatives from the American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC) were on Capitol Hill to educate their members of Congress on the legislation during the AARC's annual Lobby Day.

H.R. 941 and a companion bill expected to be introduced into the Senate soon, would recognize qualified respiratory therapists and the services they furnish by amending the Medicare statute to include a new and separate benefit category for respiratory therapy services under the Medicare Part B “medical and other health services” provision.

The benefit would allow certain highly qualified respiratory therapists to provide smoking cessation, asthma management, medication management, and other disease management services to Medicare patients in the physician's office without the physician having to be physically present in the office.

“The AARC believes this legislation could go a long way to reducing unnecessary readmissions for chronic respiratory disease patients by ensuring they have better access to the educational and disease management skills of qualified respiratory therapists in the outpatient setting,” says AARC President Karen Stewart, MS, RRT, FAARC. “With new provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act targeting readmissions for certain costly chronic conditions, this is a bill whose time has come.”

About the AARC

The American Association for Respiratory Care, headquartered in Dallas, is a professional association of respiratory therapists that focuses primarily on respiratory therapy education and research. The organization's goals are to ensure that respiratory patients receive safe and effective care from qualified professionals as well as supporting respiratory health care providers. The association continues to advocate on behalf of pulmonary patients for appropriate access to respiratory services provided by qualified professionals. Further information about the AARC and how to become a respiratory therapist are available at www.AARC.org

Contact: Beth Binkley