Saturday, December 13, 2008
Today’s Awards Ceremony honored the following 2008 top performers in the American Association for Respiratory Care, American Respiratory Care Foundation, and the National Board for Respiratory Care. Please join us in congratulating them on their well-deserved honors.
The following will be recognized in a separate awards ceremony to take place during the Annual Business Meeting Sunday morning. Congratulations to:
The awards ceremony this morning culminated with the presentation of the AARC’s highest honor, the Jimmy A. Young Medal, awarded each year to an individual who has exceeded all expectations for meritorious service to the AARC and advancement of the respiratory care profession. This year’s honoree is Robert Kacmarek, PhD, RRT, FAARC. For more than 40 years, Dr. Kacmarek has led the way in respiratory care education, management, and research. “He personally trained hundreds of students the right way and became what is surely one of the most prolific and best known authors of respiratory care articles and books over the past 4 decades,” says John Walton, MBA, MHA, RRT, FAARC of Chicago, IL.
The AARC awards ceremony was sponsored by a grant from Boehringer Ingelheim.
You’ve been reading all about the American Respiratory Care Foundation honors and awards that were presented to members of our profession during the Congress. Want to join them? Visit the Foundation web site to learn more about the ARCF awards programs and how you can apply to receive one of these special honors. Log on now to arcfoundation.org and get a headstart on receiving a special research award at next year’s AARC Congress in San Antonio.
The AARC Congress is a great way to earn continuing education credit. But did you know many vendors offer special educational sessions of their own as well? These special sessions usually cover topics directly related to the company’s products and services, and attendees who are in the market for these products find they are a great way to inform their purchasing decisions.
Respiratory therapists have always played a key role in sleep testing and treatment. Now, at the request of the AARC, the NBRC has developed a new exam to document their skills, and the first test is being administered this week at the Congress.
“Whether directly involved in diagnostic testing through services provided by respiratory therapy departments and free-standing sleep testing centers, or setting up CPAP and providing education to patients with obstructive sleep apnea at the bedside, we have traditionally served as the primary sleep practitioner,” says outgoing AARC President Toni Rodriguez, EdD, RRT. “By possessing the new sleep credential, respiratory therapists let the sleep community and regulatory authorities know we are equipped to effectively operate in this new, evolving sleep environment.”
NBRC President Sherry L. Barnhart, RRT-NPS, FAARC, agrees the test will help RTs confirm their value in this setting. “This is a unique specialty examination that goes above and beyond the general activities and focuses on tasks specific to sleep disorders treatment and therapeutic intervention, a growing sector of our industry.”
The exam was developed by the NBRC using a multi step examination development process, beginning with a viability study conducted in September of 2005 to determine the desirability and feasibility of developing such a program. A personnel survey followed to determine whether a sufficient number of practitioners exists to support such an examination. From there, the NBRC conducted a job analysis to define the test specifications and subsequently began development of test forms.
The Sleep Disorders Specialty Examination program is designed specifically for respiratory therapists with an NBRC respiratory care credential and experience or education in the field of sleep medicine. Eligible candidates will have already demonstrated minimal competence in some areas involved in diagnosing and treating patients with sleep disorders. The examination focuses on competencies that are unique to the diagnosis and treatment of patients with sleep disorders and does not include items about general respiratory care content.
In order to sit for the exam, a candidate must:
“The sleep community is rapidly concluding that obstructive sleep apnea is a chronic condition which, like COPD and asthma, requires a disease management plan,” says Dr. Rodriguez. “The issue of patient compliance, as well as sleep apnea as a co-morbidity, speaks to the need for practitioners engaged in practice to be experts not only in testing but also treatment and diagnosis.”
By obtaining the new credential, respiratory therapists who specialize in sleep medicine validate their expertise for both employers and their sleep colleagues, continues the AARC president. “This area of our scope of practice has matured into one worthy of advanced testing that goes beyond our routine credentialing exams.”
AARC President Timothy Myers presents a plaque to Jim Fenstermaker at the 2008 Sputum Bowl.
This year’s Sputum Bowl marks the end of an era, as long-time organizer Jim Fenstermaker, RRT, turns over the helm of the Bowl to Deb Hendrickson, RRT. In the following interview, Fenstermaker shares his memories of the Bowl and what it’s meant to him to oversee this event for the past 30 years.
Congress Gazette: You’ve been organizing the Sputum Bowl since the first one took place back in 1978. Why did you decide to get involved, and what’s kept you involved all these years?
Fenstermaker: I was fortunate to have been invited to join Ron Koncher, the contest’s inventor, and John Goodman in conducting the very first AARC Sputum Bowl competition in 1978. Having introduced the contest in California, I jumped at the opportunity to bring it to the AARC. It immediately exceeded our wildest dreams in terms of contestant and audience response. I come back each year 50% for the contestants—some of the brightest and most inspirational people I have had the pleasure of working with. I come back 50% for the audience—the most enthusiastic and supportive group of people one could ask for. I come back 50% for the chance to work alongside some of the smartest, hardest working, and most dedicated committee members in the AARC. (I realize there’s a math problem here, but it has been an election year!)
Congress Gazette: What are some of the biggest changes you’ve seen in the Bowl over your 30 years at the helm, and how have they made the Bowl better?
Fenstermaker: The Sputum Bowl has actually changed very little from its inception in terms of rules and format. It has, of course, grown dramatically from those first 4 teams back in 1978. Over 40 teams are competing in Anaheim. The most recent growth is attributable to the development of a student division. These teams bring a refreshing enthusiasm and excitement to the contest.
Congress Gazette: The Sputum Bowl continues to be the most popular social-entertainment-competition event sponsored by the AARC. When you first started the Bowl, did you ever imagine that it would become as popular as it has?
Fenstermaker: When we held that first contest, we were hoping a few hundred people would drop by to see this new thing call Sputum Bowl. Midway through that first evening, Ron, John, and I turned around to find over a thousand people fill the Hilton’s Ballroom to standing room only. It was the loudest, most wound-up audience I had ever seen. It was a college football crowd, an NCAA Final 4 crowd. We were excited beyond words and, frankly, scared to death. We could not screw up before this many people. The crowds keep coming, and they’re still wound up.
Congress Gazette: Why do you think it’s important to have an event like this for the profession, and how do you believe it’s benefited RTs over the years—both those who compete and those who just get caught up as spectators?
Fenstermaker: I am proudest of what the Sputum Bowl has contributed to the profession. Somewhere a patient’s care was better because of what a therapist learned preparing for or watching a Sputum Bowl contest. If that happened just once, it was all worth it.
This contest was invented as a method of preparing RT students for the NBRC Registry oral exams. We designed the contest at the AARC level specifically as a venue for staff therapists. At that time there were numerous activities for managers, educators, and students. This was a place where a team of 3 staff therapists could bring their clinical knowledge and experience to the stage and compete.
Many did, sometimes attending their first annual meeting. When they went home, they took with them some valuable lessons.
Congress Gazette: What advice do you have for the next Sputum Bowl organizer, and where do you see the event going in the future?
Fenstermaker: Deb Hendrickson will be chairing the Sputum Bowl starting in January. She has been an extremely successful team member from Wisconsin for many years. She and her teammates have won multiple sportsmanship awards. The last 3 years, Deb has been a part of our committee. She has experienced more as a Sputum Bowl competitor than I will ever know. She brings empathy for what the contestants are going through that is critical to running this contest. Deb is one of the brightest, most positive people I have ever met, and I know that Sputum Bowl will be in very good hands.
Congress Gazette: What will life be like for Jim Fenstermaker post-Sputum Bowl?
Fenstermaker: Boring. I will miss seeing nervous first-time contestants evolve in a mere 48 hours to confident and successful players. I will miss the looks on the faces of team members when they find out they are finalists and have made it to the big show. I will miss the anxiety and adrenaline rush of the last 60 seconds before a finals show—not knowing if we can actually pull this off for a 31st consecutive time. I will miss the growing roar of the crowd as the seconds tick down in a tight finals game and the teams shout out correct answer after correct answer in rapid-fire fashion.
I will miss each of the following people who have served on this committee over the past 31 years, operating a unique and successful event while overcoming my shortcomings: Ron Koncher, John Goodman, Keith Hopper, RRT, Tom Gable, CRT, RPFT, Wayne Lawson, MS, RRT, Jim Ciolek, Robert Fluck, RRT, Mike Mahlmeister, RRT, Karen Boudin, RRT-NPS, Bob Lamme, Deb Hendrickson, Bill Dubbs, MEd, RRT, FAARC, George Kazmarek, Bill Galvin, MSEd, RRT, CPFT, FAARC, Mimi Bartel, Colleen Schabaker, BA, RRT, FAARC, and our new member, Tom Hill, PhD, RRT. I will miss looking back at the judges’ faces and seeing Dr. Fred Helmholz and Dr. David Pierson. I will miss Kathy Blackmon and Annette Phillips of the AARC Office, whose hard work and organization have made it possible for me to continue doing this for so long. I will forever owe a debt of gratitude to each of these people for allowing me to share this amazing ride we call Sputum Bowl.
Every year at the Congress, the AARC honors a new group of respiratory professionals with the “FAARC”—Fellow of the American Association for Respiratory Care.
What does it take to receive the FAARC designation? The people in this group have demonstrated excellence in some area of the profession, ranging from management to education to research, and more. Nominations for 2009 FAARC designates will open up soon, so consider nominating a worthy respiratory care peer for this important group.
AARC Corporate Partners comprise best-in-class organizations interested in supporting the goals and work of the AARC. Through the program, they supply respiratory care providers with the information, insights, and innovative approaches to improve performance and advance the health of their patients.
Our 2008 Corporate Partners have made an immeasurable contribution to the Association and the profession this year, and we would like to thank them for their support: Cardinal Health, Sepracor, Masimo Corporation, Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc., Covidien, Monaghan Medical Corporation, Respironics Inc., Ikaria, Maquet Inc., VIASYS Healthcare, ResMed Corp, Draeger Medical Inc., Discovery Laboratories Inc., DEY L.P., and GE Healthcare.
To find out more about these companies and the products and services they offer, log on to our Online Buyer’s Guide for Respiratory Care.
Chronic lung disease patients celebrated a major victory last summer when Congress enacted legislation that made pulmonary rehabilitation services a distinct national Medicare benefit.
“Decades of work on behalf of many of the leaders in chest and rehabilitative medicine were instrumental to get this legislation onto the floor of Congress and subsequently passed,” says Brian W. Carlin, MD, FCCP, FAARC, medical director of pulmonary rehab at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, PA, and a member of the National Lung Health Education Program’s Board of Trustees. “These efforts were tremendously supported by thousands of AARC members and patients who actively lobbied for the legislation.”
Debbie Koehl, MS, RRT, AE-C, chair of the AARC’s Continuing Care & Rehabilitation Specialty Section, says pulmonary rehab RTs will continue to be actively involved as CMS writes the rules and regulations governing the policy. “Our section will have open communication with the AARC leadership and assist them in working with CMS to assure that we have great coverage for our patients, as well as represent respiratory therapists as the best providers of pulmonary rehabilitation.”
Are you hindered from providing services your patients need because your billing department tells you they can’t be reimbursed? Would you like to increase your knowledge about reimbursement while earning 3 hours of continuing education credit? If so, then the AARC Reimbursement College II is the course you need to take.
This course updates the information about the various payment systems provided in the AARC Reimbursement College released in 2006. It also explores myths and realities of reimbursement and discusses the essentials of contract negotiation for reimbursement of services.
Best of all, this 3-credit course is free for AARC members! This self-study course is available now.
This program is sponsored in part by an unrestricted educational grant from Ikaria.