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U.S. Congress Takes Up AARC Initiative

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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. Go to AARC Capitol Connection to start the letter writing process.

Finally, consider meeting with your member of Congress during the August District Work Period when your member is not in DC but carrying out his or her Congressional duties back home. You might also consider attending any public events or town hall meetings which will also provide you with brief opportunities to ask for the Member’s support of HR 2619. You can find contact information by visiting the Member’s website and the DC office should have the schedule of the Member for public events as well as setting up any face to face meetings.

To read more about the bill, download the Frequently Asked Questions.