AARC Board Member Natalie Napolitano and former NFL Player Jerome (The Bus) Bettis visited Congressional offices and shared the message that respiratory therapists should be part of the telehealth bill.
AARC, along with former NFL player Jerome Bettis, joined with the Allergy and Asthma Network as they celebrated their 30th anniversary. Bettis went along on visits to Capitol Hill to advocate for the telehealth medicine bill that would include respiratory therapists as providers. The four-day celebration ended Friday night with RTs from the MD/DC society providing asthma screening at the Nationals baseball game.
The event began Tuesday with advocacy training for dozens of patients and providers from across the country. This preceded their visits on Wednesday to inform 112 elected officials about the needs of those with asthma, allergies, and anaphylaxis and how the Medicare Telehealth Parity Bill could help.
AARC Board Member Natalie Napolitano accompanied former NFL player Jerome Bettis on Congressional visits. Bettis is a long-time volunteer for The Network, as an asthma patient himself. Thomas Kallstrom, AARC executive director, represented respiratory therapists in a patient team roundtable discussion. Several other AARC PACT members were also in attendance for these visits.
AARC PACT volunteer Carolyn Williams joined in the effort to lobby for telehealth and asthma issues on Wednesday.
The other issues of discussion included:
- Request for house sponsorship and senate co-sponsorship of The School Asthma Management Plan Act (S 1065) that would provide federal grants to schools to develop and implement school asthma management plans based off of national guidelines to assist in diagnosis and early treatment of children with asthma, as well as provide education for all school staff and provide medications for children in the schools.
- Request increase in funding for CDC’s Healthy Homes and Lead Poisoning Prevention Program. This program provides effective in-home asthma intervention to reduce exposures that cause triggers for asthma including pest control, mold removal, water leak and structural repairs. The community health workers that are asthma educators also provide follow-up on education and ensure follow-up appointments are made with care providers and that the family has access to all services they need.
- Ask for piloting of a School-Based Electronic Health Record Access Program. This would allow school nurses to have access to the electronic health records of children with asthma in their schools so that they can become part of the child’s health care team and provide updated assessments at the school, particularly after an illness.
Tom Kallstrom leads a patient care discussion at The Network’s educational sessions.
Thursday revealed a full day of education for providers and patients that included updates on asthma, food allergies, and environmental allergies, as well as climate control, building a patient-centered collaborative care team, and patient centered education and communication. Thursday evening was an awards dinner that celebrated the individuals who built the organization over the 30 years.
Awards were given to the staff member, patient, provider and industry partner that contributed to the organization in the categories of Advocacy, Education, Research and Outreach.