Respiratory Care 2009

The Gold Standard in Respiratory Care Meetings

Congress Gazette

55th International Respiratory Congress • December 5–8, 2009, San Antonio, Texas

Sunday, December 6

A moving tribute to a living legend

There was standing room only at the Awards Ceremony yesterday morning as Dr. Forrest Bird came to the podium to accept the Jimmy A. Young Medal and deliver the 2009 Keynote Address.

In the midst of it all he also received a moving tribute from more than 75 military respiratory therapists in uniform. Led by Scott (Woody) Woodcox, BS, RRT, the military contingent surprised him with a special military recognition award and presented him with American flags that had recently been flown in Afghanistan and Iraq.

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Visibly touched by this special honor, Dr. Bird thanked the military, noting that many people in the service had helped him along and that his extended education after his service in WWII was made possible by the GI Bill.

In his keynote address, Dr. Bird delighted attendees with several entertaining stories of how his father and the pre-WWII military helped him become the man and the respiratory care icon he is today. His father taught him a couple of very important things. First, if you want something, you have to earn it. Second, “Your true wealth is not in your bank, it’s in your brain.”

In appreciation for his outstanding work in respiratory care, Dr. Bird received several standing ovations, further cementing his legendary status among respiratory care professionals around the world.

AARC installs 2010 officials

The Association’s 2010 officials were installed during the AARC Annual Business Meeting this morning. Karen Stewart, MSc, RRT, FAARC, took over as president-elect and Frank Salvatore, MBA, RRT, FAARC, assumed his seat as director at large on the board. The new Specialty Section chairs are Debbie Koehl, MS, RRT, AE-C, Continuing Care/Rehab; Greg Spratt, RRT,CPFT, Home Care; Tiffany Mabe, RRT-NPS, CICP, Neonatal-Pediatrics; and Tony Stigall, MBA, RRT, RPSGT, Sleep.

Attendees also heard annual reports from AARC leaders, including the President’s Address and AARC 2010 Forecast, delivered by 2009-2010 President Timothy R. Myers, BS, RRT-NPS.

AARC Executive Reports

President’s Report
by Timothy Myers, BS, RRT-NPS

It seems like only weeks ago that I stood before you in Anaheim, CA, at the AARC’s International Respiratory Congress as your newly elected President. The time has passed by quickly, but it has been an eventful year with much accomplished by the Association and its members.


As a professional association, one of our primary goals is to increase our membership. Since December of 2008, our membership has climbed 7% and now stands at 49,500 strong. That membership rate is an all-time high and continues to increase gradually despite the difficult economy. I believe that this is a testament to the value of the AARC membership to the respiratory therapist.

International presence

This December, the AARC/American Respiratory Care Foundation celebrate the 20th year of the International Fellowship Program. This program has spanned over 120 fellows from more than 50 different countries. In addition, the International Council for Respiratory Care represents 20 countries and confirms the AARC’s continual commitment and focus on the globalization of our profession. Our international influence continues to grow through international speaking engagements, increasing international membership, translations of our educational resources and podcasts into foreign languages, a larger number of foreign submissions to RESPIRATORY CARE, and re-publication of our journal articles in foreign publications.

Access to respiratory therapists

Introduction of the Medicare Respiratory Therapy Initiative (HR 1077 and S 343) by Congressman Mike Ross and Senators Mike Crapo and Blanche Lincoln would revise the Medicare Program to permit qualified respiratory therapists to provide a variety of respiratory therapy services to Medicare patients without the physician having to physically be in the office. When this legislation is enacted, a new day will dawn on patient access to respiratory therapists.

We have also worked with vested parties, affiliated organizations, patient advocacy groups, and local, state, and federal governments to ensure and maintain the integrity and the scope of practice of respiratory therapists across the continuum of care when it pertains to the treatment and care of patients with cardiopulmonary disease.

Respiratory Care in 2015 and Beyond

To address this issue the AARC established a task force to “Envision the Respiratory Therapist of the Future.” The goal of this group was to identify the potential new roles and responsibilities of respiratory therapists in the year 2015 and beyond as well as to suggest the elements of education, training, and competency documentation that will be needed to assure safe and effective executions of those roles and responsibilities. A series consisting of three conferences was defined. The second conference of this series was conducted in 2009 and is currently under peer-review for publication sometime in 2010.

AARC Leadership Institute

The Leadership Institute will be the first AARC-sanctioned program designed to provide advanced training to ensure the future continuity of leadership, discovery, and education within the profession of respiratory care. Our vision for the Leadership Institute is that it will be the primary source for academic advancement in the areas of:

  • Biomedical research in pulmonary medicine
  • Management of cardiopulmonary departments across the continuum of care
  • Respiratory care programs in colleges, universities, and hospital staff development.

Access to quality continuing education

A key purpose of the chartered Inhalation Therapy Association in 1946 was “To advance the knowledge of Inhalation Therapy through institutes, lectures, and other means….” AARC’s major emphasis has been and will always remain the same—helping you grow and develop as a respiratory care professional through a multitude of educational programs and projects from traditional formats like the International Congress to Web-based versions of specialty education like the Asthma Prep Course and the COPD Educator Course.

Concluding remarks

In conclusion, I would like to thank the AARC membership for providing me the opportunity to serve as your 2009–2010 President. It has been a pleasure working with the state societies, the AARC Board of Directors, House of Delegates, and especially the AARC’s executive office staff.

A languishing economy and a changing landscape with health care reform present us with a large unknown and many challenges in 2010. But over its 6 decades of existence, the profession of respiratory care has always accepted today’s challenges as tomorrow’s opportunities. With your help we can accomplish great things for our patients and set the tone for those who will enter into the profession and be our future.

Secretary-Treasurer’s Report

by Karen J. Stewart, MSc, RRT, FAARC

2009 continues to demonstrate slow economic growth around the world, but there has been improvement since the global economic crisis of 2008. The AARC remains financially sound. The slow economic growth can be seen with a decrease in non-dues related revenue. While this presents a challenge to AARC in order to keep dues as one of the lowest among health professional organizations, we will continue to identify opportunities in order to assure growth going forward.

Our membership continues to increase. The AARC remains strong because of its members. That’s right, it’s because of you. It’s because with your help and support our membership rose above 49,000 members in October of this year, and with a strong fall we should be at greater than 50,000 members.

To meet the professional demands, the AARC continues to focus on education with the development of the online asthma preparation course and will continue to develop other attractive educational opportunities. Professor’s Rounds and webcasts continue to be popular offerings.

These programs are being offered because you want to be the best. You keep asking for quality products, peer-reviewed literature, and educational offerings by experts, and the AARC continues to meet your demands. That’s right, it’s because of you.

I want to thank you for the opportunity to serve you this year as your Secretary/Treasurer, and I would like to thank each and every one of you for making this year such a huge success. I look forward to working with you in 2010.

Zenith Awards go to top performing companies

The AARC Zenith Award—which recognizes respiratory care manufacturers, service organizations, and supply companies for their quality, accessibility, responsiveness, service, truth in advertising, and support of the profession—went to these 5 companies this year: CareFusion, Covidien, Draeger Medical, GE Healthcare, and Masimo Corporation. Company representatives accepted the awards during Saturday’s opening ceremonies.

RC Solutions Showcase adds value to the Exhibit Hall

The Exhibit Hall is always THE place to see the latest in respiratory technology, but folks at this year’s meeting are getting even more out of the experience, thanks to the Association’s new RC Solutions Showcase. This dedicate space in the Hall is featuring short presentations by manufacturers, with time allotted for questions from the audience. The idea is to give attendees even more opportunities to learn what they need to know to make informed purchasing decisions for their organizations.

MSU looks forward to another great year

AARC volunteers tested more than 6,000 people at public events across the country this year through the COPD Foundation’s Mobile Spirometry Unit, and next year promises to be even more successful for this ongoing public health initiative.

"We now have 4 MSUs—3 that can be shipped in large containers, and the trailer everyone is familiar with," says Steve Nelson, MS, RRT, FAARC, AARC associate executive director of IT operations. "We have also validated our new tiered approach to testing."

Under the new approach, people are asked 6 yes/no questions about COPD risk factors. If they have 2 or more positive responses, they perform peak flow on an electronic peak flow device, and anyone with a PEF less than 70% predicted goes on to simple spirometry. "We have reduced the number of people needing spirometry to around 5%, which also significantly reduces the number of false-positive tests common to screening spirometry events," says Nelson.

AARC counts vents for HHS and our nation

Late last summer the Department of Health and Human Services turned to the AARC to conduct a massive survey to determine how many, and what types, of ventilators are currently in the nation’s hospitals. We marshaled the forces of our membership and state societies and ended up with more than a 75% response rate.

Many states came in at 100%, and more than 20 obtained response rates above 90%. This response level is unheard of, especially for a survey conducted throughout our entire country and targeting more than 5,000 hospitals. The product of this survey will, no doubt, aid in planning related to the use and deployment of ventilators in a wide range of mass casualty emergencies.

You can learn more about this ground-breaking survey in an upcoming AARC webcast by Lewis Rubinson, MD, PhD. Stay tuned to the AARC web site for more information.

Thanks to ARCF reviewers!

The American Respiratory Care Foundation (ARCF) presents a host of awards each year during the Awards Ceremony at the AARC Congress, but none of them would be possible without the dedicated folks who help review all of the applications that come in each year. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank our 2009 reviewers:

  • Tom Blackson, RRT
  • Teresa A. Volsko, MHHS, RRT, FAARC
  • Brian Parker, MPH, RRT-NPS, CPFT
  • Kelli Chronister, RRT-NPS, CPFT
  • Jeffery E Ludy, EdD, RRT
  • Randy De Kler, MS, RRT
  • Steve Wehrman, RRT, RPFT, AE-C
  • Dennis Wissing, PhD, RRT, CPFT, AE-C, FAARC
  • Pat Munzer, DHSc, RRT
  • John Rutkowski, MPA, MBA, RRT, FACHE
  • Linda Van Scoder, EdD, RRT, FAARC
  • Ray Sibberson, MS, RRT, FAARC
  • Shawna Strickland, MEd, RRT-NPS, AE-C
  • Robert R. Fluck, Jr., MS, RRT, FAARC
  • Lee Crawley, BSRC, RRT-NPS, EMT
  • Douglas E. Masini, EdD, RPFT, RRT-NPS, AE-C, FAARC
  • Robert Tralongo, RRT-NPS, CPFT, AE-C
  • LaVerne Yousey, RRT
  • Julianne S. Perretta MSEd, RRT-NPS
  • Erna L. Boone, MEd, RRT
  • Jeff Ward, MEd, RRT, FAARC
  • Mary Lou Guy, MBA, RRT, CHT
  • Kerry George, MEd, RRT, FAARC

Copyright © 2009 American Association for Respiratory Care.