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AARC Continues to Work with Key Stakeholders on PR Regulations

August 12, 2009

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Last summer, Congress enacted the Medicare outpatient cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation benefit, with the date of implementation scheduled for January 1, 2010.

The new law was the result of years of work on the part of patient organizations, such as Alpha One and the COPD Coalition, and pulmonary stakeholders, including the AARC, American Thoracic Society (ATS), American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP), American Association for Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation  (AACVPR), and National Association for Medical Direction of Respiratory Care (NAMDRC).

Getting the law enacted, however, was only the first hurdle. The next step is to ensure the regulations advanced by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) governing coverage and reimbursement for the benefit are appropriate to meet the needs of patients.

Unfortunately, the proposed regulations are not acceptable as written to any of the pulmonary rehab stakeholders. On August 4, the AARC, ATS, ACCP, AACVPR, and NAMDRC met with CMS staff to discuss these concerns.

The meeting opened the door to further discussions, and now the five organizations will be submitting joint comments to CMS on what must change and why the changes need to be made, along with a list of potential revisions and the documentation and evidence to support those revisions.

The AARC believes submitting a single set of comments from all these organizations—in other words, speaking in one voice—will carry the most weight with CMS.

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