We have received numerous questions from our members as to why AARC did not sign on to the joint statement recently highlighted in national news outlets calling for health care and long-term care employers to require their employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Unfortunately, the sign-on request did not originate through the normal channels in which AARC would have been contacted nor was the statement developed by a national health organization. Rather, it was organized by Ezekiel J. Emanuel, MD, PhD, who we understand is a former White House adviser in the Obama administration and vice provost for global initiatives and co-director of the Healthcare Transformation Institute at Perelman School of Medicine and the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. He apparently reached out to several leading health organizations for support in hopes of forming a coalition of organizations across a wide spectrum of health care groups through their networks.
We have been able to track down contacts responsible for its distribution and with President Tooley’s outreach to the Board of Directors for approval, we will have AARC added to the list of co-signers. The joint statement that includes the AARC will appear within a day or two and will be available in future publications.
Since the pandemic began, AARC has been approached by numerous organizations that we did not have contact with or a relationship with prior to the public health emergency. We have joined others in supporting diverse topics such as:
- Asking Congress to include significant, long-term investment in the public health infrastructure and workforce to protect against emerging threats such as surging level of chronic disease, infectious disease, natural disasters, and environmental hazards.
- Stressing to the Administration the importance of a successful recovery from the COVID-19 crises based on adherence to sound scientific and public health guidance from experts.
- Supporting legislation to address patient and provider concerns about the impact of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) demonstrations on access to care and the quality of care.
- Signing a pledge to reject any funding from, or any form of, partnership with the tobacco and vaping industry.
- Becoming a partner in the COVID-19 Vaccine Education and Equity Project that aims to promote equity and trust in vaccines and encourages RTs to provide stories about their experiences in getting vaccinated and why it is important as part of their “Count Me In” campaign.
- Encouraging Congress to make permanent post-COVID 19 those telehealth waivers that will expire at the end of the public health emergency.
We will continue to advocate for respiratory therapists, the profession and its patients in all public venues and hope that our visibility will continue to grow as additional groups reach out to us for support of like-minded topics and issues.
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