AARC Virtual Lobby Campaign
H.R. 2508, the Better Respiration through Expanding Access to Tele-Health Act, (the BREATHE Act)
As a follow-up up to a very successful Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill April 9, 2019, and our previous Virtual Lobby Campaign in which we set new records both in the number of advocates who participated and the number of messages sent to the Hill, we are excited to advocate for our bill which has now been officially introduced into Congress. And that means a new Virtual Lobby Campaign.
What do we want Congress to do?
- Ask House members to Co-Sponsor the BREATHE Act
- Ask Senators to Introduce Senate Companion Legislation
We are very pleased to have Representative Mike Thompson (D/CA) introduce the BREATHE Act, H.R. 2508, on May 2, 2019, along with Representatives T. J. Cox, (D/CA), Mike Kelly (R/PA) and Buddy Carter (R/GA).
To recap, this legislation is a 3-year pilot that allows respiratory therapists to furnish disease management services, such as self-management education and training, demonstration/evaluation of proper inhaler techniques, smoking cessation and remote patient monitoring to Medicare beneficiaries with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Its purpose is to demonstrate the value RTs bring to the health care system and their patients through improved health outcomes and lower costs and to identify RTs as telehealth practitioners in the Medicare statute.
So How Can You Help?
Take action now by contacting your Congressional leaders. It’s important that Congress hear from RTs, RT students, patients, physicians and other supporters of the respiratory profession, including caregivers. We have drafted messages for you to send, but we encourage you to personalize them because a personalized message has the most impact.
This is an exciting time as the recognition of respiratory therapists by Congressional leaders is gaining momentum. Don’t delay — get started now!
Frequently Asked Questions about H.R. 2508, the BREATHE Act
Why is the BREATHE Act limited to only disease management services for Medicare beneficiaries with COPD?
We have limited the scope in order to reduce the chances of a high cost estimate from the Congressional Budget Office whose job is to determine costs to the Medicare program.
Why are the qualifications of the RT limited to the RRT credential and a BS degree in a biologic or health science?
Non-physician health professionals recognized by the Medicare statute as qualified telehealth practitioners such as physician assistants, nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, and others must meet education, training and other requirements in a field related to the services they provide and hold advanced degrees. To demonstrate the value respiratory therapists bring to the health care system, we need to be on a level playing field. The language in the bill is consistent with the RT qualification standards in our previous legislation initiatives and it supports the Association’s goal of moving the profession forward in order to compete in today’s market.
I’m a respiratory therapist who doesn’t meet the qualification criteria. Why should I work and lobby for this initiative?
With more and more services provided in the outpatient setting, it expands the profession and gives visibility to the RT that does not exist under the current law. That you may not hold the credentials required to qualify under the BREAHTE Act does not mean you are left out. You can still work in the physician’s office and furnish services that fall under the general rules of the “incident to” benefit; that is, services that may otherwise be furnished by the physician or other nonphysician practitioner but are performed by the RT. Just because our bill focuses on telehealth does not mean that you cannot furnish the same services face-to-face when the patient comes into the physician’s office or clinic.
As covered telehealth providers, will respiratory therapists be able to bill Medicare directly for the telehealth services they furnish?
No, the Act does not change current payment policies or procedures in how respiratory therapists are reimbursed. Only the physician or the facility can bill Medicare directly for telehealth services furnished by respiratory therapists.
Virtual Lobby Campaign Activity
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