Tell Congress to Support RTs as Telehealth Practitioners
April 11–May 2, 2018
What is Telehealth?
Telehealth covers a variety of technologies and tactics to remotely deliver medical, health, and education services to patients. Telehealth is not a specific service, but a collection of ways to enhance patient care and education. More specifically, telehealth uses digital information and communication technologies, such as computers and mobile devices, to provide health care services for patients.
Who Uses Telehealth?
- Living in rural areas with long commutes, or
- Who have physical ailments making it difficult to visit a medical facility
What’s the Goal for AARC’s 2018 Virtual Lobby Campaign?
As we kick off our 2018 Virtual Lobby Campaign, we aim to gain support in Congress for a telehealth pilot focused solely on respiratory therapists (RT) as telehealth practitioners. This program will give us the chance to gather information on both the health impact and costs associated with these services. It will also provide a platform to demonstrate the expertise RTs bring to the health care system and their patients. We’ve already received positive feedback from key telehealth proponents about the pilot.
The pilot would allow qualified respiratory therapists as telehealth practitioners to provide self-management education and training, demonstration and evaluation of inhaler techniques, smoking cessation counseling and remote patient monitoring to Medicare beneficiaries diagnosed with COPD. Review our proposed specifications to learn more about the pilot.
How Did This Telehealth Pilot Come About?
Before focusing on this pilot, the AARC advocated for the three telehealth bills introduced in the House of Representatives that include respiratory therapists as telehealth practitioners in addition to other allied health professionals. They are: H.R. 2550, the Medicare Telehealth Parity Act; H.R. 2291, Helping Expand Telehealth to Rural America (HEART) Act; and H.R. 766, Telehealth for Individuals Residing in Public Housing. While we still support this legislation, we have heard large bills, such as the Parity Act, are unlikely to advance in Congress because of the significant costs associated with them. The committees of jurisdiction are instead focusing on telehealth provisions that are narrow in scope with a lower price tag. Therefore, AARC has shifted its strategy in response.
So How Can You Help?
Contact your House Member and Senators by email and phone asking them to support a telehealth pilot that studies the impact RTs can have on the health outcomes and costs associated with Medicare beneficiaries with COPD by clicking on the “Take Action” box above.
It’s important that Congress hear from RTs, patients, and other supporters of the respiratory profession. This is an exciting time as the recognition of respiratory therapists by Congressional leaders is gaining momentum. Don’t delay — get started now!
Live Virtual Lobby Campaign Activity Map*
*Only the 300 most recent advocates who have taken action, represented by pins, are shown on the map.