AARC Collaboration on Federal Policies

Federal Policies Affecting RTs

Advocacy comes in many forms. The AARC government affairs team routinely collaborates with the pulmonary community, patient advocacy groups, and other organizations through joint sign-on letters on a variety of topics and aggressively advocates in all areas of federal public policy. As an advocate for our members, AARC does more than simply “watchdog” issues. Our goal is to support initiatives that help individuals with chronic respiratory disease, promote the respiratory care profession and highlight the value of respiratory therapists as essential health care professionals.

We interact with Congressional leaders and committees of jurisdiction, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Food and Drug Administration on a regular basis. The AARC is also a member of several important advocacy coalitions such as the ATS Oxygen Workgroup, ATS Pulmonary Workgroup, Telehealth/Remote Patient Monitoring Coalition, Allied Health Professionals Coalition, Tobacco Control Partners Coalition, and the National, Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Constituency Group who work together to impact the federal decision-making process.

This page provides letters and comments the AARC has developed separately as well as those we collaborated on with others.

AARC works with federal agencies to raise awareness of the role respiratory therapists play in treating and providing chronic disease management services to individuals with COPD and often requests and supports additional funding within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to improve services for this vulnerable population. AARC was also a key contributor in the development of the National COPD Action Plan.
2021
One of AARC’s strategic objectives as part of its Horizon Goals is to encourage and support diverse and underrepresented populations to enter the respiratory profession. As part of its 2021 Advocacy Campaign, AARC has supported the Allied Health Workforce Diversity Act. This legislation would provide stipends and scholarships to racial and ethnical minorities, individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds and those with disabilities to pursue a career in the fields of respiratory therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, and audiology.
2021
AARC routinely partners with national organizations on a variety of issues important to public health officials and health care professionals, including respiratory therapists. Since the public health emergency, we have had many new organizations approach us asking for sign-on to letters to Congressional leaders, the Administration, and other federal organizations.
2022
2021
AARC continually advocates for improved patient access to supplemental oxygen, especially liquid oxygen, and for ways to improve reimbursement. As part of the American Thoracic Society (ATS) Oxygen Workgroup, AARC and other pulmonary organizations and patient advocacy groups routinely communicate with federal policymakers to bring to their attention important issues impacting patient access to the appropriate type of oxygen equipment and oxygen systems and policies that affect their quality of life and health outcomes. We also lobby congressional leaders at the national level on the need for improvements and revisions to current statutory requirements.
2021
Raising awareness and improving utilization of pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) programs is a goal of the AARC in working with other pulmonary and patient groups as part of the ATS Pulmonary Workgroup. We know that only 3 – 4% of Medicare beneficiaries with COPD participate in pulmonary rehabilitation programs, although a recent study shows a 37% decrease in mortality in those who received pulmonary rehabilitation within 3 months of hospital discharge. We continue to work on finding ways to improve reimbursement for these programs and supported the creation of new CPT codes, effective January 1, 2022, that increase reimbursement in the physician office setting. We continue to encourage CMS to combine cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation services in the same Ambulatory Classification Group under the hospital outpatient prospective payment system that will improve payment in that setting.
2022
2021
In addition to advocating for respiratory therapists as telehealth practitioners in legislation introduced in Congress as part of AARC’s overall legislative agenda, AARC is a member of a Telehealth/Remote Patient Monitoring Coalition that includes over 90 stakeholders from various health care and technology sectors supporting Medicare expansion of telehealth services and remote patient monitoring (RPM). Based on an ever-growing body of evidence, the consensus among the group is wireless health products, mobile medical device data, and telehealth screening and preventive services have shown to reduce hospitalizations, including hospital readmissions, improve patient health outcomes, and encourage patient engagement and self-management, especially among those who suffer from chronic conditions. AARC often signs-on to joint coalition comments in response to ongoing federal initiatives to support the expansion of telehealth and RPM activities.
2022
2021
AARC is a member of the Tobacco Control Partners Coalition spearheaded by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the American Lung Association, and the American Cancer Society/Cancer Network. More than 50 organizations whose goal is to protect public health and reduce the incidence of smoking in the US come together quarterly to discuss federal legislative and regulatory issues of common interest. The partners tackle issues on a variety of smoking-related topics that have an overall impact in protecting children, youth, and adults from the consequences of tobacco use.
2022
2021

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