Our second #AARCLobby TAKE ACTION campaign for 2020 kicks off Monday, Mar. 9 and runs through Friday, Mar. 13. Now is the time to contact your elected officials and ask for co-sponsorship of the SOS Act and the Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act.
Protecting Pulmonary Rehab
Medicare law prohibits hospitals from billing at the hospital outpatient rate in certain off-campus provider-based departments based on their location (i.e., greater than 250 yards from the main campus). This action has created unintended consequences for cardiac and pulmonary rehab programs that wish to expand access to services or create a new service in an off-campus department because the hospital would be paid a lower rate. H.R. 4838, the Sustaining Outpatient Services (SOS) Act, would establish a financial threshold that would exempt new and expanding cardiac and pulmonary rehab services from drastic reimbursement reductions based solely on location.
Protecting American Lungs and Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic
Stopping the youth tobacco epidemic is an important step to preventing chronic respiratory disease. Respiratory therapists know all too well the devastating effects of tobacco use and routinely provide smoking cessation counseling to help those with respiratory conditions as a result of tobacco use “kick the habit.” On Friday, February 28, the House took historic action and passed H.R. 2339, Protecting American Lungs and Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act in a floor vote. You will note that the name of the bill has changed due to the addition of a bill that includes a tax on nicotine. The Senate, however, has a companion bill, S. 3174, that includes a wide range of steps similar to the House version to protect children from tobacco and reduce current tobacco-related health disparities. Key provisions include prohibiting flavored tobacco products that appeal to kids, prohibiting online sales of tobacco products and restricting advertising of tobacco products that appeal to individuals under age 21. Despite the House’s recent action on H.R. 2339, the Senate appears unlikely to consider the House-passed version. Ultimately, the House and Senate will have to pass identical legislation for it to become law. Differences in policy can be addressed in conference negotiations, making it important to encourage the Senate to take important action on this issue.
TAKE ACTION on Monday
Take part in the AARC’s Advocacy Campaign starting on Monday by sharing your thoughts on these topics with your elected officials.