The AARC is asking House and Senate leaders to support pilot legislation that allows respiratory therapists (RTs) as telehealth practitioners to deliver disease management services to Medicare beneficiaries with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
Respiratory therapists are currently not among the healthcare professionals who can furnish telehealth services. Last summer the AARC advocated for co-sponsorship of three bills that expand Medicare coverage to include RTs as well as other health professionals as telehealth practitioners. The bills are H.R. 2550, the Medicare Telehealth Parity Act, H.R. 2291, Helping Expand Access to Rural Telemedicine (HEART) Act, and H.R. 766, Telehealth for Individuals residing in Public Housing. While they still support these bills, this year they have the opportunity to gain support for new telehealth pilot legislation that focuses solely on RTs as telehealth practitioners. If successful, the pilot can help demonstrate the value that RTs bring to the healthcare system through better health, better care and lower costs for their patients.
How you can help
The AARC is asking the respiratory profession and the pulmonary patient community to use the AARC’s Phone2Action to contact their Congressional leaders to share their message. They are urging others who recognize the importance of the profession to voice their support to their own members. Draft messages you can use via email, text, or tweet are available here; however, personalizing the messages with your experiences will have the most impact. Your efforts will ultimately help the Medicare beneficiaries with pulmonary disease gain greater access to RTs and the services they provide.