Annual Respiratory Care Fly-In

Banner graphic for the AARC 2022 advocacy campaign
Formally known as Advocacy Week or PACT Week, the Annual Respiratory Care Fly-In is a time for respiratory therapists to come together in Washington, D.C. to fight for their patients and profession. This year’s Fly-In is Sept. 26–27, 2023.

The AARC PACT team will be meeting to discuss our current advocacy initiatives. The week will culminate with the annual Hill Day, which brings respiratory therapy into the spotlight on Capitol Hill through meetings with legislators and/or their staff. Here’s how you can participate:

Improve Patient Access to Pulmonary Rehabilitation and to Respiratory Therapists

The American Association for Respiratory Care is a strong advocate for respiratory therapists, the respiratory care profession, and patients who suffer from chronic respiratory disease.

For our 2023 advocacy campaign, the AARC supports legislation that improves patient access to pulmonary rehabilitation services and to respiratory therapists who are experts in providing education and exercise that are essential components of the program. In addition to individuals diagnosed with moderate, severe, and very severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the Medicare program has extended coverage of pulmonary rehabilitation services to include individuals who have had confirmed or suspected COVID-19 and experience persistent symptoms that include respiratory dysfunction for a least 4 weeks. Now, more than ever, it is important that we improve access and utilization of these vital programs.

Our 2023 advocacy campaign focuses on H.R. 1406. Additional information is provided in our Overview.

The AARC Social Media Toolkit has the resources you need to spread the word on Facebook and Twitter.

Will you be joining us in D.C.? Then learn more about meeting with a representative this fall.

We need permanent telehealth/virtual pulmonary rehabilitation for Medicare beneficiaries (H.R. 1406)

Request: Co-Sponsor of HR 1406

Without additional authority from Congress, CMS has no flexibility to permit permanent continuation of virtual cardiac and pulmonary rehab services to Medicare beneficiaries in their homes once the Public Health Emergency ended on May 11, 2023. The waivers under the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) allow cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation services to be furnished to patients in their homes as virtual services by physicians or practitioners in a hospital outpatient department through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Hospital Without Walls initiative.

Under those waivers, respiratory therapists can furnish virtual pulmonary rehab services when an eligible practitioner bills for the service. Representatives John Joyce (R-PA) and Scott Peters (D-CA) introduced legislation called “the Sustainable Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Services in the Home Act (H.R. 1406)”, which would permanently allow patients to receive in-home cardiac and pulmonary rehab services under Medicare. We need your help to gain co-sponsors for this legislation. Please send this action alert to your representatives to request cosponsors for this important legislation, which will ensure that patients continue to have access to in-home cardiac and pulmonary rehab services even after the PHE ended on May 11, 2023.

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Support Medicare Oxygen Payment Reform—Support a Legislative Fix

Medicare beneficiaries who require supplemental oxygen can’t access oxygen systems appropriate for their medical needs. This is even worse for those who require liquid oxygen. To help fix this issue, the AARC has been working with a comprehensive coalition of oxygen stakeholders that includes, providers, patients, and the durable medical equipment industry. We have met with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to ask for oxygen reform through regulatory change. And although CMS may have authority to do so they have indicated that the solution must come from Congress.

We ask you to join us in asking Congress to pass legislation to ensure anyone who requires supplemental oxygen can access the most appropriate type of oxygen equipment for their needs. Congress must prioritize patients and solve this problem.

Take action today and urge Congress to pass legislation addressing the challenges associated with supplemental oxygen.

Our coalition has based legislative reform on 4 Pillars

  1. Ensure supplemental oxygen is patient-centric.
  2. Ensure access to liquid oxygen for patients for whom it is medically necessary.
  3. Create a statutory service element to provide adequate reimbursement for respiratory therapists to ensure patients have access to their expertise.
  4. To ensure predictable and adequate reimbursement and to protect against fraud and abuse, establish national standardized documentation requirements that rely upon a template rather than prescriber medical records to support claims for supplemental oxygen suppliers.

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