The BREATHE Act Introduced into Congress

 Published: May 8, 2019

By: Heather Willden

image of U.S. capitol with medical professionals in foreground

Lobby Campaign Starts on the 14th

The AARC Political Advocacy Contact Team (PACT) traveled to Washington, DC, last month to ask their members of Congress to support legislation aimed at validating the role RTs can play in telehealth.

Those efforts paid off big time on May 2, as Rep. Mike Thompson and three co-sponsors officially introduced the BREATHE Act into Congress. The bill – officially known as the Better Respiration through Expanding Access to Tele-Health Act — calls for a three-year pilot project that would test the value of using RTs to provide health education and other services via telehealth to patients with COPD.

AARC associate executive director of government affairs, Anne Marie Hummel, applauded the efforts of everyone who had a part in the process – including members around the country who wrote to their members of Congress in support of the legislation during the Virtual Lobby Week that took place prior to the PACT Lobby Day on April 9.

“We had an amazing day on the Hill. The energy and excitement from our dedicated PACT representatives was clearly evident, with 326 meetings scheduled,” she said. ”Congratulations to all who have made it happen!”

Help spread the word! The AARC Social Media Toolkit has the resources you need to share this news on Facebook and Twitter.

The bill comes at a crucial time for RTs, as health care increasingly pivots to a model that embraces the possibilities inherent in telehealth. According to the American Hospital Association (AHA), the technology already exists to allow for the safe and effective delivery of remote services, but outdated laws and policies are hindering their full implementation.

The AHA recently offered a number of recommendations to the House and Senate members of the Congressional Telehealth Caucus aimed at speeding up the availability, including expanding Medicare coverage for telehealth services, removing legal and regulatory barriers that currently curtail their use, and increasing federal research regarding the cost-benefits of telehealth and adding flexibility in new payment models.

If passed by Congress, the BREATHE Act would play an important role in ensuring RTs are not left behind as providers embark on this new frontier in health care, and the AARC is urging all of its members to continue their support for the legislation.

H.R. 2508 Virtual Lobby Campaign Reboot

The latest virtual lobby campaign kicked off Tuesday, May 14. Now is the time to message your members of Congress and ask for their support of H.R. 2508, the BREATHE Act. Here’s how you can take action.

Twitter Blast Event on May 20

On Monday, May 20 we encourage advocates to send messages primarily through Twitter. Please note you must have an active Twitter account to do this. Our goal is to have a storm of tweets to Congressional leaders that day so RT voices are heard loud and clear. Help us get our message out about H.R. 2508 — the Better Respiration through Expanding Access to TeleHEalth Act also known as the BREATHE Act.

Sign-Up for Notifications and Updates

Would you like to receive text reminders or email updates for AARC Lobby Campaign activity? Sign-up one using one of the methods below:

  • Text “BREATHE” to 52886. Message and Data Rates May Apply. Reply “STOP” to opt out, “HELP” for help.
  • Sign-up with the following link:

Virtual Lobby Campaign runs May 14-23.

Map data shows the 300 most recent messages sent to elected officials.

Email with questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you.

Heather Willden

Heather Willden is the Director of Governance and Strategic Initiatives for the AARC where she works with state affiliates as the HOD liaison. She also manages DEI efforts and strategic initiatives. Connect with her about these topics by email, AARConnect or LinkedIn. When she's not working, you can find her podcasting with her husband, exploring new hiking trails, photographing, and spending time with her family.

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