Advocacy Update: Summer Lobby Blast Kicks Off Monday

 Published: August 14, 2019

By: Heather Willden


us capitol building with red background

Heads up! Our summer lobby campaign kicks off August 19. Through the efforts of this three-day campaign blast, we hope to:

  • Gain additional House co-sponsors for H.R. 2508 (the BREATHE Act).
  • Connect with key senators who can help get our pilot into any year-end must-pass legislation.

Go To AARC Advocacy
We want to take advantage of the remaining weeks that the House of Representatives is on recess to let them know that 16 national organizations support H.R. 2508, the BREATHE Act, officially known as the Better Respiration through Expanding Access to Tele-Health Act.

About the bill

The bill, which is a three-year pilot, covers respiratory therapists as telehealth practitioners to provide disease management services to Medicare beneficiaries with COPD. It also gives Medicare the tools it needs to evaluate the value respiratory therapists bring to the health care system.

On June 12, 2019, all members of the House of Representatives received a letter from national patient advocacy and physician groups urging them to co-sponsor H.R. 2508. As of August 12, there were 39 co-sponsors, including the original three who introduced the bipartisan bill with Cong. Mike Thompson in early May. That’s a great number for the relatively short period of time since the bill was introduced, but we need to get more co-sponsors.

Get ready for the blast

On Monday, August 19, we’ll kick off our three-day lobby blast. We want to send as many messages as possible to our congressional leaders during this quick campaign.

You’ll find new messages on our TAKE ACTION page that let your representatives know we have national organizations supporting the bill. If your representative has already co-sponsored the bill, it is still very important to TAKE ACTION because when you enter your information it will bring up a Thank You message to send rather than a message asking for support.

Away from the computer? Let your smartphone do the work! Text the word BREATHE to 528-86 and it will bring up a link to AARC’s TAKE ACTION Page and the message center as though you had accessed it from our website.

Always an advocate

Advocating for the respiratory therapy profession doesn’t end with this campaign. Even if are not able to participate during this summer blast, still go to the AARC TAKE ACTION page when you can and let your voice be heard.

Connecting with the Senate

Rather than develop a standalone Senate companion bill, our lobbyists have learned that the Senate is more inclined to include language of the BREATHE Act into a reintroduction of the CONNECT for Health Act, a telehealth bill introduced by both the House and Senate last year.

A special targeted campaign will be underway in 13 states with 14 key Senators. These Senators include those who:

  • Expressed interest in the BREATHE Act during our Hill day in April,
  • Are part of the Congressional Telehealth Working Group, or
  • Are key Senators developing the CONNECT 2.0 package.

The states are DE, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL, MD, MS, OH, OR, PA, SD, and VA.

If you are a respiratory therapist, RT student or supporter of the respiratory care profession in these states, when you send in your message to the House, it will also bring up a message to the designated Senator. Those of you who do not live in these 13 states will not see a message to your Senator when you log in.

It’s easy and it’s quick

So, get ready for Monday, August 19 and TAKE ACTION to show your support for the respiratory profession.

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.

Heading to the New Era

Elevate | Engage | Advocate | Educate

Copyright © 2024 American Association for Respiratory Care
9425 N. MacArthur Blvd, Suite 100, Irving, TX 75063-4706
(972) 243-2272  |