Respiratory Fly-In Proves Successful

 Published: October 12, 2023

By: Mara Gillispie


image of us captiol building with flag in foreground

The AARC Annual Respiratory Fly-In took place on September 27th with 93 volunteers attending over 200 meetings on Capitol Hill in both the House and the Senate.  The focus of the legislative “asks” were reviewed the previous day at our annual training.  Respiratory Therapists asked for Medicare Payment Reform for Oxygen, a piece of legislation soon to be introduced in the senate by Bill Cassidy (R-LA).  This legislation hopes to help patients receive liquid oxygen and have access to respiratory therapists through a new payment in the Medicare system.  The AARC also advocated for coverage of virtual pulmonary rehab, and highlighted bill number HR 1406, the Sustainable Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Services in the Home Act.  A companion bill is anticipated to be introduced shortly in the Senate.

Fly-in participants met at a dinner following the meetings on Capitol Hill to recap the day.  All participants felt they received a warm welcome from the offices they visited with and got a lot of technical questions which require follow-up.  The AARC is helping with the follow-up and hopes that all of the participants will reach out to the offices they met with to reaffirm the requests that were made and continue the relationships that we made.  Over half the respiratory therapists who volunteered to come to Washington this year were “first-timers” who can’t wait to return next year.

The AARC Annual Fly-in is a special collaboration between the AARC and the state affiliates with costs for the meeting shared by both.  AARC Leadership including President Carl Hinkson, Executive Director Dan Garrett and Government Affairs Chair Mike Madison were amongst the AARC leadership who attended meetings with respiratory therapists from around the country.  This is the first time that AARC has held an in person Fly-in since 2019 and it was exciting that almost every state was represented this year.  The timing of the Fly-in just missed a threatened government shutdown with heated debates of the amount of federal spending and foreign aide.  Many expressed surprise they were able to capture the attention of those they met with and didn’t get drawn into the debate over spending and were able to advocate for the profession and patients.

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

Mara Gillispie

Mara Gillispie is the Content Manager for the AARC where she creates engaging content for the association via the AARC website, newsletters, and videos. Connect with her about potential stories by email, website, or LinkedIn. When she’s not working, you can find her hanging out with her dog Kya, playing softball or volleyball, watching friends, and attending Dallas sports events.

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