COPD Foundation Unites with Association for Respiratory Care (AARC) to Support the Medicare Respiratory Therapist Access Act

HEADLINES

The COPD Foundation announces today that it will participate in the American Association for Respiratory Care’s (AARC) Capitol Hill Day, March 12, 2013. Respiratory therapists, patient advocates from the COPD Foundation and other pulmonary patient organizations will lobby in support of the Medicare Respiratory Therapist Access Act. The legislation is designed to allow for increased patient accessibility to qualified respiratory therapists who can help manage respiratory disease, including Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), which will result in better access, better care, and lower patient care costs.
“It is critical that members of Congress and their staffs understand the value of respiratory therapists as experts in the delivery of chronic disease management services for Medicare beneficiaries,” says John Walsh, president and co-founder of the COPD Foundation. “This is especially critical for ensuring that pulmonary patients have access to proper care in the physician practice setting.”
In addition to supporting increased access to respiratory therapists, advocates will also be asking legislators to show their support for the 24 million Americans with COPD by joining the Congressional COPD Caucus. The Congressional COPD Caucus is a bipartisan, bicameral caucus co-chaired by Senators Mike Crapo and Dick Durbin and Representative John Lewis.  The COPD Caucus has a strong record in introducing, support, and passing legislation that improves the lives of those with COPD and improving our nation’s health. The commitment and enthusiasm of COPD Caucus members continue to drive COPD awareness and improve our nation’s response to COPD so it is vital to our national efforts that we continue to grow its membership.
In conjunction with this important advocacy day, the COPD Foundation will be hosting a Virtual Advocacy Week, March 11-17, 2013, in order to engage the entire COPD community and not just those well enough to travel. Emails, phone calls and letters from the national COPD community will reinforce the message that advocates will be delivering face- to-face with members of Congress.
Walsh adds, “This is a tremendous opportunity for the Foundation and its constituents to show support and, because it is so challenging for people living with COPD to participate in such events, demonstrate just how important this legislation is for treatment and quality of life.”
The mission of the COPD Foundation (www.COPDFoundation.org) is to develop and support programs, which improve the quality of life through research, education, early diagnosis, and enhanced therapy for persons whose lives are impacted by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The C.O.P.D. Information Line, 866-316-COPD (2673), is a toll-free number for information and referrals on COPD, offering callers access to peer-to-peer patients and caregiver associates. DRIVE4COPD (www.DRIVE4COPD.org) is a public awareness and education campaign of the COPD Foundation.

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