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This year our AARC PACT Trip to Washington DC is May 4-5, 2020. We need all our RT colleagues to send their emails to support these bills as well as to spread the word to RT’s, RT Students, Physicians and other Supporters so they can send their emails as well. Next AARC Virtual Lobby Campaigns are March 9-March 13 and April 27-May 5, 2020.
Here is a synopsis of these important issues – go to www.aarc.org for more information.
1. CONNECT (Creating Opportunities Now for Necessary and Effective Care Technologies) ACT – HR 4932/S 2741: This bill promotes higher quality care and increased access through the expansion of telehealth services in the Medicare program. An important provision of this bill allows the Medicare program to test the addition of health care professionals who are not currently eligible to provide telehealth to furnish telehealth services as part of the program’s new innovative health care delivery models. This would include RTs! Over 120 organizations support this legislation including the AARC. TAKE ACTION: Text AARC CONNECT to 52886
2. SMART (Safeguarding Medicare Access to Respiratory Therapy) ACT –The competitive bidding program requires suppliers of certain DME items to submit bids that offer the best price and meet certain standards. Prior Bidding Rounds have included Oxygen Therapy DME which has resulted in less access to Liquid Oxygen DME for our patients that need it. Medicare has included Non-Invasive Ventilators (NIV) as a DME Bid Item for Round 2021. These devices require constant vigilance and adjustment as a patient’s needs change, as well as frequent maintenance and the clinical support of RTs. Competitive bidding will result in a devastating reduction in access to both ventilators and the expertise of RTs who manage their care in the home, putting patients at risk due to lower payment rates. This bill would delay the inclusion of NIV Ventilators in the Medicare Competitive Bidding Program for 5 years. It would also require Medicare to convene an expert panel to recommend revisions to outdated coverage policies that has led to increased utilization.
TAKE ACTION: Text AARC SMART to 52886
3. SOS (Sustaining Outpatient Services) ACT – HR4838: Medicare law prohibits hospitals from billing at their out-patient rate in certain off campus provider-based departments based on their location (> 250 yards from the main campus). This has created issues for Hospitals that want to expand or develop new Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehab Programs at an off-campus site because the hospital is paid at a lower rate. CMS realizes this is an unintended consequence. They say they can’t change it as it must be changed legislatively. This bill would exempt new or expanding CR/PR Programs from payment reductions based solely on their location.
TAKE ACTION: Text AARC SOS to 52886
4. Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act of 2019 – HR 2339/S 3174: RTs know the devastating effects of tobacco use. This bill includes many provisions to protect kids from tobacco and reduce current tobacco related health disparities. Key in this bill is prohibiting flavored tobacco products that would appeal to kids as well as unauthorized marketing to youth by the tobacco industry. TAKE ACTION: Text NOFLAVOR to 52886