PACT - Political Action TeamOSRC's PACT, in conjunction with the AARC Political Action Team, is working to promote, protect, and support Respiratory Care as a profession in the political arena. To see your state and national PACT teams at work please view the following PACT updates. By being a member of the AARC and OSRC you support these efforts.
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Breaking News: Oregon RT’s in DC
40 to 50 helicopters in the air, motorcades with big limos and attached flags, followed by ominous big, black SUVs was the scene in Washington DC on March 9th. Marching protestors in hospital gowns, complete with signs, protested in favor of healthcare reform, as noted by the picture in both the USA Today and the Oregonian. Healthcare advocacy ads “clog airwaves” according to USA Today (3/10/10, 5A). And health care workers clogged the sidewalks around the Senate and House offices. The chest physicians, alziemers groups, lab techs, rehab folks, homecare companies, all were tromping the halls of Congress promoting their issues.
Heatlhcare Reform was literally in the air, on our recent PACT trip to DC, where over 100 RT’s from Alaska to Florida, Oregon to Maine and states in-between. Tony Garber, RT manager at Hermiston’s Good Samaritan Hospital and OSRC Eastern Director, participated in the seven meetings with the Oregon Congressional Delegation. We also had Jerry Killian, an Alpha One patient from Oregon provide the patient perspective on the difficulty of daily living with COPD, home oxygen and the lung transplant process. Jerry’s story was passionate and powerful, eliciting a strong response from the legislative aides in our meetings.
As I said at the Feb OSRC Conference, RN’s, PT’s, OT’s, Speech Pathologists, Radiology, MRI, Ultrasound, EEG, you name them, they are reimbursed by Medicare for services provided outside of the hospital. Respiratory Therapists are the only ancillary group that is not reimbursed for services outside the hospital. So our trip to Washington, DC is to gain reimbursement for RT’s, which will improve access, care and cost to our asthma and COPD patients. We want to revise the Medicare statue to add recognition of respiratory therapy services as a separate Medicare Part B benefit to permit qualified RT’s to provide respiratory therapy services under the general supervision of a physician.
The second issue we brought to Congress was to have the bills (S343 & HR 1077), described above, reviewed by the Congressional Business Office, who will determine how much this will cost Medicare.
Our third issue is to improve research funding for COPD. As you know, COPD is the #4 killer in America, but will become #3 by 2020. Research funds are pitiful, compared to cardiac, diabetes, AIDS, and other top diseases.
We also discuss home oxygen equipment issues and Jerry described what it’s like to live with the ‘green leash’.
OUR FEW RT’S NEED TO MAKE SOME NOISE! Write to your Oregon Congressmen Today! It takes 5 minutes, when you use aarc.org, Capital Connection, type in your zip code. Use the letter already there or create your own. Help us advocate for our asthma and COPD patients!
Healthcare Reform has passed and President Obama has signed this historic legislation. RT’s tried to include our legislation into HCR but were unsuccessful thus far. For a brief description of what HCR is see http://www.kff.org/healthreform/8061.cfm
Joe Dwan, MS, RRT
Contact #ís for Oregon Congressional Delegation
Wyden 202 224 5244. Senate Bill S 343
Merkley 202 224 3753. Senate Bill S 343
Walden 202 225 6730. House Bill HR 1077
Wu 202 225 0855. HR 1077
DeFazio 202 225 6416 HR 1077
Blumenauer 202 225 4811. HR 1077
Schrader 202 225 5711 HR 1077