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American Lung Association Commends U.S. House of Representatives for Passage of Pulmonary and Cardiac Rehabilitation Act

WASHINGTON, June 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Lung Association commends and thanks the U.S. House of Representatives for its passage of the Pulmonary and Cardiac Rehabilitation Act today. As part of the overarching Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008, the Pulmonary and Cardiac Rehabilitation Act is a critical measure that will make life easier for millions of Americans who suffer from serious lung disease, including many older, Medicare-eligible adults who suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The Lung Association now calls on the Senate to pass this legislation so it can begin working for the millions of Americans in need.

"We applaud Chairman Dingell, Chairman Rangel and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus for their leadership on behalf of this legislation," said Bernadette A. Toomey, President and CEO of the American Lung Association. "Passage of this bill, which will help millions of Americans suffering from lung disease, has been a priority for the American Lung Association for several years."

COPD, which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis, is the fourth-ranking cause of death in this country. As of 2004, 11.4 million U.S. adults were diagnosed with COPD and an additional 12 million were believed to have the disease but were not yet clinically diagnosed. Each year, COPD claims the lives of an estimated 120,000 Americans.

This legislation will create a national coverage policy for pulmonary rehabilitation so that Medicare beneficiaries in all states will have access to this cost-effective treatment. Importantly, this legislation will also end long-standing confusion among providers, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and various reimbursement agencies, as to whether pulmonary rehabilitation is a covered benefit.

Pulmonary rehabilitation helps reduce the impact of COPD by helping to control or reduce breathlessness and recondition the body. With this comprehensive, multi-disciplinary approach which includes exercise, education and breathing retraining, people with COPD can experience great benefits, including less need for medications, fewer hospital stays, longer survival and a better quality of life.

About the American Lung Association: Beginning our second century, the American Lung Association is the leading organization working to prevent lung disease and promote lung health. Lung disease death rates continue to increase while other leading causes of death have declined. The American Lung Association funds vital research on the causes of and treatments for lung disease. With the generous support of the public, the American Lung Association is "Improving life, one breath at a time." For more information about the American Lung Association or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872) or log on to

SOURCE American Lung Association
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