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New Bill Would Improve Services to Lung Patients
Date:10/26/2007

Treatment and device training could be provided in homes; covered by

Medicare

DALLAS, Oct. 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- U.S. patients suffering from respiratory disease could be greatly helped if a bill introduced today by Congressman Mike Ross (D-AR) is passed, according to Toni Rodriguez, president of the American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC), the professional association for respiratory therapists.

The new Medicare Respiratory Therapy Initiative, HR 3968, will help patients receive better access to health care services. The House bill will revise the Medicare law to permit qualified respiratory therapists to provide certain services, such as smoking cessation, asthma management, medication education, and inhaler training. These services will be provided to asthma and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) patients under the general supervision of a physician, but without the doctor present.

"This bill could literally open the door for many patients who haven't been able to get the care they deserve," said Rodriguez, a respiratory therapist for more than 35 years. "With this bill, they would have access to the services of a respiratory therapist in all of the places they might seek care -- doctor's office, outpatient clinic, even their own home. And the expense will be covered by Medicare. This is a significant bill."

Congressman Ross is a member of the Health Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. The American Association for Respiratory Care began working with Congressman Ross to develop the initiative with the hope of increasing access to the services of certain respiratory therapists in settings outside of the acute care hospital.

"I am proud to introduce this important legislation on behalf of patients with respiratory and lung disease to ensure they have greater access to medical treatments for their conditions," said Ross, emphasizing this bill will
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SOURCE American Association for Respiratory Care
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