Respiratory Care 2009

The Gold Standard in Respiratory Care Meetings

Congress Gazette

55th International Respiratory Congress • December 5–8, 2009, San Antonio, Texas

Tuesday, December 8

Ohio and California Teams Win Covidien Sputum Bowl Competitions!

A team of respiratory therapists from Ohio won this year’s National Sputum Bowl competition Monday night, Dec. 7, at the AARC annual meeting in San Antonio. Respiratory therapy students from California took the first-place trophy for the Student Sputum Bowl.

In the national competition, the team from Minnesota placed second, and Maryland/DC and Wisconsin tied for third.

In the student competition, the team from Arizona placed second, and teams from Pennsylvania and Texas came in third place.

The leader’s edge

This year’s meeting has been full of targeted information aimed at helping leaders stay one step ahead in this era of health care reform and economic uncertainty:

  • Saturday’s seminar on “Resource Management” provided details on improving service excellence, boosting productivity, and harnessing the power of AARC Benchmarking to control missed treatments.
  • Sunday morning’s session on “Leading Through Tumultuous Times” zeroed in on how to use disposable equipment safely and effectively, how to get approval for new equipment, how to eliminate waste while adding value, and how to make your staff indispensable.
  • On Monday afternoon, leaders found out more about making the business case for respiratory care, increasing productivity, and implementing protocols in “Essential Skills for the Successful Leader.”
  • Today’s “Leadership Institute” is full of great ideas and alternative approaches for new managers and old-timers alike.
  • And this afternoon, everyone will get an inside look at the “lean” process in “Perfecting Patient Care with Lean Thinking.”
Thank-you 2009 Congress sponsors

The AARC Congress benefits every year from the generous support of our friends in industry, who help fund everything from the Sputum Bowl to the printed version of the Congress Gazette. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank this year’s sponsors:

  • CareFusion
  • Covidien
  • GE Healthcare
  • Geico
  • Hill-Rom
  • Ikaria
  • Kimberly-Clark Health Care
  • Monaghan Medical Corporation
  • Nonin Medical Inc.
  • Roche Diagnostics
Specialty Sections deliver targeted networking

Are you a member of one or more of the AARC’s Specialty Sections? If not, you’ll want to check out these practice-specific groups within the Association to find the ones that match your areas of interest. Why? They offer great networking opportunities with like-minded peers, plus dedicated e-mail lists where you can exchange ideas and get answers to your questions on a real-time basis.

The sections also publish monthly e-News newsletters full of the latest research pertaining to the practice area, and quarterly Bulletins with articles of interest written by and for section members. They all play a major role in identifying topics and speakers for the AARC Congress as well, and each hosts a meeting during the conference where members get a chance to air their concerns, network with their peers, and plan out the year’s agenda.

CMS Gives Hope to Pulmonary Rehabilitation Programs

by Anne Marie Hummel, AARC Director of Regulatory Affairs

It didn’t start off as a pretty picture, but things changed for the better recently when CMS issued final rules to implement the new pulmonary rehabilitation program that takes effect Jan. 1, 2010.

One of the key turning points was the collaboration among AARC, the American Association for Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation, the American College of Chest Physicians, the American Thoracic Society, and the National Association for Medical Direction of Respiratory Care and its collective comments on the flaws in the proposed regulations and the disastrous impact such policies would have on patients and programs alike if they were finalized.

The good news is CMS changed its coverage criteria to include "very severe" COPD patients and to permit those patients whose diagnoses are currently being covered by local contractors to continue in the programs.

They also added an additional 36 sessions for a total of up to 72 sessions as long as the contractor paying the claims deems the extra sessions to be medically necessary. Based on our comments that pulmonary rehab programs could be forced to close because the payment rate established in the proposed rules was unreasonably low, CMS increased the payments to physicians and hospital outpatient departments and decided to allow a second billable 1-hour session per day instead of just one billable session.

The final rule isn’t perfect, but it is a lot better than where it started. We will have to wait to see if CMS adds coverage of other chronic respiratory diseases in addition to COPD. Because Medicare is an evidence-based program, any expansion will be evaluated as part of CMS’ National Coverage Determination process rather than through formal rulemaking because they need to make sure there is adequate evidence to support the additional uses.

In the meantime, RTs can be proud of their efforts to help push this legislation through Congress and make this decades-old dream become a reality. Our thanks go out to our membership for a job well done.

Lectures on CDs

If you had to miss this year’s meeting – or even if you were there, but want to hear some of the lectures you weren’t able to attend – you can catch up by purchasing a copy of the lectures on CD. Watch for purchasing information on the AARC web site.

2010 Meetings: jump start your attendance!

The 2009 Congress is wrapping up today, and as folks head home many will be wondering if they’ll be back for the 2010 meeting in Las Vegas, next Dec. 6-9.

After all, the economy is still in the doldrums, and hospitals all across the country are going to be looking for even more ways to cut back on expenses next year than they did this year.

Not attending your AARC Congress—and Summer Forum, for all you managers and educators out there—is a little like throwing the baby out with the bathwater, though, because only by getting together with your colleagues in a forum where the latest information is being exchanged can you hope to stay one step ahead of the changes underway in the field.

The January issue of AARC Times will feature a look at these two premier meetings of the year in respiratory care, and why everyone needs to start planning now to attend. But we’re going to share a few sound bites now from interviewees Brian Walsh, MBA, RRT-NPS, FAARC; Michael Hewitt, RRT-NPS, FAARC, FCCM; Garry Kauffman, MPA, RRT, FAARC, FACHE; and Kathy Rye, EdD, RRT, to get you thinking about what to tell your administrators about the value of these meetings:

  • I attend the AARC Congress to renew my passion for the profession and pick the brains of the multiple leaders who attend. Many outstanding resources open themselves to questions I might have by presenting during OPEN FORUM sessions, answering questions following lectures, or just passing in the hallways. I especially enjoy the pro/con sessions and watching the “gray hairs” argue over some of the most difficult questions of our practice.—Brian Walsh
  • Topping my list of reasons to attend the AARC Congress would be the always robust program, which presents therapists with outstanding opportunities to hear of new approaches to care as well as validate what they may already be doing. Secondly is the opportunity to interact with our peers and colleagues, be it one-on-one or in groups. This brainstorming often results in a valuable exchange of information and new ideas.—Mike Hewitt
  • With a focus on management or education, the Summer Forum delivers information you can utilize to make operational changes in your organization. In addition, the Forum provides a unique opportunity to speak directly with the presenters, both at the end of each presentation as well as “after hours” in a beautiful resort setting, which you don’t typically get to do in a traditional seminar. Many times I have found that the “after hours” conversations yield incredibly valuable information, above and beyond what was communicated in the presentation itself.—Garry Kauffman
  • The Summer Forum is a great venue to see old friends, explore new respiratory therapy educational methods and technology, and become more informed about the forces shaping the future of the profession. Over the years, these meetings have provided me with the opportunity to listen to the work of others, present my own educational research findings, access the most current information, and get better acquainted with other professionals who are passionate about the education of respiratory therapists and shaping the future of our profession.—Kathy Rye
Save the Dates!

AARC Summer Forum
Marco Island, FL
July 16-18, 2010

AARC International Respiratory Congress
Las Vegas, NV
Dec. 6-9, 2010

Submit a Proposal for the 2010 Congress

And now that we’re all focused ahead on 2010, let’s also help ensure it delivers the topics and speakers we really want to hear. You can do that right now by submitting an RFP for the 56th annual conference. But hurry! The deadline is Jan. 15.

Copyright © 2009 American Association for Respiratory Care.