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Support Your PACT Representatives as They Head Up Capitol Hill

February 19, 2009

In just a few weeks members of the AARC’s Political Advocacy Contact Team (PACT) will be making their 10th annual march up Capitol Hill to educate their members of Congress on key legislation impacting their respiratory patients.

Buoyed by last summer’s victory on pulmonary rehabilitation—after decades of work by the AARC and others, legislation calling for a clear Medicare benefit for these vital programs finally became the law of the land—PACT members are ready to redouble their efforts to enact legislation vital to the health and well being of people with respiratory conditions.

“We’ve seen a lot of change in the last ten years,” says Frank Salvatore, chair of the AARC’s government affairs committee. “We’ve made relationships and connections in Washington and our members of Congress are ready to hear us out.”

These volunteers can’t do it alone, however. They need your help to garner more victories like the one on pulmonary rehab, and now is the time for you to get started. “The more a Senate or Congressional office hears from you with your support for our issues, the more attention will be paid to your PACT representative when he or she makes the actual Hill visit,” explains AARC Director of Government Affairs Cheryl West.

Offering your support is easy: just go to the AARC’s Capitol Connection to read about our key issues, and then click on the “write to Congress” link to send an email of support to your Senators and Representative.

Your involvement will be appreciated by respiratory patients across the nation, some of whom are even planning to join their RTs during the March 9-10 visit to reinforce key points to lawmakers from their districts back home.

“Seeing the individuals who are directly impacted by the laws Congress makes is a powerful message,” says West. “We think this kind of partnership between the profession and the patient will bring us success."

The three main goals for the 2009 event include:

  • Garner support for the AARC’s Medicare Respiratory Therapy Initiative. Recently reintroduced into both houses of Congress as S 343 and HR 1077, this legislation will revise the Medicare law to permit qualified respiratory therapists to provide certain respiratory therapy services, such as smoking cessation, asthma management, and MDI device and medication education, while under the general supervision of a physician in settings other than the acute care hospital.
  • Advocate for funding to allow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to collect data on COPD and develop a comprehensive national plan of action for the disease similar to those developed for other conditions.
  • Support appropriate reimbursement for services needed by respiratory patients, especially those who depend on home oxygen services.

This March, 101 PACT members from 47 states and the District of Columbia will gather in our nation's capitol to support legislation important to everyone who cares for people with respiratory conditions. Join them in spirit by writing your members of Congress in support of the messages they will be delivering in person when they come to town.

 
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