The Medicare Respiratory Therapy Initiative was introduced into the US House of Representatives this month by Rep. Mike Ross (D-Ark). HR 941—and a companion bill expected to be introduced into the Senate soon—would recognize qualified respiratory therapists and the services they provide by amending the Medicare statute to include a new and separate benefit category for respiratory therapy services under the Medicare Part B “medical and other health services” provision.

The benefit would allow certain highly qualified respiratory therapists to provide smoking cessation, asthma management, medication management, and other disease management services to Medicare patients in the physician’s office without the physician having to be physically present in the office.

“The AARC [American Association for Respiratory Care] believes this legislation could go a long way in reducing unnecessary readmissions for chronic respiratory disease patients by ensuring they have better access to the educational and disease management skills of qualified respiratory therapists in the outpatient setting,” said Karen Steward, MS, RRT, FAARC, president of the AARC.

Source: American Association for Respiratory Care