The US House of Representatives has passed the Pulmonary and Cardiac Rehabilitation Act, which had previously been passed by the Senate. The Pulmonary and Cardiac Rehabilitation act will now be included in the overarching Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008, which must be passed by July 1.

The Pulmonary and Cardiac Rehabilitation Act will create a national coverage policy for pulmonary rehabilitation so that Medicare beneficiaries in all states will have access to cost-effective treatment. It will help those who suffer from serious lung disease, including many older, Medicare-eligible adults who suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

The American Lung Association commends the House of Representatives on passing the act. "We applaud Chairman Dingell, Chairman Rangel and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus for their leadership on behalf of this legislation," says 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."

A 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 would be settled under this legislation.

The Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 also includes bills on competitive bidding and oxygen reimbursement.