A bill has been introduced in Congress that will, if passed, overturn the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) strict interpretation of a law that is hurting outpatient pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) programs. The agency’s current interpretation of the law that created the pulmonary and cardiac rehab benefit requires that only physicians direct pulmonary and cardiac rehab programs.

According to the American Association for Respiratory Care, this rule has caused PR programs and facilities across the country to scramble to find physicians to fill the mandated supervisor role. The ruling is hitting small hospitals, especially critical access hospitals, especially hard.

HR 6376 would change the CMS ruling and allow other nonphysician practitioners, such as physician assistants and nurse practitioners, to supervise PR and cardiac programs.

Source: American Association for Respiratory Care