Bob Guardabasco, NJSRC President-Elect
Bob Guardabasco, PACT chairperson, Joseph Goss, Delegate, and Daryl Rogers, Delegate represented New Jersey on April 4 in Washington, D.C. for the AARC Hill Lobby Day. Along with over 100 respiratory therapists and patients, members of Congress were called upon to support legislation that would expand patient access to respiratory therapists through the use of telemedicine.
Prior to “Hill Day,” all state representatives met with AARC President Brian Walsh, Ann Marie Hummel, AARC Director Regulation Affairs, Cheryl West, AARC Director of Government Affairs and CRD Associates Erica Miller and Zara Day. The time was spent reviewing both strategy and what to expect for the role of respiratory therapists in health care and telemedicine.
During our morning visits, we met with legislative assistants for Senators Menendez and Booker on various healthcare issues. Our afternoon visits were with Congressmen Frelinghuysen, Pallone, Lance and Gottheimer. Again, we had the opportunity to discuss the value respiratory therapists bring to improving our patients’ health outcomes and the benefits of including RTs as telehealth providers. We think the timing is right to improve patients’ access to expanded telehealth services and to call attention to the unique skills of respiratory therapists as trained experts in the care of chronic respiratory diseases.
Congressional leaders were also asked to include language in the FY2018 Labor-HHS Appropriations Report that would task the Medicare program with an analysis of COPD claims data. We believe this will help validate the respiratory therapists’ expertise in a variety of settings.
The New Jersey delegation is made up of members of the Political Advocacy Contact Team (PACT), a nationwide group of respiratory therapists and patients organized by the American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC) and the New Jersey Society for Respiratory Care. Its purpose is to spearhead grassroots level advocacy efforts. If you would like more information or are interested in joining PACT, contact us.
The delegation thanks those members who took time to email members of Congress on this important legislation. We hope we can continue to count on your support in the future. Only by working together will we achieve the goal of better care for our patients.