by Joseph Goss, MSJ, RRT-NPS, FAARC
There is a first for everything, and this year’s House of Delegates meeting highlighted that fact. It was the first time the meeting was held in Indianapolis, Indiana and the first time NJ sent a student representative, Gessilda Galang, along with Delegates Joseph Goss and Daryl Rogers. The meeting lived up to its uniqueness for both location and participation.
The continued tradition of recognizing our active, reserve, and retired military members was not forgotten. The AARC, for many years, has recognized the commitment and sacrifice that our military members provide our profession. Several states have an active military liaison, but New Jersey still has not identified such a liaison, so if you’re interested in taking that on, please contact us.
Following recognition of the guests and student representatives, Speaker Keith Siegal began work on a busy agenda. One item, which began at the summer meeting, was the delegates’ work on the goals of the strategic committees’ objectives. In general, these committees are aligned with the association’s strategic objectives. Each subcommittee is focusing on the eight strategic objectives:
- Define and expand the scope of practice for respiratory therapists in all care settings.
- Advance the knowledge base and educational preparation of respiratory therapists to ensure the delivery of high quality patient care and to foster patient safety initiatives.
- Support research and scientific inquiry to strengthen the scientific foundation and promote best practice for patient care.
- Establish professional standards and outcomes that are supported by scientific evidence.
- Advocate for federal and state health care policies that enhance patient care, access to care, and professional practice.
- Partner with governmental agencies, community organizations, third party payers, professional societies and the public to promote healthy behaviors and prevent cardiopulmonary disease.
- Broaden consumer and health care providers’ knowledge and understanding of the value of respiratory therapists in providing safe, competent, and evidence-based care.
- Assure the Association has the resources to meet the mission and strategic goals of the organization.
There is another subcommittee with the charge to “Identify challenges facing the Affiliates and develop possible strategies to address these issues.”
President Brian Walsh addressed the House with the State of the Association. Aside from the three goals of quality, safety and value, he discussed the need for the Advance Practice Respiratory Therapist. A question he had, and we would like to know, is would NJ – and other states – support the development of the APRT within the profession? If you have thoughts or questions on the APRT, reach out to us.
Back to quality, safety and value measures. The quality goal remains an education requirement of the bachelor’s degree as well as the development of the APRT education programs. Safety measures include leading and advancing safety in respiratory care. Included in the safety measure is patient care while receiving mechanical ventilation. The charge of the second goal is to maintain and expand relevant alliances with key organizations to ensure safety and competence. Finally, value measures include the expansion of research efforts and advancing the international respiratory community.
The AARC announced the first few facilities that received its new APEX award. This is the new AARC recognition program, replacing the Quality Respiratory Care Recognition award. Hospitals, LTACs and home medical companies are all eligible for recognition. The next application period will open in fall of 2018. Shawna Strickland challenged the House, the state presidents and state board members to encourage departments which you do not work for but which are located in your state, to apply for this new prestigious APEX award. We encourage your facility to review the criteria and apply for this award.
As mentioned in past reports, AARC membership is flat or down compared to previous years. If you are a student reading this, the AARC and NJSRC want you to know the value of membership. If you are already a member and know of a colleague that is not a member, help them realize the value of AARC membership. One of the biggest questions is “What does membership do for me?” Not to avoid answering the question, but membership is often confusing for some. Remember, NJ does not have separate membership; without being an AARC member, you cannot be an NJSRC member.
Anna Marie Hummel, the AARC Government Affairs Director, provided an update on so many regulatory and legislative issues. A few things of note, it was reported that CMS has a new direction that is more patient centered. Additionally, the AARC continues to monitor the effect of state governments examining the necessity of licensure boards. One federal bill, Restoring Board Immunity, is good news but faces huge hurdles. The bad news, states are not waiting and are moving on their own laws to attack licensure boards. We have seen that independent boards are the ones most vulnerable to change.
It is our honor to represent the NJSRC at the national level. If you have any questions, please contact us with any comments, questions, or suggestions.
Thank you for your commitment to respiratory care.