Sending Office: Honorable Mike Thompson
The Better Respiration Through Expanding Access to Telehealth (BREATHE) Act would authorize a three-year pilot program for Medicare beneficiaries, in which respiratory therapists would be eligible for reimbursement for providing COPD-related services via
COPD, one of the leading causes of death in the United States, is both expensive to treat and common to the Medicare population. Studies have shown that respiratory therapists can reduce hospitalizations and other acute care interventions – and improve health
outcomes – by educating COPD patients on the triggers and symptoms of their disease, and by providing remote monitoring services. Among other examples, one study found that Medicare beneficiaries in a telehealth program aimed at enhanced education and improved
self-management had 23% lower quarterly all-cause hospital admissions and 40% lower quarterly respiratory-related hospital admissions. Home telehealth for patients with severe COPD also showed a significant reduction in emergency room visits, the length of
stay and the need for non-invasive mechanical ventilation.
Respiratory therapists are credentialed medical professionals specializing in pulmonary medicine. These therapists focus on patients with respiratory ailments including COPD, asthma, pneumonia, lung trauma and other related diagnoses.
While respiratory therapists are qualified medical professionals who play an essential role in delivering care to COPD patients, they are not currently eligible for telehealth reimbursement under Medicare.
By authorizing a three-year pilot program, the BREATHE Act aims to collect information on the health impact and costs associated with remote monitoring and other telehealth services provided by respiratory therapists to Medicare beneficiaries. Under the
pilot, respiratory therapists will provide patient education on self-managing their disease; training and education on proper inhaler techniques including direct observation and assessment of the patient’s ability to properly administer aerosol medications;
smoking cessation counseling, and remote patient monitoring.
Please join us in supporting this innovative and critically important effort to ensure that Americans with COPD have all options on the table as they seek access to care. Should you have any questions or wish to cosponsor, please contact Crozer Connor (firstname.lastname@example.org)
with Rep. Thompson (D-CA).
MIKE THOMPSON MIKE KELLY
TJ COX BUDDY CARTER
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