Legislation proposed in the US House of Representatives would allow respiratory therapists to conduct telehealth services for COPD patients enrolled in Medicare.
HR Bill 2508, also known as the BREATHE Act (Better Respiration through Expanding Access to Tele-Health Act) would create a 3-year pilot program to determine the value of including qualifying respiratory therapists as telehealth practitioners under the Medicare program.
The pilot program would assess whether RTs providing telehealth services can improve health outcomes, reduce emergency department visits, reduce hospital admissions/readmissions, and lower healthcare costs.
According to the bill, RTs qualified to conduct telehealth services would include one who:
- Is credentialed by a national credentialing board recognized by the Secretary of Health and Human Services;
- If applicable, is licensed in the State in which the therapist furnishes the services involved;
- Holds the credential of Registered Respiratory Therapist; and
- Has a minimum of a bachelor’s degree or other advanced degree in biological or health science.
The bipartisan bill is sponsored by Rep Earl Carter (R-Ga), Rep TJ Cox (D-Calif), Rep Mike Kelly (R-Pa) and Rep Mike Thompson (D-Calif).
According to govtrak.us, the bill has only a 4% chance of being passed.
The American Association for Respiratory Care currently has an lobbying campaign to promote passage of the bill.
I would like to be kept informed
why a bachelor degree? many very experienced RRT’s only have an associate degree
I’m confused by the requirement for a B.S. or higher degree in order to provide service. Most readmission reduction programs that I’m familiar with are providing excellent post acute care with A.A.S. degreed therapists.
The Bachelor’s Degree Requirement has absolutely nothing to do with the excellent care a therapist with an Associate’s Degree can provide. We are dealing with Medicare– and all other covered, qualified health professionals covered by Medicare have a minimum of a BS degree and that is even becoming obsolete. Many of the covered health professionals are not getting minimum degrees of Master’s degrees. This bill was written with suggestions from many different platforms indicating that without a minimum of a BS degree, it wont even be considered. So with that in mind, our profession needs to move forward. We can’t keep submitting a bill to Congress with a minimum of an AS degree when they have already told us, we will not pass it without a minimum of a BS degree. I work alongside many therapists with an AS degree and I am humbled every time I work. We all work together to learn from one another. So please don’t look at this minimum requirement as a slight or a put down, we are simply trying to get “in the door” with Medicare and we need to take into serious consideration the feedback we’ve been given as a profession and move forward with it. to learn more information about this bill, you can go to for more information:
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