With three telehealth bills that include RTs as covered providers now introduced into Congress, the AARC launched a Summer Lobby Week July 10-14 to garner grassroots support, and we are happy to report the week was a big success.
Over the five day period, 3,875 messages were sent to members of Congress by 3,181 individuals. In addition to respiratory therapists and respiratory therapy students, many physicians, patients, caregivers, and other friends of the respiratory care profession weighed in as well.
“Writing letters to Congress isn’t something many individuals like to do, but I’m eternally grateful to those who continue to step up and participate in these exercises of our American freedoms,” said Frank Salvatore, MBA, RRT, FAARC, immediate past president of the AARC and co-chair of the Government Affairs Committee.
AARC Associate Executive Director of Government Affairs Anne Marie Hummel explained that the messages will help support ongoing efforts by the Association to encourage the passage of these bills.
“Messages sent to Congress highlight the importance of ensuring patients with chronic respiratory disease have access to the expertise of respiratory therapists via telehealth and pave the way for continued efforts at the grassroots level,” Hummel said.
What’s next? Hummel says the AARC will follow up with members of Congress next month, when they are back home for their annual August recess.
“Plans include setting up meetings in members’ district offices and attending Town Hall meetings to keep the expertise of respiratory therapists in the forefront of the minds of Congressional leaders,” she said.
AARC lobbyists will continue to work behind the scenes as well to gain support from key Senators for companion legislation in the U.S. Senate. They’ll also meet with key House members to acquire their co-sponsorship for these bills.
“Our Summer Lobby Week was the proverbial oiling of the gears,” Salvatore said. “Now we need to continue the work and have a year-round activism plan that sees us continuing the communication with our representatives throughout the rest of this year to help these bills grow legs.”
Whether you wrote during Summer Lobby Week or missed the opportunity, we still need your continuing support. Visit Capitol Connection to write again or for the first time. Every message that’s sent brings us closer to gathering the support these bills need to move forward.