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Support Senate Bill #1440

Update on PR legislation

The August 2005 issue of ATS Advocate included an update on pulmonary rehabilitation legislation introduced by Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID) and Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-AR). That update is reproduced here. For the full news release from Senator Crapo, go to http://crapo.senate.gov/media/newsreleases/release_full.cfm?id=241207&&

Sens. Crapo and Lincoln Introduce Pulmonary Rehab Legislation

In July 2005, Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID) and Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) introduced legislation to create a pulmonary rehabilitation benefit and cardiac rehabilitation benefit under Medicare. If enacted, this legislation would end decades of confusion between patients, providers and the Medicare program regarding the status of coverage for pulmonary rehabilitation services.

The legislation would establish a unique benefit category for pulmonary rehabilitation and lead the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to promulgate a national coverage policy that ensures access to this scientifically proven medical therapy for Medicare beneficiaries suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and other respiratory disorders. In fact, the support for pulmonary rehabilitation therapy is so strong that the CMS-which administers Medicare-included pulmonary rehabilitation as the standard of care in the National Institutes of Health (NIH)/CMS National Emphysema Treatment Trial (NETT).

Currently there is no national coverage policy for pulmonary rehabilitation services under Medicare. The absence of a national coverage policy has resulted in Medicare beneficiaries having varying levels of access to this therapeutic service. While some Medicare fiscal intermediaries offer appropriate coverage, others offer little or virtually no coverage.

The legislation would also create a benefit category for cardiac rehabilitation, which has faced similar regulatory challenges under Medicare.

Write to your US Senators

It is very important for all of us to support this legislation by writing to our own senators. To find the email addresses of your senators, go to www.senate.gov. Write your own letter - or use this draft letter prepared by Chris Garvey.

Dear Senator (the US Senator from your state):

Senators Mike Crapo and Senator Blanche Lincoln recently introduced S.1440. This legislation, when enacted by Congress, will ensure that Medicare beneficiaries who need either pulmonary or cardiac rehabilitation services will continue to enjoy access to those important clinical services. This legislation is supported by the bipartisan Congressional COPD Caucus as well as an important group of medical societies:

American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation

American College of Cardiology

American College of Chest Physicians

American Thoracic Society

National Association for Medical Direction of Respiratory Care

As a (insert your professional role) at (insert facility) which currently serves approximately (XXX number) of Medicare beneficiaries who need cardiac and/or pulmonary rehabilitation, I urge you to contact Senator Crapo's office to sign on as an official co-sponsor of S.1440.

This issue is of great importance to beneficiaries as well as providers, and I hope that my colleagues and I can count on your support of this legislation.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions regarding the need for this legislation.


(your name)