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AARC Celebrates Introduction of the SOAR Act in the House of Representatives

Bill passage key to supplemental oxygen access and adequate reimbursement

The Supplemental Oxygen Access Reform Act (SOAR) of 2024 is introduced in the U.S. House by Representatives David Valadao (R-CA), Larry Bucshon, MD (R-IN), Adrian Smith (R-NE), and Julia Brownley (D-CA). The legislation is identical to the S.3821 introduced by U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, MD (R-LA), Mark Warner (D-VA), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) to ease access to supplemental oxygen for Medicare beneficiaries. The SOAR Act would establish a new payment methodology for liquid oxygen, and for supplemental oxygen patients to access respiratory therapists. 

More than 1.5 million people across the U.S. face unparalleled challenges in accessing oxygen that their lives depend on. These roadblocks are largely caused by an inadequate Medicare reimbursement system, and lack of access to the skills respiratory therapists can provide to oxygen-dependent patients.   

AARC has prioritized the introduction of this legislation for some time and has worked closely with a coalition comprised of patient organizations, providers and industry. In September 2023 at its annual Respiratory Care Washington, DC Fly-In, the AARC Political Action Contact Team (PACT) members had more than 200 meetings with congressional members to discuss the Four Pillars for Oxygen Reform and to make new legislation a reality to improve the health and well-being of patients. 

During the September Fly-In, AARC member Theresa Cantu, MSRC, RRT, RRT-NPS, AE-C, and the California Society for Respiratory Care met with Representative Valadao, who prioritized the introduction of the legislation and co-sponsored the bill. “We are grateful to Representative Valadao for his important leadership on this initiative,” Cantu shared. “It is with his help that patients will have access to care provided by a respiratory therapist when they are placed on supplemental oxygen and in need.” AARC is deeply appreciative of Representatives Valadao, Bucshon, Smith, and Brownley for their sponsorship.  

Continuing to recognize respiratory therapists and their crucial work in improving healthy patient outcomes is another key component of this legislation. “Advocating for improved patient access to respiratory care outside the acute care setting would allow supplemental oxygen patients to lead fuller and more robust lives without financial hardship worries,” said AARC President Carl Hinkson MS, RRT-ACCS, NPS, FAARC. “We look forward to continuing to work with our coalition partners, the House, and the Senate to turn these necessary policy changes into law.” 

Contact Information:
Ellen Worsham
Vice President, Marketing and Communication
newsroom@aarc.org


Original Source: AARC Celebrates Introduction of the SOAR Act in the House of Representatives
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