CQRC Commends Introduction of the SOAR Act in the U.S. House


MARCH 27, 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Council for Quality Respiratory Care (CQRC) – a coalition of the nation’s leading home respiratory therapy providers and manufacturing companies – commends the introduction of the bipartisan Supplemental Oxygen Access Reform (SOAR) Act (H.R 7829) in the U.S. House of Representatives. Introduced by Representatives David Valadao (CA-22), Julia Brownley (CA-26), Larry Bucshon, M.D. (IN-08), and Adrian Smith (NE-03), this reform legislation addresses persistent challenges in the availability and delivery of supplemental oxygen to Medicare beneficiaries, thereby protecting access to care for patients. A companion bill (S.3821) was introduced in the Senate by Sens. Bill Cassidy (LA), Mark Warner (VA), and Amy Klobuchar (MN) last month.

“CQRC applauds Representatives Valadao, Brownley, Bucshon, and Smith for their leadership on this important bill and calls upon Congress to support comprehensive oxygen reform. Doing so will help protect access to respiratory care for patients,” said Dan Starck, Interim Chair of the Council for Quality Respiratory Care. “CQRC is proud to advocate for this bill alongside patients, family advocates, physicians, and providers, and we urge lawmakers to pass the SOAR Act.”

Supplemental oxygen is a lifeline for individuals battling chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), severe asthma, pneumonia, sleep apnea, and cystic fibrosis. For this highly vulnerable patient group, access to care improves outcomes and supports higher quality of life, enabling individuals with serious respiratory conditions to safely leave their homes and participate in their communities. Under current law, existing federal policies often undercut the ability of patients to access the medically necessary home respiratory treatments their doctors prescribe.

To help streamline respiratory patients’ access to care and improve the ability of providers to reach patients, the SOAR Act includes these vital reforms:

  • Removal of supplemental oxygen from Medicare’s competitive bidding program
  • Permanent extension of Medicare’s blended payment rates to support access in rural and other areas outside of densely population urban areas
  • Establishment of a separate payment system for liquid oxygen to address chronic underfunding that has resulted in documented patient access problems
  • Reimbursement for respiratory therapist services consistent with state laws
  • Mandates the use of the oxygen template for documentation in lieu of requiring physicians to turn over their patients’ private medical records

“The SOAR Act symbolizes hope for patients, caregivers, healthcare providers, and communities who have been seeking broad oxygen reform for many years. The coalition of bipartisan lawmakers, beneficiary advocates, experts, and stakeholders that has come together around this bill is encouraging and inspiring. I am truly excited for what this bill will mean to the future of supplemental oxygen and respiratory therapy, and most importantly, our patients,” added Stack.