National Health Organizations Call on Congress to Support Life-Changing Oxygen Reform

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CONTACTS:

Jill Dale | American Lung Association

                                   P: 312-940-7001 M: 720-438-8289 E: Jill.Dale@Lung.org

Ellen Almond | Council for Quality Respiratory Care

                                         P: 202-271-0234 E: ealmond@schmidtpa.com

WASHINGTON, DC (June 4, 2024) – Yesterday, 30 leading patient, provider and professional organizations sent a letter to members of Congress calling for support and cosponsors for the Supplemental Oxygen Access Reform or SOAR Act (S. 3821/H.R. 7829), legislation that aims to ensure that people enrolled in Medicare who need supplemental oxygen can access the correct type and levels of oxygen needed for them to live full and active lives.

The organizations, American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC), American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST), American Lung Association, American Thoracic Society, COPD Foundation, Council for Quality Respiratory Care (CQRC) and Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation released this statement:

“The Supplemental Oxygen Access Reform or SOAR Act is critical to the lives of more than 1.5 million people in the U.S. facing serious health risks because they do not currently have access to the appropriate supplemental oxygen equipment and services.

“People with advanced or serious lung or heart diseases may require supplemental oxygen to ensure their bodies receive enough oxygen to keep their blood saturated and to allow their organs to function properly. Unfortunately, many people – especially those enrolled in Medicare – face challenges in getting the right type and oxygen levels.

“The SOAR Act would remove all oxygen services and equipment from the competitive bidding reimbursement system and create a new reimbursement system to ensure everyone who needs supplemental oxygen can get the proper kind and amount for living a full life. The SOAR Act would also ensure access to liquid oxygen for patients for whom it is medically necessary; ensure people who need respiratory therapy services can access them; establish an oxygen users’ bill of rights; and establish national standardized documentation requirements that rely on a template rather than prescriber medical records to make payments more streamlined and less subject to potential fraud or abuse.

“The SOAR Act would bring significant health and well-being benefits to individuals living with COPD, heart disease, pulmonary hypertension, pulmonary fibrosis, people awaiting lung transplants, and other advanced respiratory diseases who rely on supplemental oxygen. Oxygen therapy can decrease mortality, reduce shortness of breath and increase exercise capacity. Stabilizing the Medicare market would also rebuild the supplemental oxygen market for people with other kinds of insurance.

“Everyone deserves the opportunity to live a full and healthy life, so our organizations urge members of Congress to cosponsor and support the SOAR Act and quickly pass this legislation in 2024.”

Here is a link to the letter sent to the U.S. Senate and here is a link to the letter send to the U.S. House of Representatives.

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About the American Lung Association

The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through education, advocacy and research. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to champion clean air for all; to improve the quality of life for those with lung disease and their families; and to create a tobacco-free future. For more information about the American Lung Association, which has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and is a Platinum-Level GuideStar Member, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org. To support the work of the American Lung Association, find a local event at Lung.org/events. Learn more about the need for Oxygen Reform in our recent blog post here: Why We Urgently Need Supplemental Oxygen Reform | American Lung Association

About the American College of Chest Physicians and the journal CHEST

The American College of Chest Physicians® (CHEST) is the global leader in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of chest diseases. Its mission is to champion advanced clinical practice, education, communication and research in chest medicine. It serves as an essential connection to clinical knowledge and resources for its 22,000+ members from around the world who provide patient care in pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine. For information about the American College of Chest Physicians, and its family of journals including the flagship journal CHEST®, visit chestnet.org.

About the AARC

The American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC), founded in 1947, is the nation’s oldest and largest professional association dedicated to respiratory therapists and health care providers involved in cardiopulmonary care. The AARC strengthens the profession, providing excellence in leadership and education, advancing the art and science of respiratory therapy, and advocating for respiratory therapists, their patients, and caregivers. Fostering a diverse and inclusive membership community worldwide, AARC is a not-for-profit organization headquartered in Irving, TX. Learn more about us at www.aarc.org.

About the CQRC

The CQRC is a coalition of the nation’s leading home oxygen therapy provider and manufacturing companies providing in-home patient services and respiratory equipment including liquid oxygen, oxygen concentrators, and sleep therapy devices, to Medicare beneficiaries who rely upon home oxygen therapy to maintain their independence and enhance their quality of life. Learn more at cqrc.org.

About the COPD Foundation

The COPD Foundation is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to help millions of people live longer and healthier lives by advancing research, advocacy, and awareness to stop COPD, bronchiectasis, and NTM lung disease. The Foundation does this through scientific research, education, advocacy, and awareness to prevent disease, slow progression, and find a cure. For more information, visit copdfoundation.org, or follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

About the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation

The mission of the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation is to accelerate the development of new treatments and ultimately a cure for pulmonary fibrosis. Until this goal is achieved, the PFF is committed to advancing improved care of patients with PF and providing unequaled support and education resources for patients, caregivers, family members, and health care providers. Learn more at pulmonaryfibrosis.org.