It Is Time: Bachelor’s Degree Licensure Requirement for Respiratory Therapists

As The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) expand their control and funnel their resources into new and expanding environments, respiratory care has the potential to be left behind.

This is a difficult pill to swallow for many respiratory therapists (RT), but the fact remains that CMS is driving innovation by way of keeping patients well and out of the hospital, while driving ill patients who are stable into skilled nursing facilities (SNFs). This is causing SNFs to care for much more acutely ill patients than ever before, leaving acute care hospitals mainly responsible for stabilization.

Unfortunately, CMS does not recognize Respiratory Care as a profession because RTs are not required to have a bachelor’s degree at a minimum to be licensed. And as a result, CMS does not require respiratory therapy to be provided solely by an RT.

Case-in-point: When the RUGS payment model was implemented within the skilled environment over 20 years ago, SNFs that previously paid for RTs to provide care for their residents stopped so they could remain competitive. Since all RT procedures were reimbursed the same whether provided by a nurse or an RT, administrators saw no financial advantage of having RTs on the bank role and chose to no longer employ them. This opened to the door for other professions to expand into an area where they should have clinically dominated.

If RT was a bachelor’s minimum profession, it would have more pull in its lobbying efforts to strengthen the roles of individual RTs with CMS-funded services. But this doesn’t even take into account the profession’s relative lack of engagement with the American Association of Respiratory Care (AARC) whose primary role is to lobby on its behalf.

It’s time RTs help secure the future of their profession by supporting the AARC and the bachelor’s minimum requirement to practice respiratory care.

How Do Lungs Clean Themselves?

The airways in the lungs are lined with a thin, watery mucus blanket. The mucus sits upon tiny, hair-like strands called “cilia.” The cilia and mucus blanket work together to keep the lungs clean and free from infection.

The lungs are very clean—even though they are directly connected to the outside air, which is full of germs and dust. The reason everyone’s lungs are not full of dust and dirt is because of the amazing job the lungs do to keep themselves clean. It happens like this: The mucus blanket catches germs and dust that make it past the nose and into the lungs. The cilia then sweep the mucus blanket, like a conveyor belt, up to the back of the throat where it is swallowed. Healthy lungs usually sweep up about a cup of mucus every day. There are also germ-fighting cells that ride this conveyor belt and attack any invading germs or other foreign particles.

So, this combination of germ-attacking cells that ride the conveyor belt, as well as any germs and dust that get swept to the back of the throat and swallowed, is the reason why people don’t constantly have pneumonia and lungs full of dust.

Asthma Attack eGuide

Take Control in 36 Easy Steps

Do you have a plan in place for the next time you or your child has an asthma attack?

The Expert Panel Report 3 (EPR-3) of the National Asthma Education & Prevention Program (NAEPP) recommends that all asthmatics have a written asthma action plan in place and that the lack of a plan is considered one of the risk factors for death from asthma. This guide will give you the information & tools necessary to establish an effective plan with your healthcare provider to take control.

Asthma Attack eGuide is an easy-to-read guide for the anxious parents of an asthmatic or asthma sufferers themselves. It lays the foundation for a written action plan by providing the necessary education one must have to self-assess symptoms and take the necessary steps to safely treat symptoms before they get out of hand. Then it gives you a basic action plan to further develop with your doctor. For safety, any treatment for asthma should always be approved by your doctor or healthcare provider.

Countless scientific studies demonstrate that by having the proper education, and by following the recommended guidelines provided within this eguide under the supervision of your doctor, you will:

1. Decrease and possibly eliminate frightening ER visits.
2. Decrease the frequency & severity of attacks.
3. Save money: Your medication will be more effective so you may use less and buy less. Moreover, your doctor and ER visits associated with asthma attacks should drop, thereby possibly lowering your medical bills.

You owe it to yourself or your child to have the proper education and tools necessary to self-manage an attack in the safest manner possible.

Please get this very important information today.