The numbers have been tallied and Texas logged almost 1000 emails coming in third overall behind Florida and Pennsylvania for Virtual Lobby Week. This is a considerable increase in participation from past years and we want to thank you for your participation. The only way legislation can be moved in our favor, whether it is on a state or national level, is for all RCPs to become united in voice and stand together. This also came during the time of our own Texas legislative battles. We know there has been a lot of requests for participation on legislative activities over the last few weeks, and believe me when I say, it's not over. We still have to get our Senate and House bills moved to the floor for a vote. When that time comes, we will need you to email your Senators and Representatives again. Please know your Board of Directors are doing everthing they can to maintain licensure for RCPs in Texas, but they need your support. Every email, phone call or letter counts. You are making history!
Hello North Region,
WE HAVE AN URGENT REQUEST!!!!!
We have been contacted by Russell Graham, President-Texas Society of Respiratory Care who notified us that Senator Don Huffines from District 16introduced Senate Bill 1608on March 12, 2015 whichseeks to eliminate licensure for Respiratory Therapistsby simply repealing our Respiratory Care Act. We are not alone in this elimination. This bill again targets Radiology, Perfusionists, Medical Physicists as well as Dietitians within the State of Texas much like the original recommendations from the Sunset Committee. Senate Bill 1608 has been referred to the Business and Commerce Committee for review. It is absolutely essential that we voice our opinion in opposition to this legislation now.
We urge all Respiratory Therapists living within District 16 to contact Senator Huffines’ officein opposition to this legislation and in support of continued licensure for Respiratory Therapists. Therapists living in District 16 include the following areas:
- Carrollton-Farmers Branch
- Highland Park
A copy of a letter that you may use and/or modify to contact Senator Huffines can be accessed here (Sample Letter). Please do not limit your contact to email, feel free to contact his office or even go by for a visit. Any and all communication is encouraged.
The Honorable Don Huffines
P.O. Box 12068
Austin, Texas 78711
Senator Huffines: http://www.huffines.senate.state.tx.us/#form
I am asking Respiratory Therapists in this area to encourage colleagues, family and friends living within this district to voice our concerns in reference to the potential decline in safety and the quality of care our patient population would experience as a direct result of this legislation. These concerns include those associated with all allied health professionals for which this bill seeks to eliminate licensure. Please pass the word!
If you do not live in these areas, there is still something you can do!This bill directly contradicts Senate Bill 202 which heard testimony in support today from our Executive Board on behalf of all Respiratory Therapists across the State of Texas. I ask each of you to contact your State Senators and Representatives in Support of S.B. 202 which provides for continuing licensure and additional regulations to ensure only competent, credentialed Respiratory Therapists provide Respiratory Therapy to our loved ones throughout the state.
Feel free to contact me if you have questions and/or concerns in reference to our request.
Thank you again for your support of our profession here in the great State of Texas!
Tammy Kurszewski, MEd, RRT-ACCS
TSRC North Region President
Jennifer Gresham – Anderson, EdD, RRT-NPS
We have just received word that HB 2510 will also be going to committee for public testimony on Monday March 23 in the House Health and Human Services Committee. This means both SB202 and HB 2510 are moving rapidly through and your emails need to be sent showing support for this legislation immediately. As with the Senate committee members, you do not need to be in the district of the House Committee members to send the emails. We urge you to send to all the committee members stating "I am a Texas RCP and I support the passage od HB 2510." We also urge you to get your family emmbers, co-workers, neighbors, and any everyone else you come in contact with to submit emails supporting this legislation. This is a truly definative time in our profession. Take a part in making history!! Again, we will have TSRC representation at both the House and Senate hearings.
Here is a list of the House Committee members and links to their contact page:
Rep. Richard Pena Raymond (Chair): http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/member-page/email/?district=42&session=84
Rep Toni Rose (Vice-Chair): http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/member-page/email/?district=110&session=84
Rep. Susan Lewis King: http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/member-page/email/?district=71&session=84
Rep. Stephanie Klick: http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/member-page/email/?district=91&session=84
Rep. Elliott Naishtat: http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/member-page/?district=49&session=84
Rep. Stuart Spitzer: http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/member-page/email/?district=4&session=84
Texas RCPs, It's time! The Senate Health and Human Services Committee is holding a hearing on SB 202 on . SB 202/HB 2510 is the bill that includes the modifications that move Texas RCP's to the Texas Medical Board for licensure.The Senate members need to hear from their constituents on this bill. Please email ALL of the Senate members of Health and Human Services, stating very simply "I am a Texas RCP and I support passage of SB 202".This is YOUR license, protect it!
Ask your family, friends and patients to email them a similar message, "I am a Texan who supports the passage of SB 202/HB 2510". The number of emails and calls they receive matters, so please rally your fellow Texans to the cause!
Here is a list of members and links to their contact page:
Charles Schwertner (Chair) - http://www.senate.state.tx.us/
Lois Kolkhorst (Vice Chair) - http://www.senate.state.tx.us/
Judith Zaffirini - http://www.senate.state.tx.us/
Today was the official start for the PACT delegates in Washington D.C. Begining at 3:00, all the PACT delegates from around the country gathered for the Tuesday meeting. Texas was represented by our AARC Delegate Jennifer Gresham-Anderson, President-Elect Gaylene Lee and South Region President Daniel Schorre, The meeting opened with a welcome from AARC President Frank Salvatore followed by an address from AARC Executive Director Tom Kallstrom. Mr. Kallstorm gave a brief explanation of why the AARC supports the Medicare Telehealth Parity Act. Following his address, Anne Marie Hummel, AARC Director, Regulatory Affairs explained the RT related provisions within the Medicare Telehealth Parity Act as well as the other medical professions the Act will cover. Also addressing the group was Gary Capistrant, Chief Policy Officer for American Telemedicine Association. Mr. Capistrant explained the progression on telehealth over the past few years and how Medicaid, which is governed on a state level, has surpassed Medicare, governed on a national level, in implementing telehealth to provide care to those in medically underserved areas. He explained the barriers facing the Medicare Telehealth Parity Act in regards to getting the legislation sponsored and eventually getting passed. Following Mr. Capistrant was Brook Yaeger, Program Coordinator for Emergency and Inpatient Telemedicine for Medical University of South Carolina (MCSC)-Center for Telemedicine. Mrs. Yaeger is a Registered Respiratory Therapist who coordinates a protion of MCSC's telemedicine activities which encompasses a large area of South Carolina. She explained how and why telemedicne was implemented and the outcomes they have seen. She gave and overview of the equipment and capabilities they have in regards to patient-practitioner interaction and gave some ideas of barriers to wide spread telemedicine implementation. There were a few attendees that have had experience on some level with telemedicne in the respective states who offered their ideas and experiences as well. The day ended with Cheryl west, AARC Director of Government Affaris and Miriam O'Day, AARC Director of Legislative Affairs walking the state delegates through what to expect when meeting with Congressmen or staff members tomorrow as well as possible questions the delegates may face.
Our Texas delegates have 6 confirmed appointments tomorrow, but will be stopping by as many offices as they can between meetings. Thank you to all those who participated in virtual Lobby Week by sending in your emails to the legislators paving the way for our delegates. Your participation is key in this legislation.
For live updates from our Texas delegates, follow us on twitter at https://twitter.com/TXrespiratory . To see all the live tweets form other PACT delegates for PACT 2015 use #aarcvlw15 . For Facebook live updates, friend us at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Texas-Society-Respiratory-Care/266592156808601 .
Texas PACT Delegates with AARC President Frank Salvatore
Jennifer Gresham-Anderson, Gaylene Lee, Frank Salvatore, Daniel Schorre
Starting March 9th - 18th, the AARC will be hosting Virtual Lobby Week. During this time, we are asking all members, RCP's, friends, family and co-workers to visit the Virtual Lobby Week page of the AARC website to submit email letters to your US Senators and Representatives showing support of the Medicare Telehealth Parity Act. The legislation will help patients with lung diseases have better access to respiratory therapists, which can improve the patients care and outcomes to potentially redice hospital stays and readmissions. Virtual Lobby Week is strategically set to run the week before the PACT group visits Capital Hill to make face to face visits with US Senators and Representatives from Texas.
To participate in Virtual Lobby Week 2015:
- Click on the pre-formatted letter type you want to send.
- Scroll down the page to find "Sender Information"
- Fill in the information and click "Send Message"
Your support letter will be emailed automatically to your US Senators and Representatives.
To learn more about the Medicare Telehealth Parit Act, Click Here
It's "Go" time!
The DSHS portion of the Sunset Bill, with the modifications that move us to the Texas Medical Board have been filed! HB 2510, sponsored by Representative Four Price (and others on the Sunset Commission) and SB 202, sponsored by Senator Jane Nelson (with others as well) are the Legislative finale to not just continued licensure, but actually to a better and stronger license for Texas RCP's. The long and short is this: If passed, we (1) move to the Medical Board, (2) constitute an oversight board under the Medical Board, and (3) submit ourselves to full backround checks (including fingerprints) both at initial licensure and during renewal. Most everything else stays the same, such as CERT requirements, testing requirements, and the like.
The first legislation regarding our licensure has been released. SB219 and HB550 have been referred to committee and public testimony has been given. These bills are language clarification bills, but are directly linked to the legislation needed to keep our license in the future. On Feb. 25, President-Elect Gaylene Lee offered public testimony showing TSRC support for the passage of SB219. On March 2, President Russell Graham and President-Elect Gaylene Lee offered public testimony showing TSRC support for the passage of HB550. We will continue to represent our members and all RCPs' in Texas when any legislative information is released. We ask all RCPs', family and friends to stay ready to send in letters and make phone calls when the time comes. Until then, rest assured we are keeping a close eye on things.
As you all know, the TSRC is continually working on state legislative action in regards to the Sunset Recommendations and we continue to ask your support in this matter. While Sunset is our #1 priority, there are other legislative actions, on a national level, that we need your help with.
PACT Legislative Lobby Day
March 17-18, 2015, the TSRC will be sending 3 repesentitaves to the Political Advocacy Contact Team (PACT) Legislative Lobby Day in Washington D.C. Our representatives, along with representatives from other states, will converge on Washington to solicit support for the Medicare Telehealth Parity Act. We are asking our members and all RCP's in the state of Texas to secure appointments for our PACT team members with your U.S. Senators and Representatives for Wedensday March 18 between 8:00 - 5:00.
Where to start:
There are a number of ways to reach your House of Representative member or your two Senators. You can find them by going to the following websites:
Another option is to call the Capitol Hill switchboard at 202-224-3121 and request to be connected to your members or Senators office. Or you can download, personalize and fax this letter with your information to your member or Senator's office. Please do not send this letter on your employers letterhead as this letter is to represent you and the RT community, not your employer.
The main thing is to call as early in advance of these dates as possible to have the best chance of securing a meeting. Please make the offices aware you will have someone meeting on your behalf and it is in regards to the Medicare Telehealth Parity Act.
Once a Meeting Is Confirmed:
For more information on why we support the Medicare Telehealth Patiry Act, Click Here
The TSRC PACT members are:
Virtual Lobby Week
Virtual Looby Week runs from Monday, March 9 through Friday, March 20, 2015. This is another way for you to connect with you U.S. Legislators in regards to the Medicare Telehealth Parity Act and gies our PACT team members a platform to show support for the Telehealth legislation. This runs through the AARC website. The AARC runs a compitition with the states to see who has the best participation. We want Texas to be #1, so when the time comes, we ask for your full participation. More details are to come.
Over the next week or two, we will be going through a telephone system upgrade. We feel this upgrade will help better serve the members and, as a bonus, save the society money. During this time, there may be delays in response to phone calls and voice-mails. If you do not receive a response to a call or voice-mail within 4 hours during regular business hours, please send us an email through the "Contact Us" page. We will try to get through this transition as quickly as possible.