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Skinner Lobbies for Better Health Care in Washington, DC

Marysville, Kan. – Cheryl Skinner, Director of Cardiopulmonary Services at Community Memorial Healthcare (CMH), recently traveled to Washington, DC with other respiratory therapists and patients to request members of Congress to permit Medicare patients with certain chronic lung diseases to have greater access to the knowledge and services of a respiratory therapist.

CMH Cardiopulmonary Services Director Cheryl Skinner (left) and Karen Schell, Director of Cardiopulmonary Services at Newman Regional in Emporia, KS, stand in front of the State Capitol Building, Washington, DC, where they lobbied Congressional members for better respiratory care for Medicare patients (photo taken April 1, 2014).

CMH Cardiopulmonary Services Director Cheryl Skinner (left) and Karen Schell, Director of Cardiopulmonary Services at Newman Regional in Emporia, KS, stand in front of the State Capitol Building, Washington, DC, where they lobbied Congressional members for better respiratory care for Medicare patients (photo taken April 1, 2014).

Cheryl Skinner, BA, RRT, CPFT, is Director of Cardiopulmonary Services at CMH. Skinner explained, “Reducing hospital readmissions is a key Medicare priority and come October it will become even more important because chronic obstructive pulmonary disease will be added to the list of conditions subject to hospital penalties for excess readmissions.” She added: “When Medicare patients with certain respiratory disease visit their doctors’ offices, they need to be taught to self-manage their disease so they can recognize and reduce its symptoms and stay healthier. With the mounting costs to manage chronic diseases and avoid expensive exacerbations, we think the timing is right to improve patients’ access to the unique skills of respiratory therapists who are trained experts in the care of patients’ chronic respiratory diseases.”

Skinner met with Representative Tim Huelskamp and Senator Jerry Moran to ask for their support for the Medicare Respiratory Therapist Access Act. This legislation will provide patients easier access to individualized self management education and training in doctors’ offices from respiratory therapists.

Skinner is a member of the Political Advocacy Contact Team (PACT), a nationwide group of respiratory therapists and patients organized by the American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC) and the Kansas Society for Respiratory Care to spearhead grassroots level advocacy efforts.

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