Point/Counterpoint Editorials |

Point: Should Medicare Allow Respiratory Therapists to Independently Practice and Bill for Educational Activities Related to COPD? YesAllow Respiratory Therapists to Bill for COPD? Yes

Thomas M. Fuhrman, MD, MMSc, RRT, FCCP; Robert Aranson, MD, FCCP
Author and Funding Information

From the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System (Dr Fuhrman); and the White River Junction Veterans Affairs Medical Center (Dr Aranson).

Correspondence to: Robert Aranson, MD, FCCP, 20 Lookout Dr, Freeport, ME 04032; e-mail: aransonr@comcast.net

For editorial comment see page 206

Financial/nonfinancial disclosures: The authors have reported to CHEST that no potential conflicts of interest exist with any companies/organizations whose products or services may be discussed in this article.

Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians. See online for more details.

Chest. 2014;145(2):210-213. doi:10.1378/chest.13-2517
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From the time the first inhalation therapists (as they were known at the time) stepped into the clinical arena in 1943, to the present-day respiratory therapists (RTs), the field of respiratory care has burgeoned into one of the essential ancillary medical professions of today. Because of medical advancements leading to the increased sophistication of respiratory care, RTs no longer provide just oxygen therapy. They perform a multitude of tasks, including measurement of arterial blood gases and insertion of arterial lines, transducer setups in the ICU for hemodynamic monitoring, intubations and extubations, management of increasingly complex mechanical ventilators, chest physiotherapy, administration of bronchodilator therapy, pulmonary function and cardiopulmonary exercise tests, and polysomnography studies, to name just a few. Additionally, they provide outpatient services in pulmonary physicians’ offices and patients’ homes, including education in areas unique to respiratory diseases. As a result, RTs have advanced their titles to that of respiratory care practitioners (RCPs), for they are truly practicing within their field of training.

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