US COPD Coalition

USCC Seeks Waiver to Allow Increased Access to Respiratory Therapists During Pandemic


The US COPD Coalition (USCC), along with six member organizations, have written to Health & Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma seeking a temporary waiver of certain CMS rules that would allow for greater access to respiratory therapists during the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, the waiver requests the following:

  • Relax the current supervisory requirement under Medicare’s Part B “incident to” benefit to permit licensed Registered Respiratory Therapists (RRT) with health-related bachelors’ degrees to work as employees of physician practices under general supervision to provide more access for patients with chronic lung diseases.
  • Waive restrictions on respiratory therapists to permit them to make home visits under the Home Health Benefit to individuals in need of respiratory-related clinical interventions and to reduce the already overburdened stress on the nursing community.
  • Include respiratory therapists as qualified telehealth practitioners to provide disease management services to individuals with chronic lung diseases to keep them out of hospitals and emergency departments.

In addition to the US COPD Coalition, the letter was signed by the American Association for Respiratory Care, the Alpha-1 Foundation, the American Lung Association, the COPD Foundation, the Dorney-Koppel Foundation, and the Respiratory Health Association.

Click on the link below to read the letter sent to Secretary Azar and Administrator Verma.

CMS RT Waiver Request March 2020.pdf