Protecting Home Respiratory Care

Home oxygen providers and equipment manufacturers are vital in providing services to Medicare beneficiaries with COPD and other respiratory diseases. This vulnerable patient population cannot afford to have their access to these lifesaving treatments threatened. When the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) began implementing payment cuts to durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics and supplies in early 2016, Schmidt Public Affairs helped the Council for Quality Respiratory Care (CQRC) launch an effort to urge Congress and CMS to stop those cuts.

Creating an Online Community of Advocates

To advance legislation to slow these cuts, we launched a strategic media campaign and built an influential online community of advocates. By placing physician op-eds, CEO thought leadership posts, sending over 29,000 emails to members of Congress, and creating a community of concerned citizens through an online advocacy center and the development of CQRC social media account—which grew 421,000 percent over nine months—we raised awareness about the need to protect seniors’ access to home respiratory therapy.

Results

With the support of the CQRC and the urging of their constituent advocates, lawmakers passed the Patient Access to Durable Medical Equipment Act in 2016. This bipartisan legislation retroactively extended the phase-in of the Medicare cuts ensuring patient access to home respiratory care was not at risk and mitigating the impact of significant cuts on home oxygen providers and equipment manufacturers.

In 2017, this effort was awarded the PRNews’ Agency Elite Award for Advocacy.