USRC State Advocacy
H.B. 176 (Passed 1st Chamber – Amended February 4): Creates the Utah Health Workforce Advisory Council; requires the council to provide information and recommendations to government entities regarding policy decisions that affect Utah's health workforce; creates the Utah Health Workforce Information Center; requires the information center to conduct research and analyze data regarding Utah's health workforce. The Council's focus is on health workforce supply, employment trends and demands, options for training and education, and developing strategies to address shortages, recruitment, and retention. Two priority groups for data collection have been established. Respiratory care is in the second priority group. After the council approves data to be collected, the department shall request the data from a licensee when a licensee applies for a license or renews the licensee's license.
AARC National Advocacy
H.R. 4932/S. 2741 Creating Opportunities Now for New and Effective Care Technologies (CONNECT Act)
H.R. 3637/S. 2747
The Allied Health Workforce Diversity Act
This bill includes provisions to expand access to telehealth services on a permanent basis; specifically, it promotes increased access to telehealth services by health care professionals, such as respiratory therapists (RTs), who are not currently described as eligible practitioners in the Medicare program’s telehealth benefit, as part of new payment models being tested by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Innovation Center. Testing models that include RTs as telehealth providers offers expanded access to their expertise. Over 120 organizations officially supported this legislative initiative, including AARC, when introduced in the last Congress.
This bill was first introduced in 2019 to support the need to improve educational opportunities through use of grants or scholarships for individuals who are from underrepresented backgrounds, including students from racial and ethnic minorities, in the allied health workforce. At the time, however, only the professions of physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech language pathology and audiology were included. Based on the recommendation of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the committee with jurisdiction for the bill, the reintroduction of the bill in the 117th Congress will include respiratory therapists. The bill would increase retention of students by awarding financial support to eligible RTs to complete an associate, bachelor, master, or doctoral degree program. AARC can also make recommendations on eligible candidates.