Respiratory Therapists on Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency Detection Training

respiratoryA new study finds that the respiratory therapists can help improve the detection rate of people with Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency. The year-long study aimed at detecting people with Alpha-1 referred for testing by RTs and the genotype distribution of referred people found to have Alpha-1. The study authors hypothesized that trained RTs could promote Alpha-1 testing, and in doing so, improve detection of those affected in the course of their routine practices.

The study also considered that RTs can be at the front line of care for patients in pulmonary laboratories, rehabilitation, and post-acute settings, where they are in a position to see and recommend testing for at-risk patients. They reasoned that because many patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) see healthcare providers other than pulmonologists and RTs have been shown to effectively participate in diagnosing patients with Alpha-1, the RTs could help identify previously unrecognized patients with Alpha-1-related COPD.

Coupled with the availability of free, confidential, at-home testing for Alpha-1 through the Alpha-1 Coded Testing (ACT) Study,  there was an opportunity to assess whether trained RTs referred COPD patients for Alpha-1 testing and determine the yield of identification by RTs of those who are severely alpha-1 antitrypsin deficient. Outcome measures include the number of trained RTs and the rate at which trained RTs recommended Alpha-1 testing to their patients, as well as the rate at which such tested patients were found to have Alpha-1.

The main findings show that RT education programs that instruct RTs regarding Alpha-1 diagnosis and management were more widely used in the first year of implementation than those who did not receive such training, and that, despite only a small number of submitted specimens over the years of study, the yield of detecting individuals with severe Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency was 3.2% higher than in many previously reported targeted detection studies. In addition, the yield of detecting MZ individuals was very high, at 24.2%.

The authors behind the study concluded that, to the extent, the rate of detecting severely alpha-1 antitrypsin deficient patients here exceeds that in prior reports of targeted testing, the findings support the idea that respiratory therapists play important roles in improving detection of people with Alpha-1, and that training RTs is an effective measure to enhance Alpha-1 detection.

Respiratory Therapist Access Act

This season, the AARC will begin lobbying in earnest for House Resolution 2619; the Medicare policy coverage Respiratory Therapist Accessibility Act, known as HR 2619. It is a part of a long-term way to enhance the life of respiratory practitioners on Capitol Hill and in a healthcare center, DME, or physician’s workplace near you.  One of the misconceptions that people have and I think many CRTs have is that the AARC is working extra time to force us out of the field of respiratory treatment. Not real. The AARC has gone to extreme conditions not only to secure the CRTs, but to allow them to continue working. What, then, is the bill about? It’s about predicting respiratory treatment in the same light other professions in the healthcare center are projected, such as radiology, physical therapy, work-related treatment, and others.

Respiratory_therapistSo here’s a wake-up call for every certified respiratory therapist working; the AARC is not the end of your profession. Unfortunately, only a little over a third of us working in respiratory treatment are associates of the only professional team that is lobbying for us, and may understand HR 2619 as a risk to their jobs. Again, this is not true. HR 2619 seeks to get recognition for the exclusive and specific work respiratory therapists do, both in and out of the healthcare center. It is true that unless you keep the RRT certification and a bachelor’s degree in a healthcare self-discipline that there could be some projects that you cannot execute, particularly outside of the healthcare center and get paid for. You can still do the work; you and your company just may not be refunded all you could be with the CRT certification in contrast to the registered respiratory therapist.

You have to comprehend a little about state policies. Any MBA will tell you that political figures and organizations in general worry about three things: how to reduce costs, how to increase sales, and how to pay for your new idea. Researches are ongoing to figure out a price advantage for having those with advanced qualifications and advanced degrees offer some and the key phrase is “some,” health care. This in no way has an impact on the CRT doing his or her work in the healthcare center, rehabilitation service, DME, or other places. Even those employed by doctors in the workplace will not be put out of a job depending on this regulation, though the doctor may choose to find a registered respiratory therapist to increase their capability to get compensated by Insurance policy coverage. That is an employer choice and not a ramification of HR 2619. Other insurance companies, such as Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna, etc, will likely adhere to the paths of Insurance policy coverage, as they always have.