Take Action to support Cardiopulmonary Rehab

On March 2nd and 3rd Amy Birling and Stacey Greenway members of NCCRA will be attending the AACVPR Day on the Hill.  Don’t let their visits to all of our Congressman and Senators be the first time that these offices have heard about this issue.  Take Action Now!

Taken from AACVPR:

As AACVPR members prepare to take issues that are important to our profession to Congress in 2020, Pat Comoss provides a look back at how this organization began its presence in the political arena in Washington DC. It should be recognized that Pat, as AACVPR President, was instrumental in obtaining a federal grant for AACVPR to develop the first clinical practice guidelines for cardiac rehabilitation. AACVPR is grateful to Pat for her continued leadership in advocacy, over 14 years of DOTH, and for mentoring of so many of us today who strive to provide quality cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation services.

Pat Comoss RN, BS, MAACVPR

Association – Government Collaboration: A 25 year AACVPR Legacy

Each year at this time, staff and volunteers at AACVPR begin planning for what has become a dynamic event affecting the future healthcare delivery and practice of cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation (CR/PR). That event is the Association’s annual Day on the Hill (DOTH) in Washington DC.

The purpose of that advocacy visit to the nation’s capital is to inform and educate elected members of Congress about legislative and regulatory issues that impact rehab patients and CR/PR programs. And so it is in 2020 where the issue at hand is win support for U.S. House bill # 4838 – SOS (Sustaining Outpatient Services).

Approval of U.S. House bill # 4838, would enable rehab programs to expand or relocate offsite without suffering the currently imposed cut in Medicare reimbursement when such a move occurs away from hospital campus. Congressional support is essential to getting the bill passed this year. The proposed relief from the so-called “Section 603 rule” is the key to future growth of CR and PR rehab programs. But no movement on a bill happens unless/until our US Congressional members are made aware of the need for and importance of why they should vote in favor. Signatures of support only come when legislators understand what needs to be done and why. And that is our job – to explain the what and the why of the pending legislation, to advocate for change that benefits our patients and our CR/PR programs.

Such advocacy efforts through DOTH appear to be a recent development to some involved with AACVPR activities. But in fact, the seeds for such association – government education and collaboration efforts were planted 25 years ago. In 1995, the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR-now the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality) published a landmark document in its growing collection of national healthcare guidelines – Clinical Practice Guideline #17, Cardiac Rehabilitation. That 200 page book was the product of 3 years of work done under a government contract awarded to AACVPR.

The work to collect, review, and synthesize available research on cardiac rehab involved several prestigious content experts in the field who were led by Nanette Wenger MD, Erika Froelicher RN, PhD, and L. Kent Smith MD, PhD. Support and guidance were offered by the Nationals Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) throughout the project.

When completed, not only did the Guideline justify the use of cardiac rehabilitation as a standard component of contemporary cardiac care, it also established an enduring connection between professional interests and government activities. The collaboration of AACVPR, AHCPR and NHLBI produced advances and advantages that propelled the field forward. That connection, now deeply rooted as DOTH activities, remains an integral part of promoting and protecting cardiac and pulmonary rehab interests in the 21st century.

Now, in the current and often confusing political environment, each of us needs to be part of ongoing efforts to nurture our still young and evolving specialty. Involvement in advocacy efforts at the national (DOTH) level or locally via visits to your Congress member’s office makes a difference to your program and your practice. Collaborative efforts that began over 25 years ago continue to be essential to sustaining cardiac and pulmonary rehab for the next 25 years and beyond. Be part of that history starting in 2020!




Have you made your travel plans yet? The 41st Annual NCCRA symposium is 2 months away!

On March 26th and 27th the NCCRA is hosting the 41st annual symposium at the Friday Center in Chapel Hill. More details will be forthcoming as the brochure is completed and details are finalized.  We look forward to seeing everyone!


The Senate bill to support APPs supervising Cardiopulmonary Rehab has been introduced

We are excited to say that a companion bill to HB4838 has been introduced.  Please check back regarding the updates to the AACVPR Virtual Lobbying tool so you can take action with this important effort.


The Board is looking for Carl King Award nominations

Do you have a colleague that you turn to regularly for advice?  Or are they innovative within their program and constantly looking for new ways to improve their program or patient outcomes?  These are the type of folks that qualify for the Carl King award.

The Carl King Award has been developed to honor his dedication and commitment to the development of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation. Carl King has worked tirelessly to promote cardiopulmonary rehabilitation; to educate people and health organizations of its importance; and to embrace the lifestyle promoted by Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation. Carl King’s vision and guidance has helped to make Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation in North Carolina what it is today

Please take a look at the website for more details.  We look forward to receiving your nominations!

Carl King Award


A New Study that looks at Utilization and the Cardiac Rehab Change Package – a great tool to assist us in the work we do everyday!


A new study is available that shows CR participation and utilization rates for Medicare patients.  This is a great tool to utilize when talking with your referring providers to drive uptake.

Participation and completion among Medicare beneficiaries 2020


The Cardiac Rehabilitation Change Package (CRCP) presents a listing of process improvements that CR champions can implement as they seek optimal CR utilization. It is composed of change concepts, change ideas, and tools and resources. Change concepts, sometimes called key drivers, are general notions that are useful in the development of more specific ideas for changes that lead to improvement. Change ideas are actionable, specific ideas or strategies for changing a process. Change ideas can be rapidly tested on a small scale to determine whether they result in improvements in the local environment. With each change idea, the CRCP lists one or more evidence- or practice-based tools and resources that can be adapted by or adopted in a health care setting to improve CR utilization.

The purpose of the CRCP is to help quality improvement teams from hospitals and CR programs put systems and strategies in place that target improved care for more of the eligible patients. The CRCP is broken down into four main focus areas: Systems Change, Referrals, Enrollment and Participation, and Adherence.


Virtual Lobbying Tool utilization rate for North Carolina is 34% – We can do better than that!

Updated 12/3/2019

Okay NC Cardiopulmonary Rehab programs we have some work to do!  The virtual lobbying tool has been out for over a month and North Carolina has only a 34% participation rate.  Although this puts us at the average rate of participation we know that we can do better than that!  Please participate and spread the word to your staff, physicians, administrators and supportive patients!


October 28, 2019

As you know we have been presenting information about legislation to correct “Site of Service” concerns for cardiac and pulmonary rehab.

There is now  a HOUSE bill # 4838, the SOS “Sustaining Outpatient Services” Bill.  We need your help to create a BIG push to contact our Congressmen/women to get this bill passed.  This ask is not just for those programs that are directly impacted by this but by all programs that offer CVP Rehab.  If something impacts one of us, it impacts all of us!

Please read the attachment that is included so you can understand what the site of service legislative priority means.

AACVPR created a Virtual Lobby Tool that is very easy and quick.  You will be able to put in your required
information to contact your HOUSE representative, edit/individualize a HR 4838 request, and click to send to your legislator.

virtual lobbying tool

We want your help to make this go viral!!  Please engage your physicians, hospital administration, patients and staff; the virtual tool has a template letter for each group.

WE WANT VOLUME and need your help to create it!

We have a short window, so when you hear from us again, the Virtual tool will be live and then IT’S TIME TO ACT!!

We need this bill correction to allow our programs to survive and thrive.  CMS is already threatening to “un-grandfather” us and then we
will be reimbursed about 1/2 of what we get now.

If you have any questions at all, please contact Stacey Greenway (stacey.greenway@vidanthealth.com) or Betsy Land (Young) BYoung@firsthealth.org

Thanks for your help in making this a priority!!

Site of Service Legislative Priority 10-2019

NCCRA Outreach

We are excited to tell you about a new effort by the NCCRA Membership committee to reach out to schools to spread the word about CR & PR.  They have a template power point presentation that was designed along with a list of schools (divided by region) that was compiled and the first presentation was completed recently by Bridget Way and Scott Wright (Harnett Health) to Campbell University’s Exercise Science Club on 9/26/19.









The membership committee would like our membership to get involved in this effort and have made it very easy for people to pick a school they would like to present to and then they can use the power point as well.  For more information about this great effort please contact Bridget Way  lighthouse0424@gmail.com or 919-215-0546.

If you would like to sign up to present this talk to area colleges/universities you can sign up here:  https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ahD4IluaTUGyCh295MJtCsrfTz3Qsiwh/view?ts=5db72f41

And use the attached power point presentation:  School Presentation_generic – Cardiac & Pulmonary Rehabilitation

Picture Your Plate: A validated nutrition assessment tool designed for CR programs

Karen Collins, Ellen Aberegg,  Sharon Smalling and Judith M. Hinderliter have worked on this project for a number of years.  It is finally done and ready to use!!!   They are asking that you access the forms from the website below so that revisions can be sent as needed.  This new nutrition assessment tool  has been approved by AACVPR.


Please contact Judith with any questions or issues that you may have.


Fall Regional Meetings

Coastal Regional Meeting  Friday, October 25th
1001 Newman Rd.  New Bern, NC  28561
for more information contact Coastal VP Kelly Forrest (KForrest@carolinaeasthealth.com)
Agenda:  NCCRA Coastal REgion 2019 Agenda

Coastal Presentations:  Whited Slides

Piedmont Regional Meeting:  Saturday, November 16th
For more information contact Piedmont VP Susanne Bice (susannebice@gmail.com)

Mountain Regional Meeting:  Tuesday,  November 5th
Location: Watauga Medical Center auditorium
336 Deerfield Road, Boone, NC  28607
For more information contact Mountain VP Beth Ann Scott (bascott@apprhs.org)
Agenda: NCCRA Mountain Region 2019 Symposium

Mountain Presentations:  NCCRA 2019 Soukup


Reimbursement Updates

by Susanne Bice (Piedmont VP)

CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) released hospital outpatient and physician proposed regulations on July 30, 2019. There is now a 60-day public comment period followed by the publication of the final 2020 regulations with CMS responses to public comments, typically released in early to mid-November and effective January 1, 2020. AACVPR will be submitting comments on issues that do or could potentially impact cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation (CR/PR). Those comments when submitted are posted on the AACVPR Regulatory & Legislative Actions web page.

The following is a breakdown of the proposed regulation which can be found in entirety at  https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Medicare-Fee-for-Service-Payment/HospitalOutpatientPPS/Hospital-Outpatient-Regulations-and-Notices-Items/CMS-1717-P.html?DLPage=1&DLEntries=10&DLSort=2&DLSortDir=descending

Proposed Physician Fee Services (PFS)

Intensive Cardiac Rehab will include Heart Failure Diagnosis as part of the Balanced Budget Act of 2018. The “proposed rule” will be finalized with an amendment to the Medicare Provision, 42 CFR 410.49

Proposed coverage through ICR and CR for additional cardiac conditions that would be as specified through future rule-making. Programs must be able to provide clinical evidence that supports the diagnosis and coverage. CMS notes that, “…conditions that may be considered for expanded coverage are limited to cardiac conditions and may not include other conditions (for example, cancer, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, peripheral artery disease, etc.)”

2020 Proposed Payment Rates

The following chart reflects proposed payment rates for hospital outpatient services in 2020 that are on-campus or were granted off-campus accepted status. The reimbursement amounts below are estimates that are subject to change after additional data are collected prior to publication of the final regulation in November.

CR/PR services that are off-campus and not excepted will receive roughly 40% of the payment listed here. Also, CR/PR services that are billed (i.e., owned) by physician practices are paid according to a complex formula that uses a conversion factor ($36.09 for 2020). This is unchanged from 2019, so payment will be virtually the same.

Note that the respiratory care procedure codes, G0237 & G0238, have been moved to a new APC (Ambulatory Payment Classification), causing the reduction in the payment amount for these services in 2020. The APC and procedure code, G0239, remains unchanged.

CPT/HCPCS Code APC Payment Co-Pay Revenue Code
93668 Peripheral Vascular Rehab 5733 55.87 11.18 943
93798 Cardiac rehab/monitor 5771 110.60 22.12 943
93797 Cardiac rehab 5771 110.60 22.12 943
G0422 Intensive cardiac rehab/w exercise 5771 110.60 22.12 943
G0423 Intensive cardiac rehab/no exercise 5771 110.60 22.12 943
G0424 Pulmonary rehab/w exercise 5733 55.87 11.18 948
G0237 Therapeutic procedures/ strength, endurance 5731 23.57 4.72 410
G0238 Other respiratory proc, individual 5731 23.57 4.72 410
G0239 Other respiratory proc, group 5732 34.33 6.87 410


Great news: American Heart Association with partner professional organizations has successfully introduced a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives.  HR 3911-Increasing Access to Quality Cardiac Rehabilitation Care Act of 2019 Building on the BBA of 2018, this bill will potentially move the implementation date of NNP supervision in CR AND PR to 2020 instead of starting in 2024. Also additional language will allow NNPs to independently order CR/PR services as well as establish, sign and review treatment plans.

AACVPR Site of Service Bill

This bill addresses the payment schedule for the off campus locations for CR/PR. The bill is asking for access to patients off campus without the 40% reduction in reimbursement.  AACVPR has this bill being finalized by the Rules Committee Chairman and a Representative from Nebraska. Expectation is that there are US Senators who will be willing to introduce a companion bill in the US Senate once there is a House Bill.

Please contact your local representatives and ask for support for Site of Service as well as HR 3911 mentioned above.

AACVPR meets with CMS Regarding Regulatory Issues

The meeting was held at CMS headquarters in Baltimore, led by AACVPR President Kate Traynor, Director of Cardiac Rehabilitation at Mass General Hospital, and Dr. Jonathan Whiteson, Medical Director for the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City along with Phil Porte and Karen Lui, GRQ Consultants.

Flexibility was requested on the timing of physician review & signature on ITPs, clarification sought for MACs and auditors on the definition of session duration, and there was discussion about the direct patient contact requirement for pulmonary rehabilitation.

AACVPR is optimistic that the recommendations taken to the CMS team were heard and would be considered. All changes/recommendations must first be vetted through the CMS legal department. Then as usual, go through public posting, comments period and final draft. We will watch for and share any updates and changes as they develop.