Local respiratory therapist travels to Washington, DC

Local respiratory therapist travels to Washington, DC Lori Salonen, RRT, a respiratory therapist from Sioux Valley Vermillion Medical Center, traveled to Washington, DC April 22 to ask members of Congress to allow patients who receive respiratory care to have access to respiratory therapists.

"Our request was straightforward," said Salonen. "We simply asked our members of Congress to add respiratory therapists to the list of pro-viders for home health care.

"Currently those respiratory patients who receive home care have limited access to the expertise of respiratory therapist. We did not ask for Congress to spend more money to provide this specialized care, we just asked to be included in the Social Security Act as substitutes for nurses and physical therapists when patients have respiratory needs," she said.

Salonen said that meeting with her Congressional leaders was an educational experience. As a constituent, she felt that their staff listened to her concerns about how the issue would affect the citizens of South Dakota.

Salonen is a member of the Political Advocacy Contact Team (PACT), a group organized by the American Association of Respiratory Care (AARC) to spearhead grassroots level advocacy efforts. The AARC has a long history of advocating on behalf of respiratory patients and professionals.

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