PERF wanted to inform its eNewsletter subscribers about the following information that came from the Washington Letter of the American Thoracic Society Washington Office on November 10th, 2005

Excerpts from The Washington Letter
PATIENT ISSUES

DOT Extends Deadline on Portable Oxygen Concentrators. In October, the Department of Transportation (DOT) announced that it was extending the public comment period on air travel with oxygen and other respiratory assistive devices until January 30, 2006.

As you may recall, DOT has issued a proposal to require airlines to allow the use of portable oxygen concentrators during flight by patients. The rule builds on the final rule issued by the Federal Aviation Administration that allows airlines to permit the use of portable oxygen concentrators by travelers.

The extended comment period will likely be used by the patient and physician community to generate additional public comments supporting the use of portable oxygen concentrators during air travel. To date, the patient community has generated over 1,000 comments encouraging DOT to make portable oxygen concentrators available for air travel.

The American Thoracic Society will submit comments on the DOT proposal rule. Those comments will strongly encourage the DOT to make travel convenient and widely available for patients on supplemental oxygen.

Three Airlines to Allow POCs

In a related story, three major US-based airlines have announced policy that will allow patients to use portable oxygen concentrators (POCs) during flight. America West, US Airways and Northwest Airlines have all posted information regarding use of approved POCs during flight.

America West has announced it will allow the Inogen One and the AirSep Lifestyle to be used during flight. For further information, please see:
http://www.americawest.com/awa/content/travelservices/specialneeds/specialneeds.aspx

US Airways announced that it will allow both the Inogen One and the AirSep Lifestyle on all US Airways mainline and code share aircraft. However, these devices may not be used on US Airways Express flights. For additional information, please see:
http://www.usairways.com/customers/travel_policies/special_assistance/portable_oxygen_concentrators.htm

Northwest Airlines has announced that it will allow the Inogen One system on its flights. They indicated they are still doing additional testing on the AirSep model. For more information, please see:
http://www.nwa.com/services/onboard/special/spec.shtml


The American Thoracic Society (ATS) and the American Lung Association (ALA) maintain a joint Washington Office to advocate on legislative and regulatory issues. The Washington Office is the hub of a nationwide Legislative Network that enables state and local ATS and ALA volunteers, members and staff to participate in grassroots advocacy on public policy initiatives. To keep ATS and ALA advocates informed, we provide regularly updated Public Policy Briefs; publish a weekly newsletter, The Washington Letter and communicate via mail, fax and e-mail when immediate action is needed. We also maintain two advocacy web sites at http://www.lungusa.org and http://www.thoracic.org. You also may contact us at 202/785-3355 or fax us at 202/452-1805.

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