By Ash Walker, DHSc, ACSM-CEP, EIM-3, FAACVPR
Hello, AACVPR Nation – what a great time we had in Milwaukee at the 38th Annual Meeting! The energy, palpable among repeat attendees and first-timers alike, gave life to this year’s theme of “Ignite.”
Part of the thrill for me, as outgoing AACVPR President, was selecting the 2023 recipient of the Presidential Recognition Award. It was my pleasure to name Karen Lui, RN, MS, MAACVPR. A past AACVPR President, she’s been a valuable resource on rules and regulatory requirements for the industry and a leader in AACVPR’s advocacy efforts on Capitol Hill. The legislative wins orchestrated by her are too many to list, but here are a few of those accomplishments:
- Karen’s work resulted in the Center for Medicare & Medicaid’s (CMS) first formal acknowledgment of pulmonary rehabilitation as a distinct service when the Pulmonary and Cardiac Rehabilitation Act of 2008 was passed.
- She helped to expose unintentionally excessive CR/PR copayments under many Medicare Advantage plans, leading CMS to establish caps on co-payments for these repetitive services in 2017.
- Karen worked with CMS in 2019 to successfully correct auditors who were misinterpreting the CR regulation and issuing inappropriate denials, which were subsequently reversed.
The above is just a sample of Karen’s tireless work on behalf of AACVPR and the cardiopulmonary profession. She retired this past June, but the mark she left on our field will surely be felt for years to come. In light of her character and years of commitment to AACVPR, I saw her as an obvious choice for the Presidential Recognition Award. Although Karen was not present to accept the honor in person, the audience delivered a standing ovation. In my opinion, no one is more deserving. From a personal standpoint, she and I shared so many one-on-one conversations over the years that have been insightful and shaped my own leadership style. She’s always made time to be a colleague, mentor and friend.
I’m grateful to Karen for many reasons, but especially for fanning the flames of the cardiopulmonary rehabilitation profession. She answered my challenge years before I issued it from the main stage in West Palm Beach last year, and our profession is better for it. As I transition into the AACVPR Immediate Past President role, the question I asked more than a year ago is still relevant: What are you doing to advocate and strengthen the field of cardiopulmonary rehabilitation? If you need a role model to emulate, look no further than Karen Lui.
Kudos, Karen, for a job well done!