Oxygen360 is a new project aimed at modernizing every aspect of oxygen therapy services. Our focus will be promoting innovative new technology to improve the quality of life for everyone in the oxygen community. We will also work with equipment manufacturers, durable medical equipment (DME) suppliers/distributors, and payers to develop practical and sustainable solutions that work for everyone.

COPD Foundation launching Oxygen360 at TechConnect Innovation Spotlight Summit

COPD Foundation Launching Oxygen360 at TechConnect Innovation Spotlight Summit

The COPD Foundation (COPDF) is establishing a core project responsible for facilitating innovation across the entire spectrum of oxygen therapy services. Innovation will focus on patient and caregiver needs while working with DME companies, manufacturers, engineering firms, and payer representatives to foster an environment of practicality and sustainability.

Mike Hess, MPH, RRT, Senior Director of Public Outreach and Education ay the Foundation, presented at TechConnect Innovation COVID Spotlight Summit on February 17, 2021

The Problem

For many years, supplemental oxygen has been a mainstay of therapy for not only COPD, but many other chronic respiratory conditions (like pulmonary fibrosis, interstitial lung disease, and others). In fact, supplemental oxygen is one of the relatively small number of treatments that has been clinically shown to prolong life in these conditions.1,2

However, anyone involved in the oxygen community knows that it is a land of confusion. Misunderstandings, inefficiencies, and unrealized potential are the orders of the day. People who need oxygen are often reluctant to use it as prescribed, because current devices can be bulky and cumbersome, and do not adapt to changes in breathing. Interfaces (like nasal cannulas) can be unpleasant to use and lead to painful experiences like skin breakdown. Distribution and delivery of equipment and consumables calls for an expensive, complex infrastructure, and during the COVID-19 pandemic that infrastructure has been shown to be susceptible to critical failures. Supply shortages and waiting lists have prevented people in many regions from getting the therapy they need and deserve.

The situation is not much better in the clinical and administrative areas. Confusion is also present in diagnostic and prescribing practices, leading to therapy plans that just do not work as well as they could. Complicated billing and reimbursement policies have made it difficult for DME companies to survive, let alone provide high-quality service and support to their communities. All these barriers combine to once again prevent people from accessing the right therapies for their needs.

Our Strategy

Our position is that the lack of progress and improvement in oxygen therapy has been influenced by two main factors: lack of input from people who use oxygen and their caregivers, and not enough communication between those groups who do have input. We will bridge those gaps first by gathering input from the community through our existing resources (like COPD360social and the US State Advocacy Captain Network), as well as new tools like surveys and focus groups. Some of the issues that our team has already identified include:

  • A lack of lightweight liquid oxygen options, particularly important for those who need high oxygen flow rates.
  • Inefficient, cumbersome batteries for portable concentrators
  • A lack of responsive ("smart") oxygen devices (for example, devices that adjust oxygen flow based on measurements like blood oxygen saturation or pulse rate)
  • Better patient interfaces with modern, skin-friendly materials

At the same time, we will use similar tools to get input from DME suppliers, manufacturers, and clinicians to understand the challenges they face in delivering high quality oxygen solutions, and we will consult with payers (including the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) and our Medical and Scientific Advisory Committee (MASAC) to develop new and better administrative and payment practices, as well as promote research to help improve clinical practice.

Our Goals

Of course, asking questions is not enough. After completing all this information-gathering, Oxygen360 will create and distribute a series of position papers aimed at setting priorities for what can be fixed quickly and help build momentum, what will take a little more effort, and what will take a long-term investment. These will include:

  1. A "Target Product Profile" describing ideal features of an oxygen delivery system (or systems), based on feedback from the patient/caregiver community.
  2. Clinical education solutions to give health care professionals the tools they need to appropriately prescribe and monitor oxygen therapy.
  3. Partnership frameworks that lead to impactful innovation in oxygen delivery and access well into the future

Ultimately, we aim to create solutions that work for all stakeholders in the oxygen community, and to do so in a way that is practical, sustainable, and equitable.

Our Team

Michael W. Hess MPH, RRT, RPFT

Mike Hess has been a respiratory therapist for 14 years. His first major foray into the world of COPD came in 2014, when he launched the Facebook group COPD Navigator. The group was one of the first clinician-run COPD-oriented groups on social media and provides objective, evidence-based best practice information to a variety of stakeholder groups in the COPD community to this day. For early research work demonstrating the efficacy of and satisfaction with COPD Navigator (and in support of other networks such as COPD360social), Mike was presented with a Young Investigator Award by the COPD Foundation at COPD9usa in 2015. The COPD Navigator ‘universe’ has since expanded to include a YouTube channel and website, providing education and social support to the entire COPD community.

Mike comes to the Foundation from WMed Health in Kalamazoo, Michigan, where he served as Chronic Lung Disease Coordinator. In this role, he was one of the first respiratory therapists to provide integrated diagnostics, patient education, and care coordination in a primary care clinic. At 2017’s COPD10usa, Mike presented data indicating significant and immediate quality of life benefit for the clinic’s COPD population through this model. In 2018, an interprofessional team led by Mike was awarded a subcontract through the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute’s Learn More, Breathe Better campaign to raise community awareness of COPD through a series of billboards and outreach events, as well as the City of Kalamazoo’s first-ever proclamation recognizing November as COPD Awareness Month.

On the personal side, Mike splits his time between his home in Kalamazoo, Michigan, where one of his three children is finishing high school, and Beaver Island, Michigan, where his wife Kelly Becker is a family nurse practitioner for the small rural community there. He is an avid science fiction fan and can usually find an appropriate quote from Star Trek or Battlestar Galactica for any situation.

Mike has long admired the dedication and efforts of the COPD Foundation. He is excited and honored to join the team and contribute to those efforts, and looks forward to improving access to needed therapies for all those living with COPD, bronchiectasis, and related conditions, as well as their caregivers, friends, and families.


Ruth Tal-Singer, PhD

Ruth Tal-Singer, PhD, President & Chief Scientific Officer at the COPD Foundation (consultant) is internationally recognized as an innovative, patient-focused and highly analytical health care leader and clinical scientist with extensive Research and Development experience. She has a proven history of successfully leading international public and private partnerships and non-profit organizations through critical advancements and progress of clinical trials and large observational cohorts. She is adept at building and maintaining partnerships between Pharma, patients, academia and governments. Her wide-ranging technical and scientific knowledge comprises molecular biology, immunology, application of digital technology and in vivo disease models (pre-clinical and clinical). Ruth led the initial clinical development of GSK’s inhaled anti-muscarinic portfolio, currently available to patients as umeclidinium bromide. She has authored 160+ peer-reviewed articles including highly-cited scientific publications (h-index 58). Ruth was the Industry Co-Chair of the COPD Biomarker Qualification Consortium (CBQC) from its inception in 2010 and up to her retirement from GSK in October 2019.

As President & Chief Scientific Officer at the COPD Foundation, Ruth is focused on working with the leadership team, our many partners and the Board on aligning the COPD Foundation strategy with its mission of Research, Community Support, Education and Advocacy.


John Linnell, BA

John is a COPD patient diagnosed in 2005. His career was in retail as a district manager and troubleshooter and then as a marketing director. He left the workforce in 2011. After engaging in an educational COPD internet film project and being asked to share his story at a pharmaceutical conference, John decided his experiences and efforts would be best spent in advocacy work for the COPD community.

He now sits on the board of directors of multiple organizations, including the US COPD Coalition, EFFORTS (an international support group for the COPD community) and Right2Breathe (a unique advocacy group that promotes lung health education and screening events at automotive and sporting events). For the COPD Foundation, John serves as an advocacy captain for the state of Wisconsin and on the governing board for the Patient-Powered Research Network. In addition, he is a patient reviewer for the Department of Defense’s Peer Review Medical Research Programs, and is a member of the American Lung Association Patient Advocacy Group.

His involvement in social media and interacting with other patients and caregivers led to a position of Research Associate with the Breathe Chicago Center at University of Illinois/Chicago. John is also a Co-investigator for a Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute-funded study at Johns Hopkins: Impact of a Peer Support Program Amongst COPD Patients and Their Caregivers.


Ana Maria Garcia, BS, MBA

Ana Maria (Annie) is a charismatic leader who at every opportunity attempts to add value and enhance the lives of others. She is an experienced senior executive with notable positions in both the United States and Europe with industry leaders including AT&T, Bank of America, Verizon, American Express, VISA International, and Johnson & Johnson.

One of her most treasured legacies is having built an award-winning Call Center for Customers with Disabilities, with both 911 service for the Northeastern United States, as well as a Relay Call Service (711) for New England. Relay is administered by the Federal Communication Commission for individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf/blind, or speech disabled.

Annie has been a valuable and successful corporate union contract negotiator with the unions of Communications Workers of America & International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, negotiating for thousands of representatives. Upon her retirement from the corporate world due to alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency and COPD diagnoses in 2002, she experimented with proprietorship of a nationally well-known franchise, Edible Arrangements.

Annie holds a BS degree in Business Administration from Florida International University and an MBA from Nova Southeastern University. She is fluent in English, Spanish, and French.


Bill Clark

Bill Clark is the Vice President of Patient Experience and COPD360social Community Manager for the COPD Foundation. A staff member of the Foundation since its early inception, Bill was instrumental in designing and implementing the COPD Information Line and Caregiver Line, the Coaches Corner, Faces of COPD and presently serves as Community Manager of COPD360social. Bill serves on several research committees as both a patient investigator or member and represents the Foundation at many events across the country as well as being a noted speaker on COPD.

Bill was diagnosed with Alpha-1, a genetic form of COPD, in 2003 and joined the staff of the COPD Foundation shortly after retiring from teaching. He is considered an authority on traveling with supplemental oxygen and Medicare issues affecting COPD patients and serves as the “patient face” of the Foundation. Bill is a regular contributor to many of the Foundation’s educational materials. He served on several committees in establishing Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute.


Want to get involved?

Contact Mike Hess, Senior Director of Public Outreach and Education – mhess@copdfoundation.org

Want to support Oxygen360? Donate here!

  1. Kvale PA, Conway WA, Coates EO. Continuous or nocturnal oxygen therapy in hypoxemicchronic obstructive lung disease. A clinical trial. Ann Intern Med. 1980;93(3):391-398. https://doi.org/10.7326/0003-4819-93-3-391
  2. Leggett RJ, Cooke NJ, Clancy L, Leitch AG, Kirby BJ, Flenley DC. Long-term domiciliary oxygen therapy in cor pulmonale complicating chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Thorax. 1976;31(4):414-418. https://doi.org/10.1136/thx.31.4.414