Congress Members Eliot L. Engel (D-NY), Tom Reed (R-NY), Yvette Clarke (D-NY), Buddy Carter (R-GA), Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ), and Greg Walden (R-OR), have reintroduced the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act (PCHETA).
This bill would expand opportunities for training in palliative and hospice care and offer incentives to attract and retain providers. In addition, through existing programs, the bill would create a national campaign to educate patients, families and health professionals about the benefits of palliative care. The legislation would also expand vital research on palliative care at the National Institutes of Health.
Palliative care complements efforts to treat or cure illness by focusing on patients’ quality of life. It is appropriate for patients with serious illnesses starting at the point of diagnosis, through treatment, and onward through hospice and the end of life. Palliative care entails communication with patients and their families to coordinate care, determine patient preferences, and assist with medical decision-making.
Despite the benefits of palliative care, many Americans aren’t aware of the supports available to them. There is also a shortage of educated providers who can offer quality palliative care. The Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act aims to address these issues.
PCHETA passed the House last Congress, but it did not get a vote in the Senate.
“Every one of us has been touched by serious illness,” Rep. Engel said. “Whether we have been affected personally, or stood by a loved one, we all know how trying those situations can be for all involved. Last Congress, the House passed the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act but it never received a vote in the Senate. My hope is that we can pass this bill again and get the Senate to act so that we will move one step closer to relieving the stresses of illness and tremendously improving patients’ quality of life.”
“I witnessed the benefits of hospice and palliative when caring for my Mother, and it is an issue that strikes close to my heart,” Rep. Reed said. “This bill will ensure that our aging loved ones have access to the proper and comfortable care they deserve as they reach those crucial final days with their family. Not only will quality of life be improved, but hospice care lowers health care cost making this legislation a win-win we should all support.”
“As family members, there are tough choices we must make for end-of-life care for our loved ones. The Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act is forward-thinking legislation that aids in educating patients, families, and caregivers and provides insight into how they can provide better quality of life for individuals with serious, painful medical illnesses. I look forward to working with my fellow colleagues to ensure we pass sound policy that places the necessary systems of support in place for patients and their families,” said Rep. Clarke.
“As a pharmacist for more than 30 years, I served as a pharmacy consultant for hospice care,” said Rep. Carter. “I saw firsthand the important impact that proper palliative care can have on patients and families going through incredibly difficult end of life decisions. This legislation ensures that there is a well-trained palliative care workforce available and ready for those individuals with serious illnesses. I am glad to again join this bipartisan group to reintroduce this important legislation.”
“This bipartisan bill will improve education, training, and research into palliative and hospice care,” Energy and Commerce Chairman Pallone said. “This important legislation will help ensure that we have the workforce to meet the growing need for quality end-of-life care. I commend my colleagues for their ongoing commitment to improving support and medical care for patients at the end of life.”
“This is a cause that’s near and dear to my heart, and I’m proud to be reintroducing this bill in the new Congress,” said Energy and Commerce Republican Leader Greg Walden. “The Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act will have a real impact on patients’ lives. I’ve heard about the importance of this bill from a broad coalition of supporters in my district, from palliative care specialists to patient advocates. The House passed this bill in the last Congress, and I will work with my colleagues this year to get it across the finish line and signed into law.”