From the Desk of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization(NHPCO)
The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) and its advocacy affiliate, the Hospice Action Network (HAN) are pleased to support the reintroduction of the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act (PCHETA) in the U.S. Senate. This bipartisan legislation (S. 2243) would meet the growing demand for serious-illness care by investing in training, education, and research for the palliative care and hospice workforce.
The bill has been introduced by Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV). This bill is also co-sponsored by Senators Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Jack Reed (D-RI), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), John Boozman (R-AR), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), and Angus King (I-ME).
“Having served as my grandmother’s primary caregiver, I know the difference quality palliative and hospice care can make for a loved one who is battling a serious illness,” said Senator Baldwin. “Our bipartisan Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act will make an overdue investment in education and research to ensure doctors, nurses, and health care professionals have the tools they need as they work tirelessly to keep patients with serious or life-threatening illnesses comfortable and safe. This legislation will help more Americans get the training they need to provide palliative care, help strengthen our health care workforce, and also ensure those with serious illness get the care they deserve.”
“The need for high quality palliative and hospice care services—which are vital for patients and their families—continues to grow, making passage of our bill needed now more than ever,” said Senator Capito. “As a caregiver for parents that suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, I saw firsthand just how valuable these services can be. In order to preserve access to this care, our bill would strengthen training and education opportunities for individuals working in these fields. I look forward to working with Senator Baldwin and my colleagues in the Senate to pass this legislation.”
Palliative and hospice care focus on improving patients’ quality of life and relieving suffering from serious illnesses and pain management. Findings from a recent study on the Value of Hospice Care, by NORC at the University of Chicago, show that at any length of stay, palliative and hospice care benefits patients, family members, and caregivers, including enhanced quality of life, increased satisfaction, reduced physical and emotional distress, improved pain control.
“Every American facing a serious or life-limiting illness deserves access to quality hospice and palliative care. We desperately need to train more professionals in the field of palliative medicine. Without efforts to address the existing workforce shortage, there will be only one palliative physician for every 26,000 seriously ill patients by 2030,” said COO and interim CEO of National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, Ben Marcantonio. “Thank you to Senators Baldwin and Capito for your leadership in reintroducing the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act.”
PCHETA is a critical next step in training and education to address the healthcare workforce crisis as the American population continues to age.