Bill Would Invest in Palliative and Hospice Care Research and Education
The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) and its advocacy affiliate, the Hospice Action Network (HAN), welcomed the introduction of the Palliative Care & Hospice Education Training Act (PCHETA) today in the U.S. Senate. The bill, introduced as S. 4260 and cosponsored by Senators Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, would support research and education to develop hospice and palliative care medicine.
“Senators Baldwin and Capito understand that palliative and hospice care are essential components of the American healthcare system and worth investing in,” said Edo Banach, NHPCO president & CEO, and HAN president. “Like other parts of the healthcare sector, hospice and palliative care providers are in the midst of a long-term staffing crisis that got dramatically worse during the COVID-19 pandemic. PCHETA offers an important first step toward ensuring that we are developing the hospice and palliative care workforce of tomorrow, so we can continue offering the interdisciplinary, patient-centered, serious-illness and end-of-life care that Americans deserve.”
Estimates indicate that without additional investments, the palliative care and hospice physician workforce will grow a little over one percent in the next 20 years while the number of Americans eligible for these types of care will increase by more than 20 percent. PCHETA would begin addressing this growing gap by supporting relevant research and education programs, including learning centers, fellowships, and academic medicine.
Banach added, “PCHETA passed the House with more than 280 bipartisan cosponsors in the last two Congresses and was supported by more than 55 Senators – a feat not achieved by many bills anymore. However, despite overwhelming support from both sides, Congress has stalled on passing PCHETA and delayed much-needed investments in our nation’s hospice and palliative care workforce. NHPCO and HAN look forward to the bill’s introduction in the House and to working with our members and with Congress to pass PCHETA this session in order to train more doctors, nurses, and other health professionals in hospice and palliative medicine. At the same time, our country needs to step up to the reality that we are already in a healthcare workforce crisis, and it is going to get worse over the next 10-20 years as the American population continues aging. PCHETA is a down payment. We need a comprehensive plan for addressing this ongoing and growing emergency.”
Take action: Call on your Senators to invest in the hospice and palliative care workforce by cosponsoring PCHETA. HAN’s Legislative Action Center makes it easy: https://www.hospiceactionnetwork.org/take-action/#/65.
About NHPCO and HAN: NHPCO and the Hospice Action Network (HAN) – work closely together to make an impact. NHPCO sets the public policy agenda through its Legislative Affairs Committee. HAN implements the agenda through direct lobbying, grassroots advocacy, and by empowering Hospice Advocates to share their hospice story with Congress. Our mission at HAN is to advocate, with one voice, for policies that ensure the best care for patients and families facing serious illness and the end of life.