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HOUSE PASSES REED SPONSORED BIPARTISAN BILL TO IMPROVE CARE FOR PATIENTS SUFFERING FROM SERIOUS ILLNESSES

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Washington, October 30, 2019 | comments

The House of Representatives has unanimously passed the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act (PCHETA), H.R. 647, authored by Tom Reed and Congressmen Eliot L. Engel and Buddy Carter (R-GA). This legislation would create programs to train the next generation of hospice and palliative care providers, educate patients about the benefits of hospice and palliative care, and expand research in these fields. This bill passed with 296 bipartisan cosponsors and endorsements from 54 national organizations. 

“I witnessed the benefits of hospice and palliative when caring for my Mother, and it is an issue that strikes close to my heart," Tom said. "This bill will ensure 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.”

“Serious illnesses have touched the lives of nearly every American,” said Congressman Engel. “Most Americans, however, are unaware of hospice and palliative care which can markedly improve the health of those afflicted by serious diseases. The bipartisan, bicameral Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act, which I have authored every Congressional session since 2011, will increase access to these vital services. I commend the House for passing my legislation today, which will bring us one step closer to improving care for those suffering from severe ailments.” 

“As a pharmacist for more than 30 years, I served as a pharmacy consultant for hospice care,” said Congressman 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. I’m very glad this legislation passed the House today as it ensures that there is a well-trained palliative care workforce available and ready for those who need it.”

“We commend Representatives Engel, Reed and Carter for their leadership in expanding opportunities for interdisciplinary education and training in palliative care,” said Joanne Wolfe, MD MPH FAAHPM, President of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. “PCHETA will lead to great improvements in quality of care and quality of life for the growing and diverse population of patients with serious illness or multiple chronic conditions, as well as their families and caregivers.”

"On behalf of the hospice and palliative care provider community, I want to extend our appreciation to Representatives Engel, Reed and Carter for their leadership and to the entire House for their vote to support federal policies that improve and expand training to meet the growing demand for hospice and palliative care," said National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization President and CEO Edo Banach. "Based on current predictions, the number of Americans facing serious, advanced or life-limiting illness is growing at a dramatic rate. Increasing the number of professionals in these vital person-centered care fields will mean that even more Americans and families can benefit from this care that supports physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual health."

“For millions of cancer patients and their families, palliative care can play an essential role in improving their quality of life from diagnosis through treatment and survivorship,” said American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) president Lisa Lacasse. “Today’s passage of the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act is a measurable step forward in our shared effort to increase access to palliative care services. We commend Reps. Engel, Reed and Carter for their unwavering commitment to this cause.  Expanding access to supportive care that treats the whole patient, not just their disease, is crucial for cancer patients, survivors and their families.”

“Palliative care is focused on providing patients with relief from the symptoms, pain and stress of serious illness – whatever the diagnosis – with the goal of improving quality of life for both the patient and their family.  The Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act (PCHETA – HR 647) makes a critical contribution to ensuring that all patients and their families are provided the support and dignity they deserve,” Sister Mary Haddad, RSM, President and CEO Catholic Health Association of the United States

The Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act focuses on three key areas: 

1. Workforce Training: Ensure we have education centers, curricula, and teachers to expand interdisciplinary training in palliative and hospice care and establish programs to attract and retain providers. 

2. Education and Awareness: Provide for a national campaign to inform patients, families and health professionals about the benefits of palliative care and the services that are available to support patients with serious or life-threatening illness. 

3. Enhanced Research: Direct NIH to use existing authorities and funds to expand palliative care research to advance clinical practice and improve care delivery for patients with serious or life-threatening illness. 

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