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NAHC Supports Legislation to Boost Palliative Care, Education

Posted on Sunday, February 3, 2019 5:12 PM

NAHC has written a letter to Congress announcing their support for the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act (PCHETA), introduced in the House of Representatives last week as H.R. 647. This bipartisan legislation will make a difference in the lives of millions of patients living with serious or life-threatening illness and their caregivers.

Even though they receive a high level of medical treatment, seriously ill patients still experience unmet psychological needs, poor personal care, fragmented care and it places an enormous strain on their family caregivers.  Studies show that palliative care can improve symptom and pain control, quality of life and overall patient and family satisfaction.

“Delivery of high-quality palliative care cannot take place without sufficient numbers of health care professionals with appropriate training and skills. Students graduating from medical, nursing or health care professional schools today have very little, if any, training in the core precepts of pain and symptom management, advance care planning, communication skills, and care coordination for patients with serious or life-threatening illness. Further, there is a large gap between the number of health care professionals with palliative care training and the number required to meet the needs of the expanding population of seriously ill patients. PCHETA would go a long way towards bridging this gap by establishing education centers and career incentive awards to improve the training of doctors, nurses, physician assistants, social workers and other health professionals in palliative care.

PCHETA also aims to strengthen clinical practice and improve health care delivery for patients living with serious or life-threatening illness, as well as their families, by directing funding toward palliative care research. Research funding for palliative care and pain and symptom management comprises less than 0.1 percent of the National Institutes of Health annual budget. PCHETA would direct an expansion and intensification of research in these important areas.”

PCHETA was passed by the House in 2018, but the Senate never voted on it.  The hope is to get the House to revote on it and then get the Senate to vote on it and get the President to sign it into law.

Source: NAHC Report

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