Engel Reintroduces Palliative Care & Hospice Education and Training Act

Engel Reintroduces Palliative Care & Hospice Education and Training Act

Washington D.C.— Congressman Eliot L. Engel, a top member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, has reintroduced the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act.

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.

“Every one of us has been touched by serious illness,” Engel said. “Whether we have been affected personally, or stood by a loved one, we all know how trying such situations can be for all those involved. I hope that the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act will bring us one step closer to relieving the stresses of illness and tremendously improving patients’ quality of life.”

“This critical legislation puts in place the building blocks of a national effort to improve the fragmented care patients with cancer and other serious illness often receive by addressing their pain and other side effects,” said Chris Hansen, president of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN). “Expanding access to palliative care will improve the quality of life of patients from diagnosis, through treatment and survivorship.”

“PCHETA will help build the healthcare workforce and evidence base necessary to appropriately support the expanding population of patients with serious illness or multiple chronic conditions and ensure they have access to timely, high-quality care,”  said American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM) president Janet Bull, MD MBA HMDC FAAHPM.  “We applaud Rep. Engel’s longtime leadership and focus on improving care and quality of life for these patients, as well as their families and caregivers.”

Congressman Tom Reed (NY-23) and Earl L. “Buddy” Carter (GA-01) are original cosponsors of this bill.

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