U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) announced her support for legislation intended to increase, improve, and sustain the palliative and hospice care workforce in order to meet growing demand for this care.
Hyde-Smith is an original cosponsor of the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act (PCHETA), a bipartisan measure that would enhance care for Americans with life-threatening illnesses and their families.
“Our nation faces the unfortunate reality that it has a shortfall of palliative and hospice caregivers, which increases the burdens faced by those suffering from life-threatening illnesses, their families, and the healthcare system,” Hyde-Smith said. “This legislation recommends strong, proactive steps to begin correcting this imbalance.”
Medical research shows that palliative and hospice care have been associated with enhanced quality of life for patients, reduced hospital expenditures and lengths of stay, and longer patient survival time.
PCHETA (S.4260) focuses on three key areas to develop a healthcare workforce more closely aligned with evolving healthcare needs, including:
1. Workforce Training: Expand interdisciplinary training in palliative and hospice care by supporting education centers, curricula, and teachers, and by establishing programs to attract and retain providers.
2. Education and Awareness: Expand the distribution of resources to inform patients, families, and health professionals about the benefits of palliative care and services.
3. Enhanced Research: Direct National Institutes of Health 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.
U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) introduced S.4260, which was also cosponsored by Angus King (I-Maine), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Roger Marshall, M.D. (R-Kan.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Mike Rounds (R-S.C.) and Jack Reed (D-R.I.). The bill has been referred to the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee.
More than 50 organizations support PCHETA, including the Alzheimer’s Association, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, Catholic Health Association of the United States, Children’s National Health System, Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association, National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization Hospice Action Network, Oncology Nursing Society, Susan G. Komen, and others.