Exciting things are happening on the Hill for the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act (PCHETA)! As you may recall during the 115th Congress, PCHETA passed the house with bi-partisan support only to stall out in the Senate before the 2018 midterm elections. Only six months into the new Congress, the momentum for this legislation keeps building!

In fact, Indiana’s own Congressman Larry Bucshon signed on to cosponsor the bill just after Hosparus Health’s advocacy team had a thoughtful and productive meeting on the bill in his Evansville office! Not only is it hugely important that we have one of our own representatives supporting this bill, Congressman Bucshon is also a medical doctor by training and understands the importance of expanding access to high quality hospice and palliative of care to millions of Americans.

The Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act seeks to do just that in a number of ways. First, it establishes Palliative Care and Hospice Education Centers to improve the training of interdisciplinary health professionals in palliative care; develop and share programs relating to palliative care; support the training and retraining of faculty; support continuing education; provide students with clinical training in appropriate sites of care; and provide traineeships for advanced practice nurses.

To properly staff those centers, as well as high quality palliative care programs, the legislation creates grants to medical schools who are training doctors in the palliative care and hospice specialty. It also funds career grants to physicians who are early in their career who choose to practice hospice and palliative medicine, while providing infrastructure for short term, intensive programs to train physicians who have not necessarily specialized in hospice or palliative care.

The bill also acknowledges that it is essential that patients receive education on the availability of hospice and palliative care services by endowing a fund for outreach and awareness.

As a hospice and palliative care provider for urban and rural service areas caring for over 1300 patients every day, Hosparus Health is hopeful this landmark bill will finally pass both Chambers this year. PCHETA is a transforming piece of legislation that will change the way Americans view healthcare. It will expand access to high quality hospice and palliative care services for the seriously ill, something all Americans should be afforded.

We are looking forward to working with our lawmakers to make PCHETA a reality in the United States! Keep an eye out for action alerts and news as this bill works its way through Congress, we may need your help!