Reinforcing a commitment that palliative care is a priority, U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) reintroduced the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act (PCHETA), an ONS health policy priority that benefits both patients and healthcare providers, in July 2023. The bipartisan legislation would bolster the palliative care and hospice workforce and meet the increasing need for care by investing in training, education, and research.

The current legislation focuses on three key areas:

  • Workforce training: Supports the training of interprofessional health providers, including physicians, nurses, social workers, physician assistants, chaplains, and others in palliative care; supports the training and retraining of faculty; and provides students with clinical training in appropriate sites of care.
  • Education and awareness: Shares research and information with patients, families, and healthcare professionals about the benefits of palliative care and services to support patients with serious or life-threatening illnesses.
  • Enhanced research: Directs the Department of Health and Human Services to use existing authorities and funds to expand palliative care research to advance clinical practice and improve care delivery for patients with a serious or life-threatening illness.

“Having served as my grandmother’s primary caregiver, I know the difference quality palliative and hospice care can make for a loved one who is battling a serious illness,” Baldwin said. “Our bipartisan PCHETA will make an overdue investment in education and research to ensure doctors, nurses, and health care professionals have the tools they need as they work tirelessly to keep patients with serious or life-threatening illnesses comfortable and safe. This legislation will help more Americans get the training they need to provide palliative care, help strengthen our healthcare workforce, and ensure those with serious illness get the care they deserve.”

“The need for high quality palliative and hospice care services—which are vital for patients and their families—continues to grow, making passage of our bill needed now more than ever,” Capito said. “As a caregiver for parents that suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, I saw firsthand just how valuable these services can be. In order to preserve access to this care, our bill would strengthen training and education opportunities for individuals working in these fields. I look forward to working with Senator Baldwin and my colleagues in the Senate to pass this legislation.”