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(L-R) Michael Rabow, MD; Judy Thomas, JD; Adriana Hildalgo, Leslie Walker; Nate Hinerman, MD; and Dan Bernal

The value of palliative care and support for H.R.647, the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act (PCHETA) were the primary topics of discussion at a June 25 meeting between California leaders in palliative care and key staff members of U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.  CCCC’s CEO Judy Thomas was joined at the meeting in Speaker Pelosi’s San Francisco district office by Leslie Walker, Healthcare Options for Patient Empowerment; Nate Hinerman, PhD, Golden Gate University/UCSF; and Mike Rabow, MD, UCSF.  They met with Dan Bernal, Speaker Pelosi’s San Francisco Chief of Staff and Scheduler/Executive Assistant Adriana Hildalgo.

“Although Speaker Pelosi was in Washington, DC, and was not able to attend the meeting, it was a valuable opportunity to develop a positive relationship with lead members of the Speaker’s staff and to lay the foundation for increased understanding and support of palliative care,” Judy Thomas said of the visit.  “In particular, Pelosi’s staff appreciated hearing from Dr. Hineman, Ms. Walker and Dr. Rabow, who are all local constituents of Speaker Pelosi.  Leslie shared a personal story that fuels her passion for palliative care as a way to push back on the health system.  Mike expressed that even though the palliative care program at the UCSF Cancer Clinic is one of the largest in the nation, it is still only seeing 14% of the patients who are palliative care appropriate.  Nate talked about the increasing awareness and interest in palliative care among healthcare providers and patients.”

The visit with Speaker Pelosi’s staff was organized by CCCC to coincide with a series of federal grassroots efforts around PCHETA which are being led by the Patient Quality of Life Coalition (PQLC), including social media campaigns, letter writing, and a June 20 Washington, DC, Lobby Day during which more than 75 advocates from PQLC member organizations visited 103 Congressional offices.  CCCC is actively involved with PQLC’s efforts to gather additional legislative support for PCHETA and move the bill through Congress.

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