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On October 28, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed H.R. 647, the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act (PCHETA).  The Coalition for Compassionate Care of California (CCCC) commends the members of the House for supporting federal policies that improve and expand training to meet the growing demand for hospice and palliative care.   

PCHETA would expand opportunities for interdisciplinary education and training in palliative care, including through new education centers and career incentive awards for physicians, nurses, physician assistants, social workers, and other health professionals. The bill would also implement an awareness campaign, to inform patients and healthcare providers about the benefits of palliative care and hospice and the services available to support individuals with serious illness, as well as direct funding toward palliative care research to strengthen clinical practice and healthcare delivery.  

As an active member of the Patent Quality of Life Coalition (PQLC), CCCC has long advocated for PCHETA.  The PQLC is a group of over 40 organizations dedicated to advancing public policies that improve and expand access to palliative care and appropriate pain management for all patients. Coalition members represent patients, health professionals, and healthcare systems.

“This legislation represents an important first step in efforts to expand palliative care access for all Americans,” said CCCC CEO Judy Thomas. “We thank everyone who engaged in grassroots advocacy and reached out to their Representative to gather support.”   

PCHETA was introduced by Congressmen Eliot Engel (D-NY), Tom Reed (R-NY), Yvette Clarke (D-NY), Buddy Carter (R-GA), Frank Pallone (D-NJ), and Greg Walden (R-OR), and was co-sponsored by a bipartisan group of 294 House lawmakers. The bill’s passage in the House of Representatives clears the way for Senate consideration.

Older American Act Legislation Also Advances

On Monday, the U.S. House also passed the Dignity in Aging Act of 2019 (HR 4334), which would reauthorize the Older Americans Act (OAA) through 2024.  This important legislation is designed to update the OAA to respond to the challenges facing a growing generation of aging Americans. It would increase funding for all OAA programs, extend the authorization of the RAISE Family Caregivers Act to support family caregivers, and includes several other provisions that would increase the capacity of the law to serve those with serious illness. HR 4334 also has bipartisan support.

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