Advocates to Congress: It’s Time to Pass Palliative Care Legislation
Patient Quality of Life Coalition uses annual lobby day to push for passage of Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act
Washington, D.C. – Advocates and volunteers from the Patient Quality of Life Coalition (PQLC) will be on Capitol Hill today to share their stories with lawmakers as part of the coalition’s sixth annual lobby day. The PQLC includes more than 40 organizations that collectively work to advance the interests of patients facing serious illness by supporting policies that improve and expand access to high-quality palliative care services. Palliative care provides patients with serious or chronic illnesses an additional layer of coordinated support through a team of specialized professionals, ultimately giving them more control in managing their disease and symptoms and leading to better health outcomes.
More than 80 PQLC volunteers from 23 states and the District of Columbia will meet with their member of Congress today and ask for their support of the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act (PCHETA), bipartisan legislation that would expand and intensify federal research for palliative care services, including symptom and pain management, and would establish palliative care education and training programs for doctors, nurses and other health professionals. It would also create a national public education and awareness campaign to educate patients and providers about the availability and benefits of palliative care.
PCHETA unanimously passed in the House of Representatives in the 115th Congress and currently has broad bipartisan support with over 220 House co-sponsors.
“As a result of the coordinated work of the PQLC and our volunteers over the last six years, Congress is increasingly recognizing the beneficial role palliative care services can play for patients living with serious illnesses like cancer,” said Keysha Brooks-Coley, vice president of federal advocacy for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) and chair of the PQLC. “Through PCHETA, we look at pain and symptom management through a holistic lens that will not only improve patients’ quality of life but will also build a robust workforce dedicated to providing comprehensive care from the moment of diagnosis. It’s time lawmakers take another step forward by passing PCHETA through both chambers of Congress to give patients and families access to more coordinated care that will improve future health outcomes.”
“The PQLC’s annual lobby day brings together key stakeholders working to advance PCHETA and help ensure access to high-quality palliative and hospice care for the expanding and diverse population of patients with serious illness or multiple chronic conditions, as well as their families and caregivers,” said American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM) president Joanne Wolfe, MD MPH FAAHPM. “We commend the bipartisan congressional champions who have led the effort to develop a well-trained, sustainable hospice and palliative care workforce and will continue to work toward passage of this critically important legislation.”
The Patient Quality of Life Coalition was formed to advance the interests of patients and families facing serious illness, including survivors. The Coalition includes more than 40 organizations dedicated to improving quality of care and quality of life for these adults and children. The Coalition has developed a consensus-based agenda aimed at promoting public policy that will improve and expand access to high-quality palliative care.
About ACS CAN
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) is making cancer a top priority for public officials and candidates at the federal, state and local levels. ACS CAN empowers advocates across the country to make their voices heard and influence evidence-based public policy change as well as legislative and regulatory solutions that will reduce the cancer burden. As the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN is critical to the fight for a world without cancer. For more information, visit www.fightcancer.org.
The American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM) is the professional organization for physicians specializing in Hospice and Palliative Medicine (HPM). AAHPM’s membership also includes nurses, social workers, and other health and spiritual care providers committed to improving quality of care and quality of life for patients facing serious illness, as well as their families and caregivers. For more than 30 years, AAHPM has been dedicated to expanding access to high-quality palliative care and advancing the discipline of HPM through professional education and training, development of a specialist workforce, support for clinical practice standards, research, and public policy. Visit aahpm.org for more information, and check PalliativeDoctors.org to learn about palliative and hospice care.