Palliative Care Legislation to Become Law in Tennessee

Rep. Sabi Kumar and Sen. Joey Hensley Legislation to Improve Patient Quality of Life Passed the Tennessee Legislature Yesterday and is on its Way to the Governor’s Desk

April 24, 2018

Nashville, TN–April 24, 2018–The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) commends the Tennessee legislature for improving the quality of life of cancer patients and their families through palliative care. ACS CAN is proud to have led the effort to pass this legislation in Tennessee. 

Through their firsthand experience as physicians, Rep. Sabi Kumar and Sen. Joey Hensley saw the benefits of an effective palliative care program. They also were members of the Palliative Care and Quality of Life Taskforce last year.

The goal of palliative care is to improve quality of life for both the patient and their family. It is provided by a team of doctors, nurses and other specialists who work with the patient’s primary care physician and other physicians providing disease treatment to deliver an extra layer of support.  It is appropriate at any age and at any stage of serious illness and can be provided along with curative treatment to help patients get well faster and easier.  

Most importantly, research indicates that palliative care systems improve health outcomes while reducing health care costs. Studies have shown coordinating patient care and treating pain and symptoms leads to increased patient and family satisfaction and decreases the time spent in intensive care units and the likelihood patients will be readmitted to hospitals.  

Rep. Kumar and Sen. Hensley’s legislation seeks to establish a palliative care and quality of life advisory council, which would bring together experts to address barriers to this option and identify innovative solutions for Tennessee. This council would emphasize provider training, patient awareness and overall access to palliative care.

“Currently many healthcare consumers do not know about palliative care and how it could benefit them,” said Jessica Brooks, Tennessee grassroots manager for ACS CAN. “This bill will increase the demand for a system of care that has proven quality of life outcomes. I urge Gov. Bill Haslam sign this legislation in to law as soon as possible and look forward to working with the council to improve quality of care in Tennessee.”

ACS CAN, the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, supports evidence-based policy and legislative solutions designed to eliminate cancer as a major health problem. ACS CAN works to encourage elected officials and candidates to make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer with the training and tools they need to make their voices heard. For more information, visit




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