Palliative Care Legislation Moves Forward in Congress

ACS CAN Calls for Full House Energy and Commerce Committee and Full House of Representatives to Take Timely Action

June 27, 2018

Washington, D.C. – Today the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health is scheduled to markup the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act (PCHETA). The bipartisan bill would increase federal research funding for palliative care, 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.

A statement from Chris Hansen, president of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), follows:

“We’re pleased to see the House subcommittee’s commitment to legislation that will improve the quality of life for cancer patients and others living with serious illnesses. For the past six years ACS CAN has led the charge to raise awareness about the critical need for investment in policies that will improve and expand access to palliative care and appropriate pain management. Today’s markup of PCHETA is a noteworthy step forward in that effort.

“In addition to providing new resources to expand and update pain and symptom management training for health care providers, PCHETA would also bolster federal pain research efforts at the National Institutes of Health that could result in new, non-addictive pain treatments. This research could give health care providers alternative therapies they can provide to cancer patients, and others with serious illness who need access to pain medications.

“ACS CAN and the Patient Quality of Life Coalition recently released data that shows nearly half of cancer patients and more than half of those with other serious illnesses have experienced barriers to accessing their needed pain treatment in the last two years. Congress must address the misuse and abuse of opioid medications in a balanced way that preserves the ability of cancer patients and survivors to access necessary and appropriate pain care. The PCHETA legislation should be a part of that effort.

“ACS CAN calls on the subcommittee to pass the bill, and for the full Energy and Commerce Committee and the full House of Representatives to quickly take up and pass PCHETA."


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