Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) have reintroduced the Palliative Care and Hospice Education Training Act (PCHETA), designed to bolster the field’s shrinking workforce with federal support.
If enacted, PCHETA would support hospice and palliative care training programs for physicians, nurses, pharmacists, social workers and chaplains. The bill would also expand continuing education and career development programs and incentives in these fields.
“After having served as my grandmother’s primary caregiver, I know the difference quality palliative and hospice care can make for a loved one who is battling a serious illness,” Baldwin said in a statement. “Our bipartisan Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act will make an overdue investment in education and research to ensure doctors, nurses, and health care professionals have the tools they need as they work tirelessly to keep patients with serious or life-threatening illnesses comfortable and safe.”
The legislation would establish fellowships through new palliative care and hospice education centers to provide short-term, intensive training, as well as incentivized award programs across all the relevant disciplines.
It includes provisions for additional training for medical school faculty and other health care educators, as well as provider resources for workforce development and nurse retention projects.
Beyond the staffing issue itself, PCHETA would also create new avenues for raising public awareness of hospice and palliative care.
This is the latest attempt to pass the bill, which has been reintroduced several times, most recently in May 2022, also by Baldwin and Capito.
“The need for high-quality palliative and hospice care services — which are vital for patients and their families—continues to grow, making passage of our bill needed now more than ever,” Capito said in a statement. “As a caregiver for parents that suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, I saw firsthand just how valuable these services can be. In order to preserve access to this care, our bill would strengthen training and education opportunities for individuals working in these fields.”