Lawmakers Remain Committed to Passing Hospice Workforce Bill

Federal legislators plan to continue to work on passing a bill designed to bolster the hospice and palliative care workforce.

The Palliative Care and Hospice Education Training Act (PCHETA) has come before Congress several times but has not yet been passed. The bill’s most recent development occurred in July 2023, when it was reintroduced by Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.).

Capito has indicated that the senators are not giving up on the legislation as they seek to ensure that hospice and palliative care providers are able to meet growing demand.


“Senator Baldwin and I are committed to getting this bill across the finish line so the next generation of hospice and palliative care providers can be trained,” Moore Capito told Hospice News. “As someone whose loved ones have benefitted from hospice care and palliative care, I know how important this care is to both the patient receiving the care and the patient’s family. Unfortunately, like so many areas of health care, hospices are being impacted by workforce shortages and I fear that this could impact the ability of patients and families to access this vital type of care. “

PCHETA was first introduced in 2017. If enacted, PCHETA would authorize $100 million over the course of five years to support programs designed to bolster clinical education in hospice and palliative care, along with related interdisciplinary professions such as chaplaincy, pharmacy and social work.

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 also would support programs to develop career paths within the field.


“PCHETA will help educate patients, families, and health professionals about the benefits of hospice and palliative care and the services that are available to support patients with serious or life-threatening illnesses so more Americans can take advantage of these important services,” Moore Capito said.

The training aspect is crucial to building the hospice and palliative care labor pool, as specialized training is often scarce.

The staffing shortage was a topic of conversation during Hospice Action Week, a lobbying event held last week by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) and the Hospice Action Network.

The road forward on the legislation may be running uphill due to competing priorities in Congress, according to Logan Hoover, vice president of health policy and government relations for NHPCO.

“I’m ever hopeful that we’ll be able to cross the finish line. But in this political environment, even easy, common-sense things are hard,” Hoover told Hospice News. “Even bipartisan things are hard, so there are headwinds going into this fall.”

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