Capito’s bill supports training for more palliative, hospice care workers

U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) this week signed on as the lead original cosponsor of a comprehensive bipartisan bill to boost the palliative care and hospice workforce across America.

“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,” Sen. Capito said. “As a caregiver for parents that suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, I saw firsthand just how valuable these services can be.”

The Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act (PCHETA), S. 2243, which is sponsored by U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), aims to meet the nation’s growing need for such care by investing in training, education, and research.

“In order to preserve access to this care, our bill would strengthen training and education opportunities for individuals working in these fields,” said Sen. Capito. “I look forward to working with Sen. Baldwin and my colleagues in the Senate to pass this legislation.”

If enacted, S. 2243 would amend the Public Health Service Act to increase the number of permanent faculty in palliative care at accredited allopathic and osteopathic medical schools, nursing schools and other programs, including social work, physician assistant, and chaplaincy education programs, to promote education and research in palliative care and hospice, and to support the development of faculty careers in academic palliative and hospice care, according to the text of the bill.

The measure would focus on three key areas: workforce training, education and awareness, and enhanced research.

The legislation would support the training of interdisciplinary health professionals, including physicians, nurses, social workers, physician assistants, chaplains, and others in palliative care; support the training and retraining of faculty; and provide students with clinical training in appropriate sites of care, according to a bill summary provided by Sen. Capito’s staff.

The bill also would share research and information with patients, families, and health professionals about the benefits of palliative care and the services that are available to support patients with serious or life-threatening illnesses.

Additionally, S. 2243 would direct the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to use existing funds to expand palliative care research to advance clinical practice and improve care delivery for patients, the summary says.

Among the 12 other lawmakers who joined Sen. Capito as an original cosponsor of S. 2243 are U.S. Sens. Mike Rounds (R-SD) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN). U.S. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) on July 12 added her support as a cosponsor, as well.