Capito’s bipartisan bill aims to bolster nationwide palliative and hospice care

U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) on July 10 introduced a bipartisan bill to improve and sustain palliative and hospice care, which is specialized medical care for people living with a serious illness that is focused on providing relief from their suffering.

“In order to preserve access to this care, we have to strengthen training and education options for individuals working in these fields, and that’s what this bill would do,” Sen. Capito said.

Sen. Capito is an original cosponsor of the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act (PCHETA), S. 2080, which she introduced with U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI).

“Having served as a caregiver for my parents living with Alzheimer’s disease, I understand how important palliative and hospice care is and appreciate how much support and comfort it provides to patients and their families,” said Sen. Capito. “I am proud to join my colleague Senator Baldwin in reintroducing this legislation that will help so many facing serious illnesses.”

If enacted, S. 2080 would increase the number of permanent faculty in palliative care at accredited allopathic and osteopathic medical schools, nursing schools, social work schools, and other programs, including physician assistant education programs, to promote education and research in palliative care and hospice, and to support the development of faculty careers in academic palliative medicine, according to the bill’s text.

Among the 10 other senators joining Sen. Capito as cosponsors of the bill are U.S. Sens. John Hoeven (R-ND) and Roger Wicker (R-MS).

Over the last decade, according to Sen. Capito’s office, the number of hospital-based palliative care programs has increased, but the number of available providers has not kept pace.

To address the issue, S. 2080 would establish Palliative Care and Hospice Education Centers to improve the interprofessional team-based training of health professionals in palliative care; create fellowship programs within these new education centers to provide palliative care courses; and offer grants or contracts to schools of medicine, teaching hospitals, and graduate medical education programs to train physicians who plan to teach palliative medicine, among other provisions.