Despite the obvious need, it is predicted that over the next 20 years, while the demand for palliative care will grow by more than 20 percent, the palliative physician workforce will grow by only 1 percent. This falls far short of what we will need. If we are to deliver on the promise of a truly person-centered health care system as our country ages and more people live with more complex conditions, it is clear that we need to bolster the skills and ranks of the serious illness workforce.
The Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act (PCHETA) (S. 2243) would make transformative investments in this critical workforce by funding new programs and initiatives to increase specialty hospice and palliative knowledge and competencies across the health care system. PCHETA has been introduced in past congresses, and has garnered major bipartisan support in both the House and Senate. The legislation introduced in the 118th Congress, like previous versions, would:
- Create "Palliative Care and Hospice Education Centers", to improve the interdisciplinary team-based training of health professionals in palliative care, develop and disseminate tools relating to palliative care, and support the training and retraining of faculty at accredited medical schools, nursing schools, social work schools, and other programs (including physician assistant education programs)
- Provide grants to schools of medicine and nursing to support faculty and curricula development in hospice and palliative care topics
- Require a national public education campaign on hospice, palliative care, and other issues realted to living with a serious illness
- Direct the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to expand and intensify its palliative care research efforts.
Providers and faculty working in home health and hospice settings would be eligble for the educational support PCHETA would provide, and the legislation allows for training to take place in home and community-based locations.
We need Congress to finally get PCHETA over the finish line! Please reach out ot your elected officials and ask them to co-sponsor this critical legislation!