During HELP Committee Hearing, Rosen Discusses Need to Advance Palliative Care with FDA Nominee


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV), a member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), spoke with Dr. Stephen Hahn, the Administration’s nominee to serve as the Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on the need to advance palliative care as a means to benefit patients. 

“I want to make sure that patients with serious illnesses are treated in a comprehensive way that includes focusing on reducing stress and alleviating pain. I was glad to launch the bipartisan Senate Comprehensive Care Caucus with Senators Barrasso, Baldwin, and Fischer as my co-chairs. We are using this as a way to improve access to palliative care and care coordination, and address issues impacting caregivers,” said Senator Rosen. “I know the importance of this firsthand, for example, near the end of her life, my mother suffered from a tumor on her spine in need of palliative radiation therapy.  This was very important for improving her quality of life.”

“What else could FDA be doing to advance options for palliative care, and how can we balance the variety of patient needs, including that of palliative care, when we look at how FDA evaluates drugs and devices for safety and efficacy?” asked Senator Rosen.

BACKGROUND: According to the National Institute on Aging, palliative care “can be helpful at any stage of illness and is best provided from the point of diagnosis.” Palliative care works well alongside curative treatment for a range of conditions and helps complete the circle of meeting a patient’s needs as a whole. Reduced discomfort and disability, better care coordination, and improved outcomes are all positive aspects of integrating palliative care.

In July, Senator Rosen launched the bipartisan Comprehensive Care Caucus, with co-chairs Senators John Barrasso (R-WY), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Deb Fischer (R-NE). The purpose of the Comprehensive Care Caucus is to raise the public’s awareness and promote the availability and benefits of palliative care, while also finding bipartisan solutions to expand access to palliative care services, improve coordinated care, and address issues impacting caregivers.

In June, Rosen introduced the bipartisan Provider Training in Palliative Care Act (S.1921) with Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). This legislation would update the National Health Service Corps program to include palliative care medicine as an eligible primary care service. Rosen recently toured Nathan Adelson Hospice to learn about services offered to patients and families as part of its comprehensive palliative care program.