Rosen, Barrasso, Baldwin, Fischer Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Expand Access to Palliative Care & Improve Quality of Life

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senators Jacky Rosen (D-NV), John Barrasso (R-WY), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Deb Fischer (R-NE), co-chairs and co-founders of the bipartisan Senate Comprehensive Care Caucus, introduced the Expanding Access to Palliative Care Act to provide comprehensive palliative care services much earlier in the course of illness, helping improve both the quality of care for patients and their families and the outcomes of treatment. This bipartisan bill would create a demonstration project within Medicare to allow palliative care to be covered concurrently with curative treatment for patients with serious illness or injury.

“Having stepped away from my career to care for my parents and in-laws as they aged, I am aware of the challenges that caretakers and patients face when trying to access palliative care services,” said Senator Rosen. “I’m introducing bipartisan legislation with my colleagues to help ensure patients are provided comprehensive palliative and health care services much earlier in the course of their illness. As a co-founder of the Senate’s Comprehensive Care Caucus, I’ll always find ways to improve the quality of life for patients and their families.”

“As a doctor, I have seen firsthand how important palliative care is for the comfort of patients and their families,” said Senator Barrasso. “Making sure patients have access to this care as soon as possible is critical to their quality of life. Our bipartisan bill ensures patients who need this care in Wyoming and across the country continue to receive the highest quality of care they deserve.”

“Having served as the primary caregiver for my grandmother as she got older, this issue is personal to me. Every American should be able to rest easy knowing that their loved ones are getting the high-quality care they need at a price they can afford,” said Senator Baldwin. “I’m proud to work with my Democratic and Republican colleagues to expand care options and improve the quality of life for patients who need treatment for serious illnesses.”

“Palliative care is a service that many families are using to improve quality of life and outcomes for their loved ones,” said Senator Fischer.  “Our legislation would ensure more of the public has affordable access to this vital care option sooner in their health care journey. I’m proud of the work our bipartisan caucus continues to do, and look forward to continuing to advocate for the needs of patients and their families.”

“There are many benefits in allowing patients to seek palliative support through early referrals. Our hospice and community-based palliative care providers are uniquely positioned to deliver this model of care. Their long standing expertise in advance care planning, pain and symptom management, interdisciplinary care and more, make these organizations ideal entities to deliver a model of care in support of people and families dealing with serious illness at home,” said Ben Marcantonio, COO and Interim CEO of National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. “Thank you to the Comprehensive Care Caucus for the bi-partisan support in prioritizing this critical service and introducing the Expanding Access to Palliative Care Act.”

“We continue to applaud the work of our allies in the U.S. Senate, particularly Senators Rosen, Barrasso, Baldwin and Fischer, who are again pushing for better approaches to provide more community-based palliative care, including assessment, care coordination, the use of team models, and advance care planning,” said John Broyles, CEO of the Coalition to Transform Advanced Care (C-TAC). “Their bill, the Expanding Access to Palliative Care Act, is another example of the leadership they have shown in assisting individuals with serious illness and their family caregivers, and in tackling the challenges of providing higher quality care that will produce savings from reduced emergency room visits and hospitalizations.”

Senator Rosen, as co-chair and co-founder of the Senate Comprehensive Care Caucus, has been leading the way on efforts to improve access to palliative care services. Senator Rosen previously led a bipartisan letter with her colleagues urging the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation to support concurrent palliative and curative treatment for beneficiaries with serious illness or injury. Senator Rosen also introduced the bipartisan Provider Training in Palliative Care Act to update the National Health Service Corps program to include palliative care medicine as an eligible primary care service.