WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV), a member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP), and the Special Committee on Aging, introduced bipartisan legislation with Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), entitled the Provider Training in Palliative Care Act (S.1921). This legislation would update the National Health Service Corps program to include palliative care medicine as an eligible primary care service.

“Countless patients facing serious illness or injury can benefit from the practice of palliative care,” said Senator Rosen. “Palliative care is an option that does not get the attention it deserves and is proven to improve outcomes as well as reduce the cost of treatment. This bipartisan legislation will help strengthen the skills of our medical workforce in Nevada and across the country to better meet the needs of patients and families in need, especially those in rural and underserved areas.”

“When a patient receives a serious medical diagnosis, the list of symptoms and side effects from the illness and its treatments can be extensive. For those patients, palliative care plays a significant role in minimizing pain and discomfort and maximizing quality of life,” said Senator Murkowski. “By officially recognizing palliative care as a subspecialty of public health services, we’re opening the door for those working in the industry to access the training they need to give their patients the quality care they deserve.  For a state like Alaska, which faces a shortage of palliative care physicians against a rapidly growing aging population, this change in terminology is important.”

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.

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