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July 18, 2023

King Cosponsors Bipartisan Bill to Improve Healthcare Options for Ailing Maine People

Maine Hospice Council welcomes legislation from Senator

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) is cosponsoring bipartisan legislation to strengthen Maine’s healthcare workforce as the need grows for end-of-life services. The Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act (PCHETA) will support the well-being of Americans with terminal illnesses by investing in training, education, and research for the specialized care. The bill aims to attract more people into the field – which is seeing a widening workforce shortfall – while expanding resources to retain current workers.

Palliative and hospice care focuses on relieving patients’ suffering from serious illnesses and improving their quality of life. Medical research shows that palliative and hospice care have been associated with enhanced quality of life for patients, reduced hospital expenditures and lengths of stay. As palliative care needs increase, the number of professionals and providers needed to fulfill patient needs has not kept pace.

“Palliative and hospice care provides vital, personalized quality of life services for Maine people facing serious illnesses,” said Senator King. “As the need for this care grows, it’s important that we continue to invest in the proper resources and workforce for the field. This bipartisan legislation will train more people to perform services for Maine people with life-threatening illnesses, help the workforce keep up with evolving needs, and provide much-needed support to families taking care of their loved ones.”

"During his years in the Senate, we are very proud to say Senator King has been a staunch supporter of quality end-of-life and palliative care. Once again, his willingness to co-sponsor PCHETA, the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act, is yet another example of his commitment,” said Kandyce Powell, Executive Director of Maine Hospice Council and Center for End-of-Life CareSenator King realizes that the healthcare system needs more clinicians trained in these interdisciplinary, high quality, cost-effective approaches to care.  He also realizes that these services need to be accessible to all families, especially in a rural state like Maine. On behalf of the Maine Hospice Council and Center for End-of-Life Care, as well as members of the Palliative Care and Quality of Life Advisory Council, we wish to extend our deepest gratitude to Senator King, for his unwavering support."

The Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act will help build a health care workforce more closely aligned with the nation’s evolving health care needs and improve care and quality of life for millions of Americans facing serious illness by focusing on three key areas:

  • Workforce Training: Ensure we have education centers, curricula, and teachers to expand interdisciplinary training in palliative and hospice care and establish programs to attract and retain providers.
  • Education and Awareness: Share resources and information to ensure that patients, families and health professionals are informed about the benefits of palliative care and the services that are available to support patients with serious or life-threatening illness.
  • Enhanced Research: Direct NIH to use existing authorities and funds to expand palliative care research to advance clinical practice and improve care delivery for patients with serious or life-threatening illness.

The bipartisan legislation is co-sponsored by U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Jack Reed (D-RI), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), John Boozman (R-AR), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Maria Cantwell (D-WA).

Senator King has consistently worked to build a stronger healthcare workforce and provide better care to Maine’s seniors and people in need. In the American Rescue Plan and Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill he billions broadband funding to help more Maine seniors access life-saving services like telehealth. Senator King also helped to pass the Inflation Reduction Act which included long awaited drug pricing reform, including lowering the costs of insulin and an out-of-pocket cap for adults on Medicare.

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