Tuesday, September 6, 2016

PCHETA has a date with a subcommittee! Thank your rep!

by Christian Sinclair

Hey all you hard-working palliatricians and hospice clinicians, we have some pretty exciting news for you! This Thursday Sep 8th, the Palliative Care Hospice Education and Training Act (PCHETA - H.R. 3119/S. 2748) is going on a first date with the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Health (who even has their own hashtag #SubHealth).

So what does this mean? This legislative hearing includes PCHETA and 4 other bipartisan bills focused on improving public health that are being considered for further advancement to the full committee level and eventual consideration in the house. If it goes well, we are one step closer to seeing the goals of PCHETA realized.

What is PCHETA again? We have talked about PCHETA here before, you may have seen it on our social media channels, or heard about it from the many organizations that support it (AAHPM, NHPCO, HPNA, CAPC, SWHPN, American Cancer Society, Alzheimer's Association, American Geriatrics Society, and many others.) But we forgive you if you cannot recall what PCHETA will do.

Basically, PCHETA focuses on increasing Education, Awareness and Research on palliative care and hospice with an interprofesisonal theme (support all the disciplines!). With bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate, and strong voices from patient advocacy groups and groups outside hospice and palliative care, we have a good chance to make a difference*. (You can read the full bill here or get the easy summary from AAHPM.)

So what can you do? First, accept my thanks for doing the strong work everyday. Second, recognize that we can't change the world without advocating for our patients, families, and peers outside of our everyday clinical interactions. So lastly , please consider contacting your legislators. If they are on the House Subcommittee of Health, let them know why this matters. If they have already supported PCHETA as a co-sponsor, then thank them and let them know, that you know this House Subcommittee is coming up! AAHPM has an easy way to contact your legislator, so take 5 minutes and make an impact.

Christian Sinclair, MD, FAAHPM is a palliative care doctor and editor of Pallimed. And is still learning about the long slog it takes to see legislation turn into action.

*Although GovTrack gives the prognosis** of being enacted as 7%. We can do better than that!
** Yes they do call it a prognosis. Not being ironic.

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