Senate Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Ensure Access to Quality Hospice Care

Alzheimer's Association, AIM Endorses Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 10, 2019 — The Alzheimer's Association and its advocacy arm, the Alzheimer's Impact Movement (AIM), are proud to support the bipartisan Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act (PCHETA), after working closely with members on both sides of the aisle to develop and rally support around this important legislation. PCHETA was introduced in the U.S. Senate today by Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) after being introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives (H.R. 647) earlier this year by Representative Eliot Engel (D-NY) and Representative Tom Reed (R-NY). This legislation will provide palliative care and hospice workforce training programs for health care professionals, inform patients and families about the benefits of palliative care and available services, and enhance research on improving the delivery of palliative care.

“Palliative and hospice care is critical to individuals with Alzheimer's and other dementias. Thanks to the leadership of Senators Baldwin and Capito, the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act has been introduced in the Senate – which demonstrates a bipartisan commitment to improving the quality of care and quality of life for individuals living with Alzheimer's and their caregivers,” said Robert Egge, Alzheimer's Association chief public policy officer and AIM executive director. “The Alzheimer's Association and AIM have been strong supporters of this legislation and are grateful to see a growth in support with each new Congress. This is another example of the tireless work of our advocates, who continue to fight for this critical legislation and are the backbone of all we do.”

More than 5 million Americans of all ages are currently living with Alzheimer's. By 2050, this number is projected to nearly triple. Among seniors in hospice care, nearly 1 in 5 has a primary hospice diagnosis of Alzheimer's or another dementia. And, nearly half of all people with Alzheimer's and other dementias are in hospice care at the time of their death.

For people with advanced dementia, such team-based care improves quality of life, controls costs, and enhances patient satisfaction. While the availability of palliative and hospice care grows, the demand for coordinated care is growing at a far faster rate with the quality of care a concern. PCHETA would increase the availability and quality of care by establishing palliative care and hospice workforce training programs, creating a national education and awareness campaign about the benefits of palliative care and available services and supports, and enhancing research on improving the delivery of palliative care.

“I was raised by my maternal grandparents and later served as my grandmother's primary caretaker as she grew older, so this issue is personal to me, and I want to make a difference for families experiencing serious health concerns,” said Sen. Baldwin. “I'm proud to work across party lines and reintroduce the bipartisan Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act with my colleague Senator Capito. We must do more to grow our health care workforce to safeguard and improve the quality of care for the growing number of patients with serious or life-threatening illnesses.”

“Having served as a caregiver for my parents living with Alzheimer's disease, I understand how important palliative and hospice care is and appreciate how much support and comfort it provides to patients and their families,” Sen. Capito said. “In order to preserve access to this care, we have to strengthen training and education options for individuals working in these fields, and that's what this bill would do. I am proud to join my colleague Senator Baldwin in reintroducing this legislation that will help so many facing serious illnesses.”

Alzheimer's is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, and while deaths from other major causes of death have decreased significantly, official records indicate that deaths from Alzheimer's disease have increased significantly.

“People living with Alzheimer's and other dementias and their families face countless difficult decisions. The Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act will improve the quality and delivery of care for those with advanced and life-limiting disease, thereby easing some of the challenges faced by so many caregivers.” added Egge. “We urge Congress to move forward with passing this legislation for the benefit of everyone affected by Alzheimer's.

Alzheimer's Association

The Alzheimer's Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer's care, support and research. Our mission is to eliminate Alzheimer's disease through the advancement of research, to provide and enhance care and support for all affected, and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer's. For more information, visit alz.org.

Alzheimer's Impact Movement
The Alzheimer's Impact Movement (AIM) is the advocacy arm of the Alzheimer's Association. AIM works to develop and advance policies to overcome Alzheimer's disease through increased investment in research, enhanced care and improved support. For more information, visit alzimpact.org.

Contact:
Laura Cilmi, 202.638.8673, [email protected]