Palliative care legislation proposes $44 million in education fellowships for nurses

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Recently introduced bills in the House and Senate seek to strengthen palliative and hospice care by expanding education programs and providing fellowships for healthcare professionals to train in these areas.

The Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act was introduced last Thursday by Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Jack Reed (D-RI), and Reps. Eliot Engel (D-NY) and Tom Reed (R-NY).

The legislation would award funds and contracts to help educational institutions beef up their palliative care and hospice programs. It would also allocate more than $44 million in fellowship money annually through 2018 for advanced practice nurses and other healthcare professionals seeking advanced degrees. Recipients would then agree to work for five years providing palliative or hospice care in a educational, home, hospice or long-term care setting.

The lawmakers stressed that palliative care must be enhanced to meet the needs of an aging population and to support an increasingly coordinated healthcare system.

“We must ensure there is a trained workforce capable of meeting the demands for new models of healthcare delivery,” Sen. Reed said.

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