House approves palliative and hospice care act, as physician shortage looms

Oct 30, 2019

The U.S. House of Representatives has unanimously passed a bipartisan bill co-authored by Southern Tier Republican Tom Reed to create federal programs to train a new generation of hospice and palliative care providers.

Reed said the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act will allow for more people to be cared for, while the costs decrease.

Credit J. Pat Carter / AP

"The quality of life of those patients goes up, the quantity of life left goes up and the overall cost on the system goes down," Reed said, "because most of the time that care is provided in a home setting, not in an institution, and obviously, if you can provide health care in folks' homes, you have a corresponding decrease in cost."

Reed has authored such a bill every year since 2011. He commended the House for its unanimous passage Wednesday.

"By 2030, we are showing that for every 26,000 seriously ill individuals in America that there will be only one physician available to provide palliative and hospice care to those individuals," he said. "So if you have one physician for every 26,000 potential American citizens that are eligible for this care, clearly you can see the disconnect."