Two-thirds of Americans will require some form of nursing facility or home care in their senior years. For many of us, this will include hospice or some other form of end-of-life care such as palliative medicine. Many people think of “death panels” or “do not resuscitate” orders when they think of end-of-life care, but there is a range of services and educational opportunities to help families understand the options and determine what is most appropriate for their loved ones as they approach the end of life.
The Build Back Better Act (BBBA) currently working its way through Congress includes important provisions related to end-of-life care. It will be unfortunate if these provisions do not make their way into the final bill, because they provide important resources, especially for healthcare providers and underserved communities.
Within the BBBA is the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act (PCHETA). This legislation was approved by the House of Representatives years ago but has sat unused ever since due to Senate resistance and complications. It is now being reconsidered and is expected to pass the House again, with a better chance to pass in the Senate weeks later.
Four important components of the Build Back Better Act are:
- Providing funding and opportunities for physicians and nurses who want to focus on hospice and palliative care.
- Improving government aid programs for patients, families, and communities of lower-income and underrepresentation.
- Directing more funds to people in rural areas and indigenous tribes who are more than likely to struggle to find medical and palliative care in their communities.
- Creating public education campaigns to spread awareness about government-supported end-of-life care programs.
If the BBBA is passed with PCHETA intact, then there could be massive improvements across the country for end-of-life care opportunities and programs, especially in medically underserved and low-income regions. As with any major bill, though, there will be back-and-forth moments among Congressmembers, so there could be some changes before it is passed and signed by President Biden. To keep up with important updates and news about this bill, be sure to visit the blog of Burnett Wilson Law often.