Should We Include Palliative Care in the Reform Debate?

Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media , July 9, 2009

But, other pieces of legislation have emerged which might give the use of palliative care a boost including a bill from Senators Jay Rockefeller IV (D WV) and Susan Collins (R ME) who reintroduced an expanded version of their Advance Planning and Compassionate Care Act in May that calls for:

  • Improving consumer access to hospice and palliative care through consumer information.
  • Requiring the development of quality measures to assess end of life care.
  • Developing and implementing accreditation standards and processes for hospital based palliative care teams.
  • Establishing the National Center on Palliative and End of Life Care at the National Institutes of Health.

So in the great debate about cutting costs through health reform, maybe it's time to consider how to do it compassionately toward the end—when patients need it the most—through palliative care.

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Janice Simmons is a senior editor and Washington, DC, correspondent for HealthLeaders Media Online. She can be reached at

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