Expanding the Hospice and Palliative Care Workforce
As the population ages, the number of people living with serious, complex and chronic illness is increasing, bringing a similar rise in patient and health system need – and demand – for palliative care. However, delivery of high-quality palliative care cannot take place without sufficient numbers of healthcare professionals with appropriate training and skills, and there is currently a significant shortage of trained providers.
AAHPM believes policymakers can help build a healthcare workforce more closely aligned with the nation's evolving healthcare needs through efforts to close the large gap between the number of clinicians with palliative care training and the number required to care for the expanding population of patients with serious illness or multiple chronic conditions.
Interdisciplinary Education and Training
AAHPM has developed legislation to expand opportunities for interdisciplinary education and training in palliative care: the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act (PCHETA).
PCHETA would create new education centers and establish career incentive awards for physicians, nurses, physician assistants, social workers and other health professionals. The bill would also implement an awareness campaign to inform patients and health professionals about the benefits of palliative care and hospice and the services available to support patients with serious or life-threatening illness, as well as direct funding towards palliative care research to strengthen clinical practice and health care delivery.
Graduate Medical Education
AAHPM believes that reforming the nation's graduate medical education (GME) system to support fellowship training in Hospice and Palliative Medicine and grow the HPM physician workforce is essential to meeting the "triple aim" of health care reform.
Access the Academy's GME Policy Statement and Recommendations.
The Academy also has endorsed the Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act (H.R. 2267 / S. 1301 in the 115th Congress). This legislation would increase Medicare-funded residency positions—direct graduate medical education (DGME) and indirect medical education (IME) slots—by 15,000 over five years and set aside at least half of the positions for shortage specialties.
In addition, the bill would require the National Health Care Workforce Commission to submit a report to Congress identifying physician shortage specialties and direct the U.S. Government Accountability Office to study strategies for increasing health professional workforce diversity.