NACDS Endorses Bills to Advance Patient Access to Palliative Care Services

October 15, 2014

PRESS RELEASE

Arlington, Va. (October 15, 2014) — Citing the importance of advancing education and training in the area of palliative care, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) endorsed three pieces of legislation that would help increase patient access to palliative care services and resources – specialized medical care for people with serious illnesses.

In letters to U.S. Senate and House bill sponsors and cosponsors, NACDS expressed support for H.R. 1339, the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act; S. 641, the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act; and H.R. 1666, the Patient Centered Quality Care for Life Act.

“As healthcare professionals on the frontlines of providing needed services to millions of Americans, we deeply understand the requirement for a comprehensive approach to pain management and the increasing need for palliative care,” NACDS wrote to lawmakers. “Access to palliative care services is essential and the need for these services has been growing in recent years, especially in the expanding Medicare and Medicaid populations. However, access to palliative care information and providers has not kept pace with the need for such services.”

The companion Senate and House bills S. 641 and H.R. 1339 would increase resources devoted to the education and training of palliative care professionals by establishing Palliative Care and Hospice Education Centers as well as bolstering resources in critical areas such as curriculum development, faculty training and retraining, continuing education, clinical training for students and training for advanced practice nurses.

“Providing an increased focus and additional resources on education and training for healthcare professionals would go a long way in ensuring that we meet the growing needs of pain care patients,” NACDS said in its letters regarding S. 641 and H.R. 1339.

H.R. 1666 would increase funding for the National Institutes of Health to conduct research for symptom management and palliative and survivorship care in order to improve quality of care as well as direct the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Health Resources and Services Administration to improve public outreach and advance the training of health professionals. This bill would also establish a national quality of life education and awareness grant program to assist seriously ill patients, as well as their families and health professionals.

“We believe the legislation would go a long way in addressing a crucial healthcare need and in the long term, help improve the quality of life of patients dealing with chronic pain issues,” NACDS said in its letter of support for H.R 1666.

In the letters, NACDS urged advancement in the House and Senate of all three bills in the interest of patients in need of palliative care services.

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NACDS represents traditional drug stores and supermarkets and mass merchants with pharmacies. Chains operate more than 40,000 pharmacies, and NACDS’ 125 chain member companies include regional chains, with a minimum of four stores, and national companies. Chains employ more than 3.8 million individuals, including 175,000 pharmacists. They fill over 2.7 billion prescriptions yearly, and help patients use medicines correctly and safely, while offering innovative services that improve patient health and healthcare affordability. NACDS members also include more than 800 supplier partners and nearly 40 international members representing 13 countries. For more information, visit www.NACDS.org.