Duncan Visits DC As Member Of National Public Policy Committee Of Palliative Doctors

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Dr. Deanna Duncan, MD of Hearth Hospice was selected to visit the nation’s capital to endorse a bill that addresses the shortage of palliative care trained physicians throughout the country.  As a member of the National Public Policy Committee of The American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Doctors, and the only member from Tennessee, Dr. Duncan was flown to DC to support the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act in hopes that it will be a solution to the shortage of palliative care trained physicians in the face of a booming aging population. 

If passed, the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act would award grants or contracts for the establishment or operation of Palliative and Hospice Education Centers throughout the nation.  Such centers would improve the training of health professionals in palliative care and would support the training and retraining of faculty to provide instruction in palliative care.  Additionally, continuing education and clinical training would be required of health professionals and students.

“Palliative care is different from hospice because it is provided to patients at any stage of serious illness and is offered with aggressive treatment,” said Dr. Duncan.  “This specialized treatment is essential in assisting patients and family members with emotional support, pain control, and communication.” 

While in D.C., Dr. Duncan met with U.S Congressman Phil Roe, M.D, who supports a similar bill called Personalize Your Care Act.  The bill aims to establish statewide programs for physician orders for life-sustaining treatment, or expand or enhance existing programs for physician orders for life-sustaining treatment.  

Dr. Duncan said, “The Public Policy Committee of Palliative Doctors has endorsed the Personalize your Bill Act in hopes that it will shed light on the urgent need for physicians trained in this area of care.  Together, with Congressman Roe and other elected officials, we hope to create a sustainable solution to the shortage and better care for the aging population.” 

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