By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Congressman Spencer Bachus (R) from Vestavia announced his support for bipartisan legislation intended to improve care for patients diagnosed with cancer and other serious illnesses on Thursday. The Patient Centered Quality of Life Act (H.R. 6157) was formally introduced in the House with Congressman Emanuel Cleaver (MO) as the lead Democratic sponsor and Congressman Bachus as the lead Republican sponsor.
Rep. Bachus said, “We know that more people are living for longer periods of time after being treated for cancer and other serious illnesses. But there are often gaps in the follow-up care they receive. Through better awareness and coordination of services, we can help people more easily resume daily life after difficult medical treatments. We can also reduce fragmentation that raises costs in our health care system. This is bipartisan legislation and I am pleased that it has received the endorsement of the American Cancer Society.”
The President of the American Cancer Society Action Network (ACS CAN), Chris Hanson said, “This legislation launches a national effort to improve the fragmented care that people with cancer and other serious diseases often receive and ensure a seamless experience delivered by doctors and nurses in a team-based approach that treats a patient’s pain and other symptoms along with the disease itself. With access to palliative care, patients’ quality of life is improved from the point of diagnosis and during treatment and follow up care.”
The purpose of the legislation is to increase the awareness and coordination of palliative care. The goal of palliative care is to relieve suffering and provide the best possible quality of life for people that are enduring the pain, stress, and symptoms of serious illnesses, such as cancer. This legislation has been endorsed by the American Cancer Society. Palliative care manages the pain and the symptoms of serious illnesses. Palliative care is appropriate at any stage of an illness and can be provided while other treatments are being given to attempt to cure the patient.
The legislation would establish a national stake holder strategic summit on palliative care. The bill also authorizes for the training of doctors and healthcare workers at federal agencies including the Centers for Disease Control, Department of Health and Human Services, and National Institutes of Health. H.R. 6157 purpose is to create a patient-centered quality of care initiative for seriously ill patients.
Congressman Bachus said that the University of Alabama at Birmingham serves as a national model for palliative care education. The National Institute of Health Pain Consortium designated UAB as is one of only eleven Centers of Excellence in Pain Education.
Representative Bachus is seeking his 11th term in the United States Congress. Congressman Bachus represents Alabama’s Sixth Congressional District. The veteran Congressman is being challenged in the fall election by retired US Air Force Colonel Penny Huggins Bailey from Leeds.