August 6, 2015

SCHS visits with Congressional leaders to urge support of new palliative care legislation

Sisters of Charity Health System Director of Government Affairs and Public Policy Kyle Miller joined representatives from the Catholic Health Association and the Supportive Care Coalition July 22 for the Patient Quality of Life’s Lobby Day in Washington, D.C. There, they met with members of Congress and their staffs to share information about palliative care and discuss pending related legislation.

The lobby day included 63 individuals from 19 states representing groups who are part of the Patient Quality of Life Coalition. Miller and others explained the need for increased access to palliative care and how the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act (H.R. 3119) would help.

The Patient Quality of Life Coalition was formed to advance the interests of patients and families facing serious illness. It includes more than 25 non-governmental organizations dedicated to improving quality of care and quality of life for these adults and children. The coalition has developed an agenda aimed at promoting public policy that will improve and expand access to high-quality palliative care.

“Palliative care is the relief of pain and suffering for individuals living with serious illness. It’s a team–based approach, providing an extra layer of support at any age or stage of illness, often together with curative treatment. Palliative care has shown increased satisfaction for patients and families and reduced hospital costs per day,” said Sister Rosemarie Carfagna, OSU, senior vice president, mission and ministry, Sisters of Charity Health System.

The Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act is a bipartisan bill that would provide new resources for palliative care research, professional training, education and public outreach to help expand the availability of palliative care for all patients and families facing serious or life-threatening illness.

“Our goal for the day of lobbying, in addition to education surrounding patient quality of life, was to ask for co-sponsorship of the bill to ensure bipartisan support, which we did. The day went well,” said Miller.

The Sisters of Charity Health System is a member of the Supportive Care Coalition, which includes Catholic health ministries that envision palliative care as a hallmark of Catholic health care through which God’s healing love is revealed. The coalition promotes a culture in which all persons living with or affected by a serious illness receive compassionate, holistic and coordinated care.

To contact your member of Congress to advocate for this important legislation, please visit the health system’s e-advocacy page. To learn more about palliative care, read “Palliative Care: What and Why” from the Catholic Health Association of the United States.

Pictured (left to right) are Lisa Smith from the Catholic Health Association, Rep. Mike Coffman (Colorado), Colleen Scanlon from Catholic Health Initiatives, Sean Lally from the Partnership for Palliative Care, and Kyle Miller.

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From its Cleveland headquarters, the Sisters of Charity Health System provides oversight, leadership and strategic direction to more than 20 organizations responding to community needs in Canton and Cleveland, Ohio, and South Carolina.

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