FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – A measure designed to encourage the widespread adoption of palliative care to those who need it passed by a vote of 36-0 today in the state Senate.
Known as Senate Bill 149, the legislation would establish the Palliative Care Interdisciplinary Advisory Council within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. The groups would make recommendations on how to improve and expand palliative care and educate patients about their options.
“It is focused on providing patients with relief from the symptoms, strain and stress of a serious illness,” said sponsor Sen. Julie Raque Adams, R-Louisville. “Research points to palliative care results in extending survival. It is appropriate at any stage and any age of a serious illness and can be provided along with curative treatment.”
She said recent studies indicate that palliative care can provide substantial reductions in medical costs by closely matching treatments with the patient’s goals.
“When pain and stress are alleviated, the length of stay at hospitals can be reduced,” Adams said. “Having a team determine what services are truly needed can also reduce costs. And developing a transition plan for safe discharges results in less readmissions, translating to less costs.”
Sen. David P. Givens, R-Greensburg, spoke in support of the measure. He said the goal of SB 149 is to maximize the effectiveness of palliative care initiatives in Kentucky by ensuring comprehensive and accurate information is available to the public, health care providers and health care facilities.
“It is a difficult conversation, but it is one everyone should engage in,” Givens said. “The dignity that we want to give to so many also needs to be given to people who are dying – and it is a hard thing to do. It is a hard thing for our society and culture to accept, but it is something we are all going to face.”
SB 149 now goes to the House for consideration.
Media release from the Legislative Research Commission.