The US House of Representatives unanimously voted to approve HR 647, the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act (PCHETA), on October 28. This legislation would amend the Public Health Service Act to increase the number of permanent faculty in palliative care at accredited medical, nursing, and social work schools and other programs (including physician assistant education programs); promote education and research in palliative care and hospice; and support the development of faculty careers in academic palliative medicine. PCHETA now moves to the Senate where a similar measure, S 2080, has been referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. However, given the fast approaching deadlines for Congress to fund the government and reauthorize expiring programs, this legislation may not receive attention in the near term. We will continue to monitor the bill’s progress and keep you apprised of any new developments.
Proposed reforms to patent subject matter eligibility in the United States are once again making headlines. With advancements in medical device technologies and the increasing integration of software, patent eligibility considerations implicate a growing realm of medical devices. In a recent LawFlash, we address a draft bill in the US Congress that could broaden the range of patent eligible subject matter with implications for stronger commercialization of medical device technologies in the United States. We also discuss two recent letters to the US Senate that crystalize the growing debate over expanding patent eligibility with possible effects on medical device innovation, affordability, and availability.