U.S. Pain Foundation’s Cindy Steinberg, National Director of Policy and Advocacy, has been leading a small workgroup focused on efforts at the federal level to advance the recommendations in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force Report.

In August, the chairs and ranking members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Health Subcommittee, and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee sent a letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar acknowledging the pandemic public health crisis we face, but reminding the secretary that we cannot lose sight of the other ongoing public health crisis of substance use disorder (SUD) and overdose, which has been exacerbated by the pandemic. These legislators asked the secretary for a briefing on the SUD crisis and recommendations on what more the federal government needs to do to address this crisis.

The letter provided the perfect opportunity to remind the committee of their work on the CARA, CURES, and SUPPORT Acts, which include provisions on pain management acknowledging the interrelationship of pain management and the SUD crisis and the fact that the Pain Management Best Practices Report has many excellent recommendations that have yet to be implemented.

A total of 49 organizations signed on to the letter to the chairs and ranking members of the full committee and relevant subcommittees with a cc to the full committee.

“We drafted a letter to the committee asking them to direct HHS to update federal policies and educational materials to include multidisciplinary pain management; to widely disseminate the Pain Management Best Practices report and its key findings to state public health departments, licensing boards, and medical societies throughout the country; and to conduct a public awareness and educational campaign to inform Americans about acute and chronic pain among other requests,” says Steinberg.

A total of 49 organizations signed on to the letter to the chairs and ranking members of the full committee and relevant subcommittees with a cc to the full committee.

“We offered constructive and necessary steps the committee could take to address the SUD and interrelated chronic pain epidemics, which continue and are likely being exacerbated due to delays in treatment while we focus on medical treatment for those affected by COVID-19,” says Steinberg.