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.
On Sept. 24, the Alliance to Advance Comprehensive Integrative Pain Management (AACIPM) hosted a virtual symposium, “Equity in Access to Comprehensive Integrative Pain Management in Chronic Pain,” in partnership with the U.S. Pain Foundation. Throughout the day, patients, providers, policymakers, and payors shared information and ideas to help bridge the gap between quality pain care and underserved communities.
Created by the U.S. Pain Foundation, MyPainPlan.org is an interactive site that allows users to learn about pain management options and create a personalized list of which treatments they’d like to try. The list can then be saved and/or printed for personal use or to share with a health care provider.
“As pain patients ourselves, we know it can be difficult to find credible information about treatment options all in one place,” says Nicole Hemmenway, CEO of U.S. Pain. “We created this site so that patients feel more empowered about the therapies available for relief. We also wanted to draw attention to the fact that the most effective pain care is individualized, multidisciplinary, and combines various treatment options.”
MIDDLETOWN, Conn., Aug. 31, 2020 — According to a survey of 1,581 individuals with chronic pain, the majority (94%) face barriers to pain management, whether because of cost, insurance limits, mobility issues, or other reasons. In particular, 72% of respondents were not able to afford multidisciplinary care options, the type of care widely viewed as best practice.
Released this week in honor of September as Pain Awareness Month, the survey is part of a national campaign to call attention to challenges in accessing pain management. The effort is a collaboration between the U.S. Pain Foundation, a nonprofit organization for the 50 million Americans with chronic pain, and Sunbeam®, a maker of electric appliances, including heat therapy products.
State legislative sessions across the country are now in full swing! Here are some major trends we’re seeing related to state pain policy, along with opportunities to take action. You can find all of our opportunities to act here. More will be added soon!
Affordable access to multidisciplinary care
An increasing number of states are looking for ways to expand affordable access to multidisciplinary pain management options, like massage, acupuncture, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and chiropractic care.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) opened a Request for Information (RFI) to solicit input into the development of an Action Plan on the opioid crisis and the treatment of acute and chronic pain as specified in the SUPPORT Act.
The deadline for comment was Oct. 11.
National Director of Policy and Advocacy Cindy Steinberg submitted on behalf of U.S. Pain Foundation, outlining 10 recommendations for ways CMS could improve pain care.
Efforts to disseminate and begin implementing recommendations from the new report from the Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force (PMTF), released in May, are underway.
Most notably, according to a June 3 report from Fox News, Sen. Lamar Alexander—chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee—said that he plans to hold a hearing before the committee that will focus on the task force’s findings. The pain community can take part in an action campaign to encourage a hearing by clicking here.
The new report on pain management, mandated by Congress and finalized on May 30, is an important milestone for people with pain. The report emphasizes the need for access to affordable, multidisciplinary care, and urges an individualized approach to pain management–instead of broad one-size-fits-all limits and policies.
But how do we move it forward from a piece of paper to actual change?
An incredible 6,000 groups and individuals stepped up to give feedback on the draft report from the Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force during the comment period that ended April 1. Among the groups was a coalition of pain-patient related organizations, including U.S. Pain Foundation, which submitted a united letter outlining their feedback.
On May 9 and 10, the task force will hold its last public meeting to vote on the final version of the report and discuss plans to disseminate it. The meeting will run from 10 am to 5:30 pm EST Thursday and from 9 am to 12 pm EST on Friday in Washington, D.C.