Comments on new federal recommendations on pain are due April 1 at 11:59 pm EST.

A high-ranking federal task force has released its much-anticipated draft report with recommendations for improving the management of chronic and acute pain. The public is being asked to provide feedback on the report by April 1 at 11:59 pm EST.

In this toolkit, you’ll find information about:

  • The task force
  • The report
  • How to submit comments
  • Tips for submitting comments

About the task force

The Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force is an advisory group overseen by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense. Its 29 members include federal officials and pain experts from both academia and private practice, as well as one patient/patient advocate representative: Cindy Steinberg, National Director of Policy and Advocacy for U.S. Pain Foundation.

The task force’s charge is to update best practices and recommendations on pain management for the nation,
including relevant federal health agencies, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration.

About the report

The task force outlined its recommendations in a 91-page report released on December 28, 2018. After a 90-day public comment period, the report will be finalized and submitted to Congress.

Key takeaways from the report:

  1. Pain is an enormous public health problem with profound individual and societal consequences
  2. Successful management of pain requires individualization of care in the selection of therapies tried, in the consideration of risks and benefits of therapies, in the duration of treatment, in the optimal dosing of medication and so on.
  3. Best practice in pain management is achieved through a multi-modal, multidisciplinary, integrated model of care including a full range of pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments.
  4. Stigma is a major barrier to treatment, so it is critical to provide education and awareness of the underlying disease process of pain and to provide empathy and a nonjudgmental approach to treatment.
  5. Public, patient, and provider education is critical to the delivery of effective, patient-centered pain management and is necessary for optimizing patient outcomes.
  6. The risk-benefit balance for opioid management must be considered on an individual basis as there is wide variation in factors that affect the optimal dose of opioids.

Please note: if you are having difficulties submitting your comments through the online portal, try using instead.

How to submit comments

The task force is seeking comments from the public. Feedback is vital to ensuring the report’s recommendations reflect the patient voice.

Comments are due by 11:59 pm EST on April 1, 2019.

Ways to submit:

  1. Submit online through the Federal eRulemaking Portal (recommended)
  2. Email to
  3. Mail written comments to:


U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health
200 Independence Avenue, S.W., Room 736E,
Attn: Alicia Richmond Scott, Task Force Designated Federal Officer
Washington, DC 20201

Tips for understanding the report

Before commenting, it’s important to learn more about the report and what it says. There are four ways to do that, each with different time commitments.

    1. View a slideshow of quotes pulled from the report (estimated time: 15 minutes)
    2. Watch a recording of our webinar with Cindy Steinberg (estimated time: 1 hour)
    3. Read a condensed version of the report (19 pages; estimated time: 1.5 hours)
    4. Read the full report (91 pages; estimated time: 3 hours)

Tips for submitting comments

  • Explain why or why not you think the recommendations will be helpful to you as a pain patient.
  • Try to be as direct and concise as possible. The task force will be reviewing hundreds, if not thousands, of comments.
  • If you would like to include statistics or figures, consider citing the study or data.
  • If you would like to address a specific section of the report, cite the section upfront.
  • Include your name and organization in case the task force wants to follow up.

Interested in more advocacy opportunities?
Sign up as a U.S. Pain Foundation advocate.