The federal report on pain care has been finalized. Now, we need to urge Congress to act.
The new report on pain management, mandated by Congress, is an important milestone for people with pain. But in order to move the report forward from a piece of paper to actual change, we need to take action.
In this toolkit, you’ll find information about:
- What’s in the report
- What people are saying about the report
- How to take action and contact Congress
- Additional resources
What’s in the report
Read the final report here.
The report was developed by the Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force, an advisory group mandated by Congress through the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016. The goal was to update best practices and recommendations on pain management for the nation. A total of 29 experts were appointed to the task force, including one patient/patient advocate representative from U.S. Pain Foundation: Cindy Steinberg, National Director of Policy and Advocacy.
Key takeaways from the report:
- Pain is an enormous public health problem with profound individual and societal consequences
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Public, patient, and provider education is critical to the delivery of effective, patient-centered pain management and is necessary for optimizing patient outcomes.
- 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.
What people are saying about the report
The report is being applauded by numerous organizations.
How to contact Congress
Congress mandated the report, but unless it moves to implement the recommendations, it could languish. To prevent that from happening, we need to flood federal legislators with emails and calls. It’s especially important we reach out to members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee and members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Health Subcommittee.
Here’s how to take action:
1. Call members of key committees.
We have talking points and direct numbers. You’ll likely just speak to an aide, and that’s fine. It takes just a few minutes to do! They’ll report your comments to the legislator. (Note, if you don’t have a legislator on one of the key committees, you will be told you do not qualify for this action campaign. If that happens, please proceed to action campaign #2!)
2. Email your legislator.
This is a general form email that can be sent to any member of Congress. Everyone is eligible to participate.
3. Encourage others to act!
Help spread the word about these action campaigns–the more people participate, the more likely we are to get attention!
- The final report
- The Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force homepage
- A Q&A with Task Force Chair Vanila Singh, MD
- A letter about the report submitted by the Consumer Pain Advocacy Task Force
- A webinar about the report with task force member/pain patient Cindy Steinberg, of U.S. Pain Foundation
- CMS to discuss payment policy related to the report on June 12.