This month’s webinar will feature departmental updates and an informational presentation, “How to effectively prevent and resolve insurance coverage issues,” with Demian Fontanella, JD, general counsel for the Connecticut Office of the Healthcare Advocate (OHA). The webinars are open to volunteers and those interested in volunteering.

Fontanella will discuss tips for dealing with insurance coverage denials and how to get the best outcome. He’ll also delve into ways to prevent denials in the first place and avoid surprise bills.[...]

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Dear pain warriors,

Happy New Year! Instead of our usual newsletter, we thought we’d look back at our top 10 highlights of 2017. In 2018, we hope to do even more to fight for a better quality of life for all people with pain.

Before sharing some of our successes from this year, we wanted to spotlight one volunteer who went above and beyond these last 12 months: Michele Rice. We are pleased to announce that Michele has been selected as our Joselynn Badman Ambassador of the Year for 2017. You can read more about Michele and her inspirational efforts here.[...]

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U.S. Pain is proud to announce Michele Rice as 2017’s recipient of the Joselynn Badman Ambassador of the Year. This prestigious annual award honors a U.S. Pain volunteer who has gone above and beyond for the pain community. After an open nomination period, one awardee is is selected by a committee comprised of U.S. Pain staff members.

Rice has been a California ambassador since 2014 and was an INvisible Project participant in 2015, when she shared about her struggles with reflex sympathetic disorder. Since becoming an ambassador, she has continuously kept U.S. Pain information and educational materials at her doctor’s office and regularly hosts awareness tables during important campaigns like Pain Awareness Month and Rare Disease Day.[...]

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Steinberg testifies
Steinberg testifies.

On Dec. 19, Cindy Steinberg, U.S. Pain’s National Director of Policy and Advocacy, testified at the Massachusetts State House in support of a bill to require pain be assessed and managed in all types of healthcare facilities statewide.

Steinberg was one of three patients who testified, along with two pain clinicians. The bill, “An Act Requiring Pain Assessment and Management in Healthcare Facilities,” (House Bill 1181 and Senate Bill 1183) was authored as a collaboration between U.S. Pain Foundation and the Massachusetts Pain Initiative. It is being sponsored by Rep. Jay Kaufman and Sen. Julian Cyr.[...]

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U.S. Pain is pleased to announce it will be sponsoring an exciting new film project, “Becoming Incurable.” The film explores the stories of three patients living with incurable diseases: dystonia, ankylosing spondylitis, and lyme disease.

Victoria Suan, the film director, says the first iteration of the film, “Inside Incurable Lives,” was, in part, inspired by U.S. Pain. After speaking with U.S. Pain ambassador Suzanne Stewart, Suan decided to approach the foundation about sponsorship.[...]

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On Nov. 4, CrossFit Los Altos and Focused Individual Trainers hosted its annual Fight Gone Bad fundraiser workout to support the efforts of U.S. Pain Foundation. The event was a huge success with more than 50 athletes participating and nearly 140 donors raising over $17,700 for U.S. Pain’s flagship program, the INvisible Project.

Director of CrossFit Los Altos, Rick Dyer, shared why this fundraiser is so important to him: his wife, Nicole Hemmenway — vice president of U.S. Pain Foundation — lives with complex regional sympathetic disorder, a chronic condition that causes pain. “U.S. Pain Foundation is a one-of-a-kind organization that is truly patient-focused,” says Dyers. “The work they do to share patient stories, advocate for proper treatment, and empower those living with pain is remarkable. I am thankful to our CrossFit community and gym who rallied around this cause, making the event possible.”[...]

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U.S. Pain Foundation takes the opioid crisis very seriously and is doing its part to help reduce overdoses and addiction. However, as a result of some extreme reforms, many pain patients are being unfairly penalized and are experiencing huge obstacles in obtaining pain management.

To help members facing problems with treatment access, the organization has created a three-page resource with suggestions on how to stay safe in these situations while also advocating for oneself. Titled  “What to Do if You’ve Been Denied Appropriate Pain Management,” the online document includes the following sections: “Addressing Unfair Restrictions,” “Managing Possible Withdrawal,” “Managing Increased Pain,” and “Filing Complaints.”[...]

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U.S. Pain and 31 patient and professional groups have submitted a letter to Congress urging it not to repeal the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act of 2016, which would upend essential protections for some of the most vulnerable patients in the country. The law aims to prevent the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) from limiting controlled substance pain medication distribution in a that way lacked transparency, due process, or safety.[...]

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Some states are taking a proactive approach to curbing and managing substance abuse disorders, aiming to provide nonpharmacological care for underlying pain problems.

Rhode Island’s Gov.Gina Raimondo signed legislation that requires insurers to cover chiropractic treatment for pain for individuals with substance use disorders. Under the new law, patients who seek such care must have insurance and the therapy must be medically necessary for licensed chiropractors to receive reimbursement.[...]

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With all the confusion surrounding health care this past year, U.S. Pain wants to remind members that the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, is still in place and enrollment for 2018 is ending soon, on Dec. 15, 2017.

Whether you need to enroll for the first time or re-enroll for the same coverage, Dec. 15, 2017 is the final date you can enroll for coverage beginning on Jan. 1, 2018.[...]

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