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The new report on pain management, mandated by Congress, 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?

Action is essential

Getting Congress to pay attention is vital. To do that, we need you to flood your 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.

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By Janet Jay

Finding a new doctor or other medical professional can be incredibly daunting– not only do you want to find someone good, but you have to also factor in cost, insurance, distance, compatibility, background, and dozens of other factors.

Luckily, knowing some basic search strategies can make your quest much easier and less stressful. Don’t let the pressure of trying to find a doctor keep you from getting treatment. You deserve a good medical team and are within your rights to keep looking until you find the right fit!

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The new report on pain management, mandated by Congress, has the potential to improve pain care for millions of Americans. But how do we move it forward from a piece of paper to actual change?

To learn how you can help, please join us this Wednesday, May 22, at 12 pm EST for a special webinar with Cindy Steinberg, U.S. Pain’s National Director of Policy and Advocacy, and the only patient and patient advocate on the task force that created the report.

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Golden speaking.

Today, the Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force–a high-ranking group convened by Congress and overseen by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)–held the first part of its last public meeting to finalize a report on improving pain care in America. The task force, comprised of 29 members, includes Cindy Steinberg, U.S. Pain’s National Director of Policy and Advocacy, the only patient and patient advocacy representative.

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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.

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We all know that people react differently to different medications–what works for one patient can sometimes cause an adverse reaction in another.

But why is that? And how can you figure out which medications work well for you?

At our next Pain Education Portal (PEP) Talk webinar on May 21 at 1 pm EST, we’ll learn about all this and more with Dan Doherty, an expert in drug sensitivities with Genelex.

Dan will talk about the science of how medications work in the body, why we react differently to them, and how pharmacogenetic testing can help.

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Last month, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reacted to the unintended harm to people living with chronic pain as a result of policy measures intended to ameliorate the opioid crisis.

On April 9, the FDA issued a Safety Announcement citing “serious harm,” including “withdrawal symptoms, uncontrolled pain, psychological distress and suicide” as a result of sudden discontinuation or rapid dose decreases in opioid pain medication. The FDA will now require changes to the prescribing information for health care professionals that will provide guidance on how to safely reduce or taper patients off opioid medications. The agency states that there is no standard opioid tapering schedule; rather, a schedule must be tailored to each patient’s unique situation considering a variety of factors, including the type of pain the patient has.

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City & State: Albany, CA

Age: 45

Pain warrior role: U.S. Pain advocate since 2018

What type of health conditions you live with: chronic migraine disease, IBS, anxiety

What is your favorite tip for others with chronic pain: “Be proactive. Being proactive about my treatment has given me back a sense of control. It has been helpful for me to learn about my conditions and to find ways that my actions and thinking can influence their severity. Chronic pain is not something that I have been able to deal with on my own. I’ve had to reach out and get support from my family and friends, therapists, healthcare providers, and an understanding community of other people with chronic pain conditions. I’ve had to learn new skills, develop new relationships, and embrace healthy habits in order to live each day with as little pain and as much joy as possible.”

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Finding community support is essential to living with chronic pain. With that in mind, Pain Connection, a program of U.S. Pain Foundation, continues to expand its in-person and conference call support group offerings nationwide.

Along with three existing monthly “Pain Connection Live” support group calls, there will now be a morning call on the third Thursday of each month from 10-11 am EST. The first call will be May 16. Existing calls are held on one evening, one afternoon, and one Saturday each month. To learn more or register for a Pain Connection Live call, click here.

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Patient and provider groups are celebrating the introduction of the “Safe Step Act,” a federal bill aimed at lessening treatment delays and barriers to the access of prescription therapies. Filed by Representatives Raul Ruiz (D-CA) and Brad Wenstrup (R-OH), HR 2279 would reform the potentially harmful insurer practice known as step therapy, which allows insurers to force patients to try and fail on a series of insurer-preferred medications before offering coverage for the originally prescribed option. This is the second time a bill to limit step therapy has been introduced at the national level.

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