What better way to honor Pain Awareness Month than taking action at the federal level? Here are a few opportunities to engage this month, along with some advocacy updates.

Ways to engage

  • The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is accepting public comments on whether oxygen should be covered for patients with cluster headache, a rare and debilitating neurological disease. The deadline to comment is Sept. 16. Get tips and help with commenting from the Alliance for Headache Advocacy here.
  • The Alliance for Aging Research is looking for older adults with chronic pain and/or their caregivers to join their #TalkNerdytoMe training series! You’ll receive a $400 stipend and learn how to help advance patient-centered research. Learn more.
  • The Department of Defense is recruiting individuals with chronic pain to participate on panels as “consumer reviewers” of biomedical research.  Interested individuals must be nominated and sponsored by a chronic pain-related advocacy organization and must be able to represent all types of chronic pain, not just the specific condition they live with. Reviewers will receive an honorarium for participating. For more information, contact Melanie Monts de Oca at Melanie.Montsdeoca@gdit.com.
  • The House of Representatives is set to vote this month on the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act. Currently, cannabis is categorized as a schedule I drug, meaning it has a high potential for abuse, no medical value and is illegal at the federal level. The MORE Act would deschedule cannabis and decriminalize its use at the federal level, which, from the patient perspective, would be an important step forward in improving access to medical cannabis and enabling more clinical research. Currently, 32 states as well as the District of Columbia offer medical cannabis programs. Help us urge legislators to pass the MORE Act here.

News and updates

  • The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Helping to End Addiction Long-term (HEAL) Initiative held a webinar on Aug. 26 about the importance of engaging patients in all aspects of the research process. Patients and patient engagement experts discussed opportunities, challenges, and benefits, as well as best practices in incorporating patients in the scientific process.
  • CMS held a listening session on Aug. 27 to gather input from health care practitioners who treat people living with chronic pain for a Congressionally mandated study called the Todd Graham Pain Management Study. The purpose of the study is to analyze and make recommendations for payment and coverage of best practices in pain management, including options for revising payments related to the use of multidisciplinary, evidence-based, non-opioid treatments for acute and chronic pain for individuals covered under Medicare and Medicaid.


Stay informed about opportunities to act