Congress has been hard at work on emergency supplemental appropriations bills in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic hardships confronting the nation. At the same time, they are continuing to work through the regular appropriations process–examining the President’s budget, holding hearings with agency heads, examining budget and appropriations report requests and writing and passing appropriations bills for fiscal year 2021.
Appropriations is the process through which Congress provides funding for government activities such as education, health care, and national security, as well as general government operations.
In the last several months, Cindy Steinberg, U.S. Pain’s National Director of Policy and Advocacy, and members of a federal pain policy workgroup she is leading have held meetings and submitted appropriations language requests related to implementing the Pain Management Best Practices Interagency Task Force Report. The report’s recommendations are critical to improving pain care.
The appropriations requests, submitted in recent weeks, ask members of Congress who sit on the House and Senate Appropriations Committees to direct the Department of Health and Human Services, which oversaw the task force, to:
- widely disseminate the task force’s findings to public health stakeholders, especially primary care clinicians
- update relevant pain management policies and educational tools to reflect the task force’s recommended best practices
- begin implementing specific report recommendations, foremost among them a public awareness campaign to educate Americans about acute and chronic pain and the full range of evidence-based treatment options.
The group will follow-up with offices as they move through the appropriations process, though delays are anticipated in light of the COVID-19 situation.