In late December, a high-ranking federal task force released a draft report with recommendations for improving the management of chronic and acute pain nationwide. The landmark report will be finalized and submitted to Congress at the end of May. The pain community is being asked to give feedback on the report by April 1–less than a month away.

“It is vital that people with pain weigh in,” says Cindy Steinberg, National Director of Policy and Advocacy, who was the only patient and patient advocacy representative on the task force. “This report could change people with pain’s lives for the better. It promotes a multidisciplinary, multimodal approach to pain care and addresses barriers to accessing effective treatment. It says that treatment decisions should be made on a case-by-case basis that considers the unique situation of each patient. It addresses the stigma around chronic pain and lack of public, provider and patient education on pain management. It provides a comprehensive view of the gaps in pain care in the United States today and detailed recommendations on how to ameliorate them.”

You can learn more about how to submit comment here. There are options for submitting online and by mail.

There are four ways to learn about the report

Before commenting, it’s important to learn more about the report and what it says. There are four ways to do that, each with different time commitments.

  1. View a slideshow of quotes pulled from the report (estimated time: 15 minutes)
  2. Watch a recording of our webinar with Cindy Steinberg (estimated time: 1 hour)
  3. Read a condensed version of the report (19 pages; estimated time: 1.5 hours)
  4. Read the full report (91 pages; estimated time: 3 hours)

Joint letter in progress

The Consumer Pain Advocacy Task Force, which is made up of 16 patient advocacy groups including U.S. Pain Foundation, is currently working on a joint letter that it will submit to the docket as a group. Once this letter is available, it will be shared broadly with the pain community to help inform their own feedback.

“This is an important opportunity for people living with pain to advocate for improvements in their care,” says Steinberg. “I urge all patients to learn more about the report and submit your comments on it to HHS by April 1.”