U.S. Pain Foundation recently led a group of 24 pain patient and professional organizations in sending a joint letter to U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray, who lead the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, requesting that the committee hold a hearing on the final report of the Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Taskforce.

The task force, comprised of 29 pain experts, was mandated by Congress to create recommendations to improve pain care while alleviating the opioid crisis in America. Cindy Steinberg, National Director of Policy and Advocacy for the U.S. Pain Foundation, was the only patient and patient group representative on the task force.

The final report was completed last spring and has been widely applauded across a broad spectrum of health-related professional and patient groups. The American Medical Association called its findings “a roadmap for future policy.”

Recommendation highlights include:

  • Encouraging a multidisciplinary approach to pain care, with improved access to and coverage of multidisciplinary treatment options;
  • Treating pain on an individualized basis, without one-size-fits-all rules or policies;
  • Recognizing that stigma and a lack of public awareness create barriers to treatment.

The letter was sent to the committee on Aug. 8. Soon thereafter, the group heard from the committee staff that it is planning a hearing sometime in the fall.

“I am delighted that the committee recognizes that the time has come to hear these critical recommendations and take action on them to improve pain care,” says Steinberg. “Millions of Americans have endured inadequate, inefficient pain care for far too long.”

The HELP committee also held a hearing, “Managing Pain during the Opioid Crisis,” in February. Steinberg was one of four individuals invited to testify.