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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) opened a Request for Information (RFI) to solicit input into the development of an Action Plan on the opioid crisis and the treatment of acute and chronic pain as specified in the SUPPORT Act.

The deadline for comment was Oct. 11.

National Director of Policy and Advocacy Cindy Steinberg submitted on behalf of U.S. Pain Foundation, outlining 10 recommendations for ways CMS could improve pain care.

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Shari Ling, MD, Deputy Chief Medical Officer of CMS, left, with Steinberg

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) convened a public meeting on Sept. 20 to solicit input into the development of an Action Plan on the opioid crisis and the treatment of acute and chronic pain as specified in the SUPPORT Act. The Action Plan is due to Congress June 1, 2020.

Cindy Steinberg, National Director of Policy and Advocacy, was among the meeting’s speakers as a member of a panel, “Personal Perspectives on Pain and Substance Use Disorders.” To read about her comments on the panel, click here.

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On Sept. 20, National Director of Policy and Advocacy Cindy Steinberg spoke on a panel at a public meeting about chronic pain and substance use disorder at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) in Washington, D.C.

The goal of the meeting was to discuss CMS’s plans to address the opioid crisis and pain management. That included reviewing current efforts underway by various federal agencies, along with exploring new approaches through presentations from leading experts. (In 2018, Congress directed CMS to review its coverage and payment policies to determine whether they have resulted in incentives or disincentives that have contributed to the opioid crisis.)

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National Director of Policy and Advocacy Cindy Steinberg will speak at a Sept. 20 public meeting at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS). At this meeting, CMS is slated to present its Action Plan to address the opioid crisis and pain management, called for in Section 6032 of the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment for Patients and Communities (SUPPORT) Act passed by Congress in 2018.

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U.S. Pain’s National Director of Policy and Advocacy, Cindy Steinberg, is constantly fighting behind-the-scenes for improvements in pain care. One recent example: last week she and the Academy of Integrative Pain Management issued two joint letters–one to the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance and another to the House Ways and Means Committee–recommending changes in CMS coverage and funding for innovative treatment approaches.

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Despite opposition from groups like the U.S. Pain Foundation, beginning in January 2018, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will change the pain management questions on patient hospital satisfaction surveys from how well staff did controlling patients’ pain to how often they “talked” to patients about their pain. The Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems, known as the HCAHPS survey, is a high-profile, publicly reported measure that allows consumers to compare the quality of care between different hospitals. Survey results are also used to determine a portion of hospital reimbursement rates.

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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has proposed concerning changes to key pain management questions on an influential survey, called the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) Survey, which is used to rate patient satisfaction with their inpatient hospital stay. The survey is important because results are publicly reported on Medicare’s Hospital Compare website and a hospital’s score can affect its CMS payments. CMS has invited the public to comment on the proposal by June 13, and U.S. Pain is asking its members to speak out against the changes.

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U.S. Pain volunteers mobilized quickly this month to respond to two problematic proposals at the national level: one from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) regarding opioids and another from the Department of Human and Health Services (HHS) concerning health insurance on state exchanges.

In both instances, volunteers were asked to submit a template letter to the organizations, which were accepting public comment. The campaign to respond to the HHS proposal saw 60 advocates take action, while an astounding 683 individuals stepped up to address the CMS proposal.

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CMS

Many patients with chronic pain are concerned about the unintended consequences of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) newly published proposal to curb opioid misuse and abuse, “Opioid Misuse Strategy 2016.” U.S. Pain urges the pain community to email CMS by Friday, March 3, to ask them to reconsider several proposed changes that could harm people living with chronic pain.

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CMS

On Jan. 5, the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) published a new, 30-page proposal for curbing opioid abuse: “Opioid Misuse Strategy 2016.” Among the more controversial suggestions are incentivizing pharmacists to report clinicians who appear to be overprescribing opioids and encouraging patients and providers to report on pharmacists who may be dispensing inappropriately.

CMS did not say when it planned to implement the strategy or if public hearings would be held.

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