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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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The final online event in our Pain Awareness Month series will explore the ways in which patient advocacy–at both the state and federal levels–centers on sharing your personal pain story. The event will take place Wednesday, Sept. 25, from 11:30 AM – 12:30 pm EST.

U.S. Pain Interim CEO Nicole Hemmenway will moderate a panel discussion with Cindy Steinberg, U.S. Pain National Director of Policy and Advocacy, Shaina Smith, U.S. Pain Director of State Advocacy and Alliance Development, and special guest Rhode Island State Rep. Patricia Serpa.

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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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Boehler shares his story.

On Aug. 7, a group of three U.S. Pain Foundation representatives with osteoarthritis (OA) and one caregiver joined Director of State Advocacy & Alliance Development Shaina Smith to speak about the challenges of the disease before senior officials within the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The meeting was held at the FDA in Silver Spring, MD.

Earlier this year, U.S. Pain had requested the FDA’s Patient Affairs division host a patient listening session focusing on the unmet needs of patients with OA, which affects more than 30 million Americans. The FDA accepted the request, with 24 officials attending the listening session in-person and via conference call.

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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.

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Steinberg, second from left, at the HealthyWomen conference panel.

U.S. Pain Foundation’s involvement with various diseases and causes takes its staff members all over the country, and this month was no exception. Representatives gave talks, led sessions, hosted tables and participated in panels at two conferences this month: the HealthyWomen Chronic Pain Summit and the 35th Annual Marfan Foundation Conference.

HealthyWomen Chronic Pain Summit: Fighting for change for the pain community

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Right now, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is soliciting public comment as to whether or not acupuncture for chronic low back pain should be covered by Medicare. You only have until August 14 to provide CMS with your position on its proposal. U.S. Pain has provided a few talking points and tips as to what to include within your comments. You can also read more about the proposal here.

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Efforts to disseminate and begin implementing recommendations from the new report from the Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force (PMTF), released in May, are underway.

Most notably, according to a June 3 report from Fox News, Sen. Lamar Alexander—chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee—said that he plans to hold a hearing before the committee that will focus on the task force’s findings. The pain community can take part in an action campaign to encourage a hearing by clicking here.

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The new report on pain management, mandated by Congress and finalized on May 30, is an important milestone for people with pain. The report emphasizes the need for access to affordable, multidisciplinary care, and urges an individualized approach to pain management–instead of broad one-size-fits-all limits and policies.

But how do we move it forward from a piece of paper to actual change?

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