A high-ranking federal task force has released its much-anticipated draft report with recommendations for improving the management of chronic and acute pain. The public is being asked to provide feedback on the report by April 1.
On Jan. 16, Cindy Steinberg, National Director of Policy and Advocacy for U.S. Pain Foundation and the only patient and patient advocacy representative on the task force, presented a webinar on the report, why it matters and how to weigh in.
U.S. Pain’s Director of State Advocacy and Alliance Development Shaina Smith was among the speakers at the Biotechnology Innovation Organization’s (BIO) Patient and Health Advocacy Summit held Oct. 25 and 26 in Washington, D.C. The annual event brings together patient advocacy organizations, academia, regulators, biotechnology industry, and other stakeholders to discuss timely policy issues and share best practices. This year, attendees were treated to a surprise appearance from U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Pain Management Best Practices Task Force convened its second public meeting on Sept. 25 and 26 in Washington, DC.
“The main purpose of the meeting was for the three task force subcommittees to present a high-level summary of their recommendations arrived at through working sessions held every week since the end of May,” says Cindy Steinberg, a task force member and U.S. Pain’s National Director of Policy and Advocacy. “Other goals were to hear input from high-level officials representing stakeholder government institutions, including HHS, Congress, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Indian Health Service, and the Department of Defense. The task force also heard from the U.S. Surgeon General, patients living with chronic pain, and members of the public.”
TUCSON, ARIZ., AND MIDDLETOWN, CONN. (August 3, 2018)–The Massage Therapy Foundation announced today that it has awarded a $5,000 Community Service Grant to the U.S. Pain Foundation, the leading chronic pain advocacy organization in the country. The grant will fund free massage therapy and self-massage training to people living with pain, in an effort to understand whether massage therapy can help reduce the use of pain medications. U.S. Pain Foundation’s proposal was one of four recipients selected by the Massage Therapy Foundation from a total of 46 applications nationwide.
Being a pain warrior means fighting for positive change. Right now, there are two major opportunities to comment on the state of pain care in America at the highest levels of the U.S. government: the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Opportunity #1: HHS Interagency Pain Management Best Practices Task Force – second meeting
Deadline: Sept. 17
How to take action: Submit comments here
The late summer has brought the heat to Oregon after residents caught wind of a proposed change to Medicaid that would force patients with chronic pain to taper off opioid medications within one year beginning in 2020. While many states have enacted tougher restrictions on pain medications in response to the opioid crisis, none have gone so far as to completely eliminate the use of opioids by people with chronic pain who show no signs of misuse.
The Massachusetts legislature passed a landmark opioid bill that includes help for people with pain. The bill passed at a quarter to midnight on July 31, 15 minutes before the end of the 2017-2018 formal session; the Governor signed the bill into law the following week. U.S. Pain’s National Director of Policy and Advocacy Cindy Steinberg, who also serves as Policy Council Chair of the Massachusetts Pain Initiative, worked closely behind the scenes to ensure the legislation would do as much to improve pain management as it would to ameliorate the opioid crisis.
Several weeks ago, the House of Representatives passed HR 6, or the “SUPPORT Patients and Communities Act.” Many provisions of HR 6, if they remain in a compromise version of the bill, could be detrimental to pain patients. These provisions include:
- Discouraging use of opioids post-surgery, even for major procedures
- State reports on daily MME on covered individuals
- Increased surveillance in hospitals and ERs on number of opioid prescriptions written
- Medicare to investigate high-volume prescribers & take “corrective action” against “over-prescribers”
- Medicare survey of patients may not include questions about how pain was managed unless they also include risks of opioid use
- Restricting certain individuals in Medicaid to limited providers and pharmacies
U.S. Pain Foundation is concerned these provisions would negatively impact people living with pain, particularly those who rely on opioids to manage their severe daily pain. If you are concerned, we ask you to reach out to your federal representatives and tell them.
Cindy Steinberg, National Director of Policy and Advocacy, was one of the numerous people with pain to speak at the the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s “Patient-Focused Drug Development Public Meeting on Chronic Pain” on July 9. The event drew an at-capacity audience in the auditorium, on the phones, and through a web portal. Dr. Sharon Hertz, Director of the FDA’s Division of Anesthesia, explained to the crowd that she and her colleagues were there to better understand the impact of chronic pain, patient perspectives on current treatment regimens, and the challenges or barriers patients face in accessing treatment.
In April at the National Rx Drug Abuse Summit and in a recent Journal of American Medical Association article, Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), announced a bold new initiative to advance addiction and pain research called “Helping to End Addiction Long-term,” or the HEAL Initiative. Congress has added $500 million to NIH’s budget to pay for this initiative.