A sign created by pain warrior Sherrie Johnson.

Last month, the U.S. Pain Foundation rallied a total of 761 pain warriors nationwide to urge Congress to allocate funding for the Pain Management Best Practices Interagency Task Force report, a federal blueprint for improving pain care. Cindy Steinberg, National Director of Advocacy and Policy, served on the task force that developed the report.

Through U.S. Pain’s action campaign, 738 individuals sent 2,452 emails to Congress, and 71 individuals made 167 calls. Meanwhile, the hashtag #aplanforpain was tweeted out roughly 1,000 times across social media platforms. People from across 49 states and D.C. participated (if you live in South Dakota, or know someone who does, please join the campaign!).

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Thank you. You created the groundswell we needed to start getting Congress to pay attention to the “Pain Management Best Practices” report.

During our Virtual Advocacy campaign, 595 pain warriors sent 1,944 emails to Congress. 60 pain warriors made 144 calls to Congress. And #aplanforpain was tweeted out at least 500 times, reaching thousands of people, including federal legislators.

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Congress has been hard at work on emergency supplemental appropriations bills in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic hardships confronting the nation. At the same time, they are continuing to work through the regular appropriations process–examining the President’s budget, holding hearings with agency heads, examining budget and appropriations report requests and writing  and passing appropriations bills for fiscal year 2021.

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U.S. Pain Foundation recently spearheaded a joint letter to the U.S. House Energy and Commerce (E&C) Committee and the E&C Health and Oversight Subcommittees requesting that they convene a hearing about the pain provisions in the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act and the recommendations released in May 2019 by the Department of Health and Human Services Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force. The letter was signed by 30 patient and professional groups.

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From left, Wade Delk of the American Society for Pain Management Nursing; Steinberg; and Elliott Warren, of the Medical Device Manufacturers Association.

As 2019 comes to a close, advocates are making a final push for Congress to hold a hearing on the Pain Management Best Practices Report, a series of outstanding recommendations for improving pain care nationally.

“If even half of the recommendations in this report were implemented, it would likely change the lives of millions of Americans who suffer with chronic pain,” says Cindy Steinberg, National Director of Policy and Advocacy, who served on the task force that created the report.

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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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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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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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The new report on pain management, mandated by Congress, has the potential to improve pain care for millions of Americans. But how do we move it forward from a piece of paper to actual change?

To learn how you can help, please join us this Wednesday, May 22, at 12 pm EST for a special webinar with Cindy Steinberg, U.S. Pain’s National Director of Policy and Advocacy, and the only patient and patient advocate on the task force that created the report.

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