Anyone living with pain knows that finding the right pain management plan can be difficult and often becomes a life-long process as solutions and situations change. That is why we’re excited that Congress is paying attention, providing a unique opportunity right now to impact the future of care in a way that will better serve those suffering with pain.
Following the first major federal opioid legislation in 2016 and stories in the news about the pain and opioid crisis in our country, Congress asked what pain experts and patients consider challenges and best practices in pain management today. The answer to that question—pregnant with hope and potential—has been prepared in a comprehensive draft report now circulating for public feedback. Whether you have back pain, knee pain, or any other type of pain, this is a stellar opportunity to review what has been understood and share your perspective! It is our hope that this report will lead to improved care, access and pain relief for all.
Our team recently attended a meeting with the U.S. Pain Foundation to discuss the report and key takeaways. Below are a few important highlights and critical information on how you can be heard by the reporting task force and Congress. The deadline to participate is April 1, 2019 – jump to the bottom of this post for instructions on how to submit your feedback (it only takes a few minutes and could help thousands, if not millions, of Americans living with chronic pain!).
What is this Report?
- Prepared by a high-ranking federal task force, it includes recommendations for improving the management of pain and acute pain in America. The public is being asked to provide feedback on the 91-page report by April 1, 2019.
- The Task Force is overseen by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense. Its 29 members include federal officials and pain experts from both academia and private practice, as well as patient/patient advocate representatives.
- Best practices and recommendations will be shared with all relevant federal health agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), impacting the future of care in a way that will better serve those suffering from chronic pain.
- This is a unique opportunity to provide federal health agencies and legislators with a high-level look at the current landscape of pain in our nation, what is and isn’t working, and recommended solutions. Advocates agree that we may not get another one! Don’t lose this opportunity to impact change.
What are the main points in the report?
- Successful management of pain requires individualization of care, not a one-size-fits-all approach. Individualized, multidisciplinary care for pain management has been shown to result in better and more cost-effective outcomes, yet this model of care is hard to achieve in the current landscape. Gaps in pain research, current payment models and more stand in the way of tailored recommendations. We are happy to see so many recommendations on how to fix this.
- We need to be more collaborative! Individualization of care and the improvement of pain management practices in general require the collaboration of primary care physicians, specialists, pain medicine teams, pharmacies, health care providers, patients, and more. Working together will help meet the needs of more people in pain. This report and the call for public commentary is the first significant step towards success.
- Multidisciplinary, multimodal care is essential to pain relief. The report calls for a biopsychosocial model of care, and the consideration of both opioid and nonopioid therapies when discussing treatment. We are pleased that recommendations include harm-free, self-administered restorative therapies similar to Pulsed Electromagnetic Field (PEMF), and movement-based treatments like OT, PT, and yoga.
- The duration of pain is widely variable, with the report recommending that the appropriate duration and mode of therapy is best considered within guidelines but ultimately determined by a treating clinician. Solutions to the challenges of medication duration period and stigma, education, and access as major barriers to treatment are considered.
- Public, patient, and provider education is critical to the delivery of effective, patient-centered pain management. This includes everything from understanding the different types of care available and how they can be prescribed together, to understanding how inflammation, diet, and other variables affect pain. Discourse and learning is imperative.
You have a voice – please make it heard!
Comments are due by 5 pm EST on April 1, 2019. The task force will be reviewing hundreds, if not thousands, of comments so try to be as direct and concise as possible in explaining why or why not recommendations in the report will be helpful to you as a pain patient. If technology like Oska Pulse or other treatments have helped reduce or relieve your pain, please share your experience! This will help others with chronic pain benefit in the future.
- Submit your feedback or experience online through the Federal eRulemaking Portal (recommended)
- Email your story and perspective on the report to email@example.com
- You can also mail written comments to:
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health
200 Independence Avenue, S.W., Room 736E,
Attn: Alicia Richmond Scott, Task Force Designated Federal Officer
Washington, DC 20201