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NCH Signs on to Support the National Pain Strategy

April 14, 2016
Last week NCH (through it's affiliation with the Integrative Healthcare Policy Consortium as a Partner in Health) signed on to support the newly released National Pain Strategy (NPS), spearheaded by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Developed by a diverse team of experts from around the nation, the National Pain Strategy is a roadmap toward achieving a system of care in which all people receive appropriate, high quality and evidence-based care for pain. 
 
More specifically, the Strategy calls for:
 
  • Developing methods and metrics to monitor and improve the prevention and management of pain.
  • Supporting the development of a system of patient-centered integrated pain management practices based on a biopsychosocial model of care that enables providers and patients to access the full spectrum of pain treatment options.
  • Taking steps to reduce barriers to pain care and improve the quality of pain care for vulnerable, stigmatized and underserved populations.
  • Increasing public awareness of pain, increasing patient knowledge of treatment options and risks, and helping to develop a better informed health care workforce with regard to pain management.
Below is a copy of the letter that was sent to the US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions on behalf of supporting organizations.
 
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April 4, 2016
 
U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
428 Senate Dirksen Office Building
Washington, DC  20510
 
Re: Implementation Plan for the National Pain Strategy
 
Dear Chairman Alexander, Ranking Member Murray and Committee Members, 
 
On behalf of the undersigned organizations, we thank the Committee for its longstanding leadership in addressing the substantial public health crises of chronic pain and opioid abuse, and seek the Committee’s continued support in ensuring that the newly released National Pain Strategy (NPS) is implemented in a timely and coordinated fashion. Developed by six federal agencies, along with 80 experts from the medical-scientific, public, private, patient and advocacy communities, the NPS is the federal government’s first coordinated interagency plan and roadmap to achieve a system of effective, safe, high-quality, evidence-based pain care in America. This improved system of care is critical to reducing the burden of chronic pain, as well as ameliorating the nation’s opioid abuse, overdose and addiction crisis. 
 
Studies from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and Department of Veterans Affairs reveal that 4 in 10 American adults and 80 percent of veterans returning from Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom suffer from chronic pain, at a cost of more than $600 billion annually (Institute of Medicine, 2011; Lew HL, et al., Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development, 2009). Despite this significant toll, plus the fact that pain remains the number one reason that people seek medical care, our nation continues to: invest meagerly in chronic pain research (only 4 cents per patient in 2015): poorly train and educate our health care providers on the proper assessment and medical management of pain; and provide minimal to no reimbursement for multidisciplinary non-pharmacologic pain management strategies – a key recommendation called for in the new CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain. 
 
Implementing the objectives of the National Pain Strategy will change this! The NPS provides a clear, actionable and achievable roadmap that will generate critical population research and health services data; advance prevention and pain care strategies; address disparities in pain assessment and treatment; improve pain service delivery and reimbursement; improve medical professional education and training; and foster public education and communication strategies. Further, the NPS clearly delineates short-, medium- and long-term deliverables, identifies key federal and non-federal stakeholders, and recommends strategies to measure impact.   
 
Millions of Americans – many of whom have bravely and honorably served their country – are counting on Congress to see the National Pain Strategy through to completion. We can’t afford to stop now. We urge the Committee to help transform the NPS from words on a page to meaningful change in the lives of Americans by requesting a written implementation plan and corresponding budget from the Department of Health and Human Services, to be submitted within 60 days of the Committee’s request. 
 
A copy of the National Pain Strategy can be viewed at: http://iprcc.nih.gov/docs/HHSNational_Pain_Strategy.pdf. If we can provide further information or assistance, please contact us by email at info@ConsumerPainAdvocacy.org, or by phone, Amy Goldstein, 913-484-2120, or Christin Veasley, 401-316-2089.    
 
With sincere appreciation, 
 
American Academy of Pain Management
American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
American Chronic Pain Association
Chronic Pain Research Alliance
Ehlers-Danlos National Foundation
For Grace
Global Healthy Living Foundation
Integrative Healthcare Policy Consortium
Interstitial Cystitis Association
National Center for Homeopathy
National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Association
National Patient Advocate Foundation
Neuropathy Action Foundation
Pain Connection
Pain Action Alliance to Implement a National Strategy (PAINS)
Power of Pain Foundation
Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome Association
State Pain Policy Advocacy Network
The Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy
The Pain Community
The TMJ Association
US Pain Foundation