Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Update: S.483 Ensuring Patient Access and National Pain Strategy

It’s hard to believe that it has been a year since I first made a call to action on S.483

A lot has happened since then. The act was signed into law by President Obama on April 19, 2016. That’s right, just last month. In March, the CDC opioid Guidelines went through despite outrage regarding the lack of transparency and biased, non-evidence based reports on opioids that led to the development of the guidelines. The National Pain Strategy (NPS), which was drafted to the Federal Registry last year, was also released in March after a long and concerted effort by many engaged individuals and stakeholders, but not without incident. A comment was added on the NIH Interagency Coordinating Committee website, the HHS committee that drafted the guidelines, suggesting the CDC Opioid Guidelines would help implement the strategy, despite no such reference in the original NPS draft.

The National Pain Strategy

The Pain Action Alliance to Implement a National Strategy is an initiative formed by the Center for Practical Bioethics. My friend, Myra Christopher, contributed to the development of the Institute of Medicine Report on Relieving Pain in America. She and many others knew as a result of that report a strategy was needed to address the problems identified having to do with access to medications and treatments, discrimination in pain care, and the stigma associated with chronic pain. Along  with other stakeholders Myra participated in helping draft the National Pain Strategy (NPS).  Myra and PAINS are now calling on President Obama to see that actions are taken to make the necessary funds available to carry out the plan. The letter is riveting and I hope you will read it. Here is an excerpt.

1.       Immediately direct the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to develop and, before the end of 2016, initiate a plan across all federal agencies to restore balance between federal efforts to reduce drug abuse and efforts to reduce the burden of pain in order to establish parity between these two critical public health issues…
2.      Designate a specific agency to be responsible for implementation of the National Pain Strategy Report and establish an independent work group, including people living with both chronic pain and opioid abuse disorder and/or family members, primary care providers and specialists who treat chronic pain, behavioral health experts, complementary care providers, third party payers, patient advocacy groups, and bioethicists to…
3.      Direct CMS to establish chronic pain care as an essential health benefit as quickly as possible and to adequately fund:
a.      Comprehensive chronic pain care provided in primary care medical homes and inter-disciplinary, comprehensive pain clinics,
b.      Evidence-based complementary therapies, including yoga, massage therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic and osteopathic manipulation (those therapies specifically listed in the DOD pain report), and
c.      Abuse deterrent opioid formulations.

Can S.483 Work to Support Patients Who Have Been Abandoned?

As a result of the CDC guidelines and reports that the DEA is charging full force, I have received many emails and messages regarding patients being forced to taper off their opioids or stop them completely. Of particular interest is what is happening to patients in Buffalo, New York, but it is only one example of what is happening across the nation. Because I have been overwhelmed and I donate my time to advocacy, I felt the need to provide patients with some guidelines that will hopefully help them make a case to take to their attorney general. Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act of 2015,  S.483, also protects patients and gives you the right to make sure it is enforced for everyone, including those of us who live with chronic pain. 

 “There's a difference between interest and commitment. 
When you're interested in doing something, you do it only when it's convenient. 
When you're committed to something, you accept no excuses; only results.”
~Kenneth Blanchard

Additional Reading:
Gosy and Associates to reopen under new supervision. Bridge the gap solution within 75 days, really?

(Signature line appended, March 2018)

In healing,
Celeste Cooper, RN / Author, Freelancer, Advocate

Think adversity?-See opportunity!


Unknown said...

THANK YOU for the great information!

~Sarah Katherine~
Sarah Katherine Blogs on Twitter

The Pained Ink Slayer said...

My pleasure Debby. I am glad you found it helpful.

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