Can California Change What’s Happening in Chronic Pain Treatment?

Posted on August 3, 2019

by Ed Coghlan

When it comes to how government will define and execute its role in the treatment of chronic pain, the emphasis has been on the federal government: the CDC Guideline, the DEA enforcement and the HHS Pain Task Force Recommendations.

But in truth, there are 51 pain policies—what the federal government is trying to do and what is happening in each state.

In our nation’s largest (and most influential) state—California—an effort to influence chronic pain policy is being led by an important chronic pain non-profit.

For Grace will host an educational briefing on Wednesday, August 14th from 10am- Noon, Room 113, at the State Capitol in downtown Sacramento.

For Grace aims to convene California legislators, staffers and health care agency leaders. The goal is to educate those in attendance about chronic pain as a major public health concern, the merits of the National Institutes of Health’s National Pain Strategy, the value of comprehensive integrative medicine and a drug-free pain management model that will lessen the burden of prescription opioid use.

The desired outcome of the briefing is to spark a California-specific pain strategy that will implement a model for improved care for the six to 12 million Californians impacted by chronic pain. The National Pain Strategy provides an excellent blueprint for optimal pain care and by teaming with state legislators and health agency leaders For Grace will move forward legislatively with our key recommendation – a Pain Center administered under the state’s Health and Human Services agency.

The Pain Center will implement the following: establish a network of Comprehensive Integrative Pain Treatment and Research Centers of Excellence across the state, improve and expand pain management education/training opportunities for all types of health care providers (and students), work with state agencies responsible for state employee health insurance, MediCal coverage and Worker’s Compensation to revise coverage and reimbursement policies for chronic pain & develop and implement a state-wide public health campaign to educate California residents about chronic pain and chronic pain patients about pain treatment options including self-care “In this post-opioid climate, it’s more urgent than ever to find alternative treatments to pain care”, says For Grace Founder and Spokesperson, Cynthia Toussaint. “The public and medical establishment are still woefully unaware that chronic pain is a devastating disease, one that destroys many of our families, often leaves us in financial ruin with permanent disability, isolation, anxiety and depression. The Pain Center, under the direction of the California Health and Human Services agency, is the answer. Our Sacramento briefing will lead to its implementation in California, the biggest state in the union, and be a model for the rest of the country.”

According to the groundbreaking 2011 report by the Institute of Medicine, more than 100 million people in the United States suffer from chronic pain (25 million with the “high-impact” variety which produces significant disability and loss of quality of life) along with inadequate care.

The two-hour briefing will kick-off at 10am on August 14th in Room 113. After a welcome from key legislative partner Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, a presentation providing a comprehensive overview of chronic pain, the National Pain Strategy and an assessment of current pain management will be given by Dr. Sean Mackey, Chief of Division Pain Management, Stanford University.

Following that, Cynthia Toussaint will provide a perspective on the stigma associated with being a pain patient and barriers to accessing quality pain management. The second hour of the briefing will be highlighted by a panel discussion about the reasons behind inadequate pain treatment. This distinguished panel of pain experts will be led by Christin Veasley, Director of the Chronic Pain Research Alliance, Dr. Steven Richeimer, Chief of Pain Medicine, University of Southern California, Dr. Fasih Hameed, Associate Medical Director, Petaluma Health Center and Diane Hoffmann, Director, Law and Health Care Program, University Of Maryland School of Law.

To close the briefing, Christin Veasley will provide a detailed overview of our California Pain Center recommendation followed by a Q&A session.

What’s happening in your state? Leave your comments in our commentary section.

TAG: Christin Veasley, Director of the Chronic Pain Research Alliance, Dr. Steven Richeimer, Chief of Pain Medicine, University of Southern California, Dr. Fasih Hameed, Associate Medical Director, Petaluma Health Center, Diane Hoffmann, Director, Law and Health Care Program, University Of Maryland School of Law, Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, chronic pain, National Pain Strategy, Dr. Sean Mackey, Chief of Division Pain Management, Stanford University.

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