HHS Issues Pain Strategy
Written by Editor   
Thursday, March 31, 2016 12:00 AM

The Department of Health and Human Services quietly released the years-in-the-making National Pain Strategy, just a few days after the CDC issued a guideline urging doctors to reduce opioid prescribing.  The HHS strategy is to increase access to interdisciplinary team-based pain care. There's not just one specialty that knows everything about pain. It's best done with an integrated approach.

There's no budget attached to the 83-page strategy, and it does not make specific recommendations about treatment, particularly regarding opioids. Nor does it state a plan to definitively establish opioids' efficacy, or lack of it, for relieving chronic noncancer pain.

The strategy also aims to improve payments structures to support this multimodal approach to pain management, which often runs into reimbursement barriers.

Another goal is to get "Americans [to] recognize chronic pain as a complex disease and a threat to public health," according to the document, and it calls for doctors to take "active measures to prevent the progression of acute to chronic pain."  And it seeks to increase education for patients in pain regarding effective approaches for self-management programs as well as better understand the risks and benefits of various treatments including opioids.

HHS acknowledged that the CDC guidelines on opioid prescribing should be part of the strategy, and that the document does provide opportunity for reducing the need for and the over-reliance on prescription opioid medications, such as moving away from an opioid-centric treatment paradigm and putting an emphasis on interdisciplinary care.

Source: http://www.medpagetoday.com/Neurology/PainManagement/56810