What is the Draft Report on Pain Management Best Practices, Why Does it Matter, & How Can You Have A Voice?

By Jeannette

It’s a critical time for all people who are impacted by pain, regardless of the cause. It is a time to unite on our journey with pain and over the next 90 days join the discussion of the gaps in the management of pain and the solutions put forth.

This is a time to add your voice to decisions that impact our pain care. Join in reading and commenting by April 1, 2019 on the Draft Report on Pain Management Best Practices.

Task Force Development & Duties:

Development of The Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force (Task Force) was required by The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016 (CARA) Public Law 114-1908. The Task Force, convened by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, along with the Secretary of Defense and Veterans Affairs was required to identify, review and determine gaps and inconsistencies in the management of pain, as well as propose solutions, and submit them to relevant federal agencies and the public.

Existing pain management research, recommendations from relevant conferences and existing evidence-based guidelines in the management of pain were considered. The task force examined ongoing efforts at the state and local levels and by medical professional organizations to develop improved strategies. They discussed the management of high-risk populations. They took into consideration the 2016 guidelines for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain issued by the CDC. Private sector, state and local government efforts related to pain management and prescribing medications were reviewed.

The task force is currently providing the public with at least 90 days to submit comments on proposed updates and recommendations to the Draft Report on Pain Management Best Practices. The comment period will end on April 1, 2019.

Highlights In The Draft Report and Why It Matters:

The Draft Report highlights the progress made in identifying whether there are gaps or inconsistencies in the best practices in pain management developed and adopted by Federal agencies. The Task Force includes recommendations for updates in the Best Practices for Pain Management and recommendations for addressing gaps. The proposed updates and recommendations are provided in the Draft Report. Once the 90 day public comment period is concluded the Task Force will consider the comments and compinal a Final Recommendations Report.

Some of the areas The Draft Report addresses include the need for balanced pain management and utilizing a biopsychosocial approach to care. The need for individualized, patient care is recognized as being extremely important in addressing the pain crisis. The Task Force identifies the importance of a multidisciplinary approach, including such as restorative and movement therapies, interventional procedures, complementary and integrative health, and behavioral health and psychological interventions. Access to care, through improved health care coverage for a variety of treatment modalities and an enlarged workforce of pain specialists and behavioral health clinicians to help guide and support trained primary care clinicians, was identified as critical.

Stigma was discussed as a barrier to treatment, it was reported that to improve treatment and patient outcomes, providing empathy and a non-judgemental approach is vital. The need for social awareness and provider and patient education was highlighted as important to promoting therapeutic alliances and understanding about treatment options. It was advised that innovative solutions, such as telemedicine, tele-monitoring, newer medicines, and medical devices be utilized as an overall approach to care. The need for research to develop a better understanding of the mechanisms of pain, prevention, to improve patient outcomes etc. was identified. The draft includes a discussion of special populations, such as pediatric, women, older adults, veterans etc. The draft also introduces a new term, chronic relapsing pain.

Instructions For Making Comments:

The goal of the Request For Comment is feedback on the Draft Report. Instructions for submission are as follows.

  1. Written comments should not exceed 3 pages.
  2. The public should note a specific section, gap and or recommendation of the report.
  3. Comments that include research, data and references to studies should include copies of the referenced material.
  4. Comments submitted by email should be machine-readable and not copy-protected.
  5. Responders are encouraged to include the name of the person or organization filing the comment, as well as page number on each page of submission, in case follow up is needed.

Written comments may be submitted by:

  1. Federal eRulemaking Portal hhtp://www. Regulations.gov, Docket Number: HHS-OS-2018-0027,
  2. Email to paintaskforce@hhs.gov, or
  3. Mail written comment to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, 200 Independence Ave SW, Room 736E, Attn. Alicia Richmond Scott, Pain Management Task Force Designated Federal Officer, Washington, DC 20201.


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