HHS Announces Creation of Pain Management Task Force - American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA)

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HHS Announces Creation of Pain Management Task Force

Last week, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price, M.D., announced the creation of the Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force to develop best practices for prescribing pain medication and for managing chronic and acute pain. The Task Force was authorized by the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, P.L. 114-198, which was passed last Congress and included key provisions supported by ASA. The Task Force will be charged with determining whether there are gaps or inconsistencies in pain management best practices among federal agencies; proposing recommendations on addressing gaps or inconsistencies; providing the public with an opportunity to comment on any proposed recommendations; and developing a strategy for disseminating information about best practices.

As described in the Federal Register, the Task Force will include representatives from HHS, the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense and the Office of National Drug Control Policy, as well as experts and patients in areas related to pain management, pain advocacy, addiction, recovery, substance abuse disorders, mental health, and minority health.

As leaders in pain medicine, ASA is reviewing this posting and will be submitting a nomination for a Task Force representative. ASA has worked closely with many partner organizations and other medical societies to explore solutions to the opioid epidemic. Some key activities include increasing physicians’ use of prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs), working to expand access to naloxone and promoting education of effective, evidence based prescribing, as well as advancing multimodal and multidisciplinary pain management, including insurance coverage of non-opioid therapies.

Additionally, ASA has taken the lead in working with hospitals in a unique pilot program to improve post-operative opioid pain management. Through an ASA- Premier, Inc. partnership, the Safer Post-operative Pain Management: Reducing Opioid-related Harm pilot officially launched in September 2017 and runs through March 2018. Findings from the pilot will be shared across the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Hospital Improvement Innovation Networks, ASA members, and policymakers to shape government initiatives and accelerate safer pain management practices. The pilot includes partnering with patients and families on pain management expectations, as well as education on the safe use, storage and disposal of opioids, and the prevention of opioid misuse and abuse post discharge. Clinicians at participating hospitals will also receive education from ASA physician-member faculty on appropriate opioid screening, prescribing, dispensing and administration.

ASA looks forward to working with the Administration and this Task Force to develop best practices for pain management.

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