February 29, 2012
ASA Addresses Key Findings and Recommendations of IOM Pain Report to Senate HELP Committee
ASA addressed the key findings and recommendations from the Institute of Medicine's (IOM) report, Relieving Pain in America: A Blueprint for Transforming Prevention, Care, Education, and Research, in an official Statement for the Record to the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP). The February 14 hearing entitled, Pain in America: Exploring Challenges to Relief, largely focused on the June 2011 IOM report. The IOM report assessed the current state of the science of pain research, care, and education and made numerous recommendations that the authors believe would advance the field of pain medicine.
In the Statement for the Record, ASA highlighted key findings and recommendations of the IOM report that will help anesthesiologists provide more efficient and effective pain care for their patients. ASA agreed with the IOM report that pain is often a symptom of a disease, but chronic pain can be a disease in itself. Multimodal interventions should be used to care for patients with chronic pain, and when available, multidisciplinary programs should be used. In addition, ASA was pleased that the IOM report calls for collecting timely and consistent data on pain and expanding pain research.
ASA, in leading the implementation of the IOM report’s recommendations, is developing additional educational materials for patients that promote and enable self-management of chronic pain to enhance our existing patient-centered offerings.
While the IOM report highlights the need for better pain care, ASA expressed concern that “the IOM report calls into question state laws that restrict the scope of practice of nurses and recommends that educational programs for nursing 'have increased capacity to train providers who can offer advanced pain care' ” (quoting IOM report, pages 204, 210). To ensure patient safety and the highest quality of care, ASA reiterated its position that “interventional pain management is the practice of medicine provided only by qualified MDs/DOs.”
In regard to public and physician education on chronic pain, ASA urged the Senate HELP Committee to reconsider mandating a public education campaign on pain management and expressed support for the NIH Pain Consortium’s new funding opportunity to create Centers of Excellence in Pain Education at medical, dental, pharmacy, and nursing professional schools.