On May 20, ASA joined Pain Care Coalition (PCC) partners— the American Academy of Pain Medicine (AAPM) and the American Pain Society (APS)— in applauding the release of the draft National Pain Strategy (NPS), a draft federal document that offers a comprehensive population health-level strategy to address pain prevention, care, education, and research. The PCC submitted formal comments to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) and also sent comments to Secretary Sylvia Burwell at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the agency that will take the lead in implementing the Strategy.
In the comment letters, ASA and the PCC commend the Strategy’s goals to address pain as a public health issue. The draft NPS is a direct outgrowth of the 2011 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, Relieving Pain in America: A Blueprint for Transforming Prevention, Care, Education and Research, which called for the collection of timely and consistent data on pain and for the expansion of pain research. The report also identified six important “areas of need” which the NPS focuses on, with a set of interrelated objectives and action plans for each of the areas. These include population research, prevention and care, disparities, service delivery and reimbursement, professional education and training, and public awareness and communication.
In its comment letter, the PCC expresses general support for the draft NPS and offers recommendations to make the Strategy stronger including:
- Supporting investment into basic and clinical research as one of the core “areas of need;”
- Prioritizing professional education across the care-team by extending the expectation of competency in team-based pain care, as reflected in licensing examinations;
- Designating a lead-agency responsible for each area of need identified in the Strategy; and
- Providing direction for HHS to develop a funding plan and strategy for each of the areas of need included in the draft NPS.
ASA Committee on Pain Medicine members Daniel B. Carr, MD, MA, Sean C. Mackey, MD, PhD, and James Rathmell, MD contributed to the strategy. Other ASA members involved include Colonel Chester Buckenmaier III, M.D.; Steven P. Cohen, M.D. ; Scott M. Fishman, M.D.; Lynn Webster, M.D.; FACPM, FASAM; and Carmen R. Green, M.D.
ASA looks forward to continuing to work with HHS and stakeholders as the Strategy is finalized and ultimately implemented.
Read the draft National Pain Strategy
Read the Washington Alert on the release of the NPS