March 22, 2016
HHS Releases National Strategy to Reduce Burden of Chronic Pain
On March 18, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released the National Pain Strategy, which outlines the federal government’s plan for reducing the prevalence of chronic pain. Developed by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee (IPRCC), the Strategy identifies specific short, medium, and long-term deliverables in six key areas: population research, prevention and care, disparities, service delivery and payment, professional education and training, and public education and communication. The HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health will next consider the recommendations in the Strategy and develop an implementation plan.
Physician anesthesiologists were involved in each step of the creation of the Strategy. ASA Committee on Pain Medicine members Daniel B. Carr, M.D., M.A., Sean C. Mackey, M.D., Ph.D, and James Rathmell, M.D., contributed to the Strategy. Other physician anesthesiologists 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. In addition, ASA joined Pain Care Coalition partners — the American Academy of Pain Medicine and the American Pain Society — in making formal recommendations to HHS on how to improve the Strategy when it was initially proposed in April 2015. In September 2015, ASA also made formal recommendations to the IPRCC on the development of a Federal Pain Research Strategy, which will identify gaps in pain research and recommend directions for new research.
ASA will continue to review the National Pain Strategy and looks forward to working with HHS and other stakeholders on taking steps to improve access to high-quality care for patients with chronic pain.