Advocating for You: Focus on the role physician anesthesiologists play in addressing pain medicine
Why This Matters
ASA considers pain medicine a top priority of the organization and advocates for its members on issues related to pain medicine from the Advocacy Division in Washington, D.C. As the universally acknowledged experts in pain medicine, physician anesthesiologists have been at the forefront of implementing best practices to treat pain care patients.
The complex nature of pain medicine requires a multidisciplinary approach and is a subspecialty involving many areas of interest and different medical disciplines. Advanced practice nurses may work together with and under the supervision of pain medicine physicians. Nurse anesthesia training and licensure or other non-physician educational courses are insufficient to meet competencies for the independent practice of Pain Medicine. The licensure, training and clinical experience of non-physicians is insufficient to provide the medical expertise required for the evaluation, diagnosis and management of complex pain, especially, advanced invasive interventional procedures.
In preserving patients’ best interests, the ASA maintains an ongoing commitment to the delivery of safe, multidisciplinary, physician-led pain care.
What You Should Know
Advocacy efforts continue to focus on increasing patient access to multimodal and multidisciplinary pain management, as well as insurance coverage of non-opioid therapies; enhancing physician education, including safe and effective opioid prescribing; encouraging safe storage and disposal of opioid medications; and increased research on pain and non-opioid alternatives.
What ASA is Doing For You
ASA has hosted two landmark Pain Summits with 15 medical specialty organizations. The summits’ focus were on acute surgical pain principles, many of which are rooted in techniques to reduce opioids, like multimodal analgesia, as well as managing complex surgical patients. The complex populations addressed include individuals with substance use disorders, chronic pain or on long-term opioid therapy.
ASA collaborated with the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) on the development of a Pain Alleviation Toolkit. This encompasses strategies for safe and effective alleviation of postoperative pain and optimal opioid stewardship, including resources for clinicians and patients to help patients get as comfortable as possible, as safely as possible. We hope this unique partnership between two specialty societies can spread to other disciplines.