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IHPC Supports the HHS Pain Management Best Practices Inter-agency Task Force Report

DaVinci Laboratories

The Integrative Health Policy Consortium (IHPC) has announced its support for the recently released U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force Report.

“We have justifiably been focused on the actions of the pharmaceutical industry, which helped perpetuate the opioid crisis by promoting drugs for pain that they knew had the potential for significant harm, but what has not received enough attention is this groundbreaking report from HHS,” said IHPC Policy Committee Co-Chair, Sharad Kohli, MD. “This document paints a path forward to effectively address pain with a multidisciplinary strategy utilizing non-pharmacologic approaches. Many of the therapies recommended are not only safer but more effective than opioids, will prevent unnecessary deaths and will improve the quality of life for the millions of Americans currently suffering with pain.”

The report identifies gaps and inconsistencies in pain management and offers recommendations for improving pain management best practices. The Task Force emphasizes key non-pharmaceutical centered approaches to improve the lives of patients living with acute and chronic pain:

  • Individualized, patient-centered care fostering a therapeutic alliance between the patient and clinician
  • Multidisciplinary approaches utilizing one or more treatment modalities and the biopsychosocial model to pain care
  • Consideration of special patient populations, as well as comorbid conditions that can accompany complex pain conditions
  • Recommending the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and other insurers align their reimbursement guidelines for non-opioid pharmacologic therapies with current clinical practice guidelines.

The Task Force’s recommendations span five broad treatment approaches to pain management: Medication, Restorative Therapies, Interventional Procedures, Behavioral Health Approaches and Complementary and Integrative Health, that are reinforced by four cross-cutting themes critical to all treatment approaches:Risk Assessment, Stigma, Access to Care and EducationThe report also discusses the role of the 2016 Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain, released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A philosophical and cultural shift to focus on addressing chronic and acute pain by using complementary and integrative health, including non-pharmacologic approaches, has been proven effective and is widely supported by practitioners working in all health care settings. These treatment options include acupuncture, massage therapy, physical and occupational therapies, cognitive behavioral therapy, manipulative therapy, yoga, tai chi and meditation.

To read the full report and see HHS’ accompanying toolkit, visit www.hhs.gov/ash/advisory-committees/pain/reports/index.html.