Oregon’s Medicaid Pain Proposal Pause & Listening to HERC Members Talk About Patients and Advocates After They Had Left the Room

Oregon’s Medicaid Pain Proposal Pause & Listening to HERC Members Talk About Patients and Advocates After They Had Left the Room

Living with conditions that cause an incredible amount of pain, daily, was never part of how most patients envisioned their future. Coming to terms with this reality and coping with progressive diseases is a long and personal and honorable journey.

At the last Health Evidence Review Commission (HERC) meeting on March 14th, 2019, there was a pause on a vote to pass a dangerous proposal drastically affecting Oregon’s Medicaid population. The pause was initiated because there is a possible conflict of interest for a decision maker that wasn’t disclosed and needed to be investigated.

The chronic pain task force (CPTF) Medicaid proposal, if passed, will require those with Fibromyalgia to completely taper off their pain analgesics. It will put limits and restrictions on medication for four broad pain conditions, as well as updating and stiffening a requirement for those with painful conditions of the spine, back and neck (updating Guideline Note 60 from a previous proposal). Readdressing Note 60 will force a complete taper of pain medications for conditions of the spine, back and neck with a mandated date of completion. Public attendees at the HERC meeting were told the CPTF topic (including the vote) had been tabled and the meeting would focus on other health topics. Attendees, who were expecting to testify, were still allowed to do so with a three minutes time limit. Because their topic was tabled, as soon as the public comment time was over, the chronic pain attendees left.

The Oregon Health Authority opened the Value-based Benefits Subcommittee with a statement informing attendees of the pause, It was reiterated at the beginning of the HERC portion of the meeting in the afternoon. You can find the OHA statement here. “OHA director pauses review of chronic pain benefit changes in Medicaid program pending independent review, in light of potential conflicts of interest by staff.”

It is important to note, this investigation needs to encompass not only the chronic pain task force proposal but the 2015 Back Reconfiguration task force. Oregon’s Medicaid Guideline Note 60 in particular, because of the possible conflict of interest present in that proposal as well. You can find out more about Guidelines Note 60 in this Lines for Life presentation Ariel Smits MD, who advises the chronic pain task force and the past Back Reconfiguration task force.

In addition, the 2015 Back and Neck Guideline Note 60 was passed without enough evidence. This shouldn’t have been allowed from an “evidence-based” committee. Without any evidence to support the guideline, HERC relied entirely on “expert opinions.” Further investigation (and this has been confirmed by the Oregon Health Authority) revealed the expert were all members of the task force itself. If the members of these task forces, committees and commissions are fundamentally relying on opinions from themselves, and not evidence, major issues can arise and curtail a policy based on beliefs, perspectives and possible biases and conflict of interests. In the words of Dr. Cuccaro himself who is on the HERC (you’ll hear him say this on the audio from the last meeting), “you cannot escape your biases.” Such as in the case being investigated now, that goes all the way back to the Back Reconfiguration task force and guidelines note 60, where there was lack of evidence to solidify removing opioid coverage for all back and spine conditions. We know of three “experts” total (members of the task force) who are now being investigated for financial conflict of interest. They are currently active members in the CPTF and HERC, and were a part of the previous proposal.

The quality of the call-in line (listen in only) to this particular HERC meeting was abysmal. It was virtually impossible to make out what was being said for the majority of both the morning Value-based Benefits Subcommittee (VbBS) and the afternoon’s Health Evidence Review Commission (HERC) meeting. Many chronic pain patients were unable to attend because of their disabilities and the call-in option is the only way for them to be present at the meeting. It was frustrating when the accommodations provided for the disabled are unusable. It should be the job of government agencies to make accessibility easy for the patients affected by potential decisions, not difficult. In lieu of being able to hear the meeting via the phone, and as a part of advocating for those unable to attend, audio recordings were immediately requested. The conversation that ensued after the chronic pain attendees left was very upsetting.

The call-in line continued to be sketchy at best. For the few who continued to attend the meeting via phone, at some point it became clear that there was further discussion happening about the chronic pain task force proposal—specifically the pause and conflict of interest topic. We waited for the audio recording from the public records department to hear the continued discussion, we were told would not happen during the meeting. We have sectioned this part of the conversation adding it to the beginning of the recording to allow for time constrains.

The audio can be found here and includes two parts. The introduction to the HERC meeting and explanation of the pause from the head of the OHA begins at the 40-minute mark. From the beginning of the audio to the 40-minute mark is the discussion of patients and advocates.

Some examples of the discussion include; @9 min 36 seconds Holly Jo Hodges MD says “I didn’t know what today was going to be like and wondered, did I need to bring my husband with me to walk with me (giggling). I mean, I did not know what to expect based on the amount of hysteria that seems to have been stirred up in their misunderstanding”.

@13 min 9 seconds, Kevin Cuccaro DO says “But everybody has some sort of conflict of interest because you cannot escape your biases. And what is a little disturbing to me and I understand trying to be completely transparent, but having looked at some of the evidence that is being put forth in support, and some of the people that are testifying supplying information, the conflict of interest that “they” have isn’t being revealed”.

We will leave that here. Further written transcripts are available by request by contacting The Oregon Pain Action Group. We welcome comments regarding your reaction to this audio, either here or please send an email to: oregonpainactiongroup@gmail.com.

In policy-making and committees who make decisions drastically affecting lives, there is a vast difference between patient advocates biases and those of the health policymakers (task force and committee members). Policymakers are deciding on the fate and lives of patients care, and their future. There is a level of conduct and respect that is essential when serving the public (and in this case a very vulnerable population with complex disabilities) in this manner. Clients’ biases, do not impact the wellbeing of the policy-makers, they do not potentially cause harms to their lives. The reverse cannot be said. The burden falls to the group with the power, but not to those defending themselves.

For patients and advocates, it takes courage to expose and open oneself up to testify at public meeting such as this. Patients deserve to feel safe, respected, heard and welcomed sharing personal health stories and insights of disabilities. Their input should be valued, and received as important information. There should be professionalism among the committee members, and courtesy extended to patients who are attending in order to give valuable information. Patients are experts too; they are living experts. Generalizations are dangerous, lumping populations together is dangerous, and contention breeds bad policymaking.

While it is hurtful how some members of HERC refer to patients and their testimony, this is not about feelings. This is about evidence or lack thereof. It is about making policy on a grand experimental scale for a very vulnerable population, a population who cannot acquire additional insurance coverage or pay out of pocket, this is the essence of Medicaid. It is about National and world-renowned experts who have interjected with facts, scientific evidence and dire warnings of harms. It’s HERC’s obligation to make sure their personal feelings about the disabled and the committees biases don’t get in the way of making evidence-based decisions that is in the best interest of the population they serve.

We believe it is not too much to ask, that this policy be corrected, that experts and patients are listened to and basic professional conduct is presented that is void of discrimination or contention. There is no place for discrimination in health policy, that’s why all policy should be evidence based without bias.

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Jill

I’m late to this discussion and I almost wish I’d never seen this report. I am fighting tears writing this. Scumbags!! Arrogant [edit]! Condesending ignorant “experts” that are as clueless as the general population regarding chronic pain. ” All chronic pain starts as acute pain” What idiot said that? Our legitimate outcry at deprivation of needed medicine is ” hysteria”? My heart goes out to Oregonians. God help them! Jennifer French had good news about legislation in Rhode Island, but doesn’t it figure the tiniest state with no power gets it right? Why isn’t the media fed this recording? I don’t understand any if it

Laura

I have had the disturbing experience of attending a few of the HERC and various sub-committee meetings, and can say that the ignorance of the comments as exhibited in this audio is typical. As is the blithely uncaring, and sometimes even jovial, attitude of the members. I have heard heart-wrenching testimonies, including one from my dear friend who related how she had once written her suicide note, and I’ve been sitting with tears in my eyes many times. The committee members are seemingly unaffected by any of this. What they like to do is discuss the great good they are doing in their proposals. And down-play the CPP concerns as things like, per this audio proof, ‘hysteria’. It is truly sickening to hear what comes from their mouths. I sincerely hope soon we can get more public knowledge happening on this vital issue, before it’s too late. HERC knows full well their decision will set a precedent. In fact, several members have mentioned this, and are counting on it. They are all about the pat on the back validation for ‘job well done’.

Researcher

To the people shocked or who think IP patients have the right as a American to not suffer…..that’s a INTERNATIONAL human right as stated by the UN, International Board of Narcotics, etc.
The US in the last revised DSM-5 (the BIBLE for insurance co & Drs) addiction was redefined as being DEPENDENT on opioids….meaning every single person on opioids is the same as a recreational heroin user.
The head of the committee had a huge “conflict of interest”….working for Big Pharma developing a addiction drug/paid for by insurance. At least 1 Dr left the revision of the DSM-5.
They’ve already covered their bases, we are all addicts under the law, no matter if end of life or what the condition.
They are going through the motions, this is a done deal.
Why aren’t the people with a conflict of financial interest called out for what that is? Not your RIGHT to even know.
Welcome to America! This is the tip of the iceberg. I’ve tediously explained several times what’s going on. Either my comments are voided or no one reads them. Good luck.

Dar

So many things go through my mind about the suffering and cruelty that has branded ‘people in pain’ as drug seeking, addicts, and more, it is hard to know where to begin. I am one of those ‘people in pain’. I have so much to say, and share, based on my research and real-life experience, but it is hard to know where to begin. I remember thinking I was being treated unfairly, and not really sure what was going on, then realizing how serious this has become. I know that does not sound right, but in addition to an array of health issues, and serious pain, I have a seizure disorder. Seizures can happen to anyone.They can be related to medical conditions like epilepsy, medications, and more. In my case diagnosed due to stress, anxiety, and poor sleep. That is all my doctors have been able to link the seizure disorder to. I was found to be disabled when I was in my twenties-I am in my fifties now. It started with Lupus when I was 16, then Lyme disease which brought a host of disabling conditions to my life. I am a writer, researcher, photographer, and have a small business, presently inactive, due to my health and other factors. I write about many issues, one of my favorites being inspirational writing. I am a hairdresser/cosmetologist since 1981, also on hold because of health issues. I have good at being independent, and enjoy working on my own. Thankfully the skills I have been blessed with enable me to keep going. After graduating from cosmetology school, I really hit a major roadblock when my foot swelled up so badly, became red and hot, and I could not walk for a month. I did not know what was happening to me. I had been active, even with Lupus, but my life soon changed forever. My memory has been affected because of the seizures, and it is sometimes very frustrating to have to explain why. I intend to keep posting, sharing, learning, advocating, and fighting for our right not to suffer in pain.This injustice will end. We do have rights!

Tess

This was very scary to listen to.One doc said can’t we leave legacy patients that are doing well alone ?then the lady chimes in and said the evidence shows that these conditions, risk outweigh benefits and do not help. How can any evidence say that when their are thousands of legacy patients that have been forced tapered are now bedbound, house bound, totally disabled and clearly suffering because of force taper or cut off? How do these people keep saying that pain meds have driven opiate crisis when CDC data show it doesn’t? I don’t understand how these people and others can be given the power over what someone else puts in and on their bodies. There are no limits or cuts to alcohol, sugar, tobacco yet people die from them! There is no medical reasons to smoke or drink yet those are not being targeted.pain meds give patients function and they are being taken away.im so defeated..how can all this be legal? It’s against the constitution.

Gary Priebe

Glad I don’t live in Oregon. Those people doing that to others in pain should be ashamed of themselves. Terrible.

Having had the dubious fortune to go to other meetings of this group & the chronic pain task farce, nothing about this surprises me. They have shown nothing but utter contempt & condescension for CPPs, whom they all agree are whining addicts. The makeup of the task farce is a veritable stew of conflicts of interest, and they made very sure that everyone associated with this proposal is in agreement with their goals before they had their first meeting or the proposal leaked out. Their insanely skewed vision of CPPs is abundantly illustrated by Holly Jo’s apparent fear that she wondered if she should bring her husband along to protect her from us…as more than one person pointed out, what was she worried about, that she’d get repeatedly run over by people in wheelchairs?

I have repeatedly referred to those people as “those people” because they have repeatedly proven themselves to be one solid bloc, all with the same ‘mind’ (closed) & attitude (CPPs are whiny addicts) & goal (to force everyone completely off opioids).

There may be no place for for discrimination in health policy, but this group has nothing to do with health policy. They’re out to force through an agenda that will fatten their professional groups & give them top bragging rights for being the greatest warriors against the “opioid epidemic,” facts, evidence, and sanity be damned.

Amy Milligan

My grandfather was the Chairman and Chief of Surgery at the University of Washington as well as serving in highly respected posts globally. If he were alive today, he would be aghast at the abject disrespect shown to patient advocates as well as the blatant cronyism and indisputable lack of scientific studies supporting an across the board taper of opioids across several patient groups.
The manner in which the public has been treated at hearings is shameful.
I attended a hearing, and was astounded by the condescension and glib responses provided by “experts” who for the most part wouldn’t qualify as a senior professor, or vice chair at a mediocre teaching hospital.

To be honest, it begs the question whether many who were somehow appointed to Oregon Health Authority board memberships have the public interest at heart. As some have clear conflict of interest in working for CCOs in order to bring down costs at any cost.
The AMA, the Wall St. Journal editorial board and the American Academy of Anesthesiologists have all written open letters and op Ed’s decrying HERC’s protocols, leadership and ideologies which are blatantly anti-opioid, with no peer reviewed studies or research to support their barbaric, radical and seemingly ill intentioned proposals.
These panels have been offered pro bono help from Stanford University among other esteemed institutions and medical professionals who have all been summarily rebuffed.
For the state of Oregon, and especially her most vulnerable citizens, the hubris and contempt shown during this process is beyond embarrassing and given that it’s being watched on a national scale, even more damning. The loss of dignity, health, hope and sustainability of life appears to mean nothing; other than a macabre way to slash the budget. But that budget will really be slashed once the lawsuits start coming in, and they are. The ACLU, Human Rights Watch, and others are keeping close tabs on these Oregon committees.

There is no law that protects the rights of people in chronic pain or for chronic pain people to receive treatment. Basically there is NO LAW for the RIGHTS of people who have intractable pain. There needs to be a law created for the treatment of intractable pain. That’s why these giggly morons can make fun of people in pain and deny them access to opiates it’s because there is no law for the protection and treatment of people in chronic pain. The government doesn’t want it. So they go about saying it’s protection of not creating addicts. Which we all know is the biggest pile of horse …! Why pull the rug out from under people before they create a substitute and I’m not talking about that stupid alternative physical therapy which basically is a form of milking Medicare. Medicare / Medicaid puts limits because they know this. But also puts people in debt trying to get out of pain which we all know Physical Therapy only can do a tiny smidgen of help. It’s not lasting in lowering pain. These meetings just keep going in circles because all you have is a bunch of crooked people and like one contributor says you have a bunch of wolves and one sheep at a dinner party. I’m not advocating for anyone to commit suicide but If people decide to commit suicide leave a note explaining why and those who are to blame get their names. Leave one for your family and mail one do several newspapers beforehand. And I hate saying that but that’s what they’re pushing people to do and they can giggle over the death toll they’re causing. I guess they can laugh all the way to the bank. It is terribly sad what our world has come to.

Kat Koe

If the media is notified they might be able to bring this type of corruption to the forefront. It could also be the beginning of a debate relating to other committees with these same “attitudes”.

Kat Koe

The decisions and comments from the Oregon Health Evidence Review Commission (HERC) are disgraceful. This is a good reminder that the behavior may not be limited to HERC. It may also be an example of more wide-spread problems how other committees make policy adversely affecting disabled and pain patients lives.

Many of us have family and friends that don’t believe our pain. How can we realistically expect policy and lawmakers to believe our pain? Based on the revelations from HERC it’s clear we can’t. Policy and lawmakers don’t comprehend complex medical conditions, how medications work and have never met us.

Molly K Canfield

How can we get the audio to a major news network??

You guys have done such a fantastic job. We have Gary Franklin, up here in WA, now trying his tricks here that he did down there. This is go state by state and we need everyone working together to make sure they don’t sneak these things through.

Sarah Angelilli

The individual who is making decisions to cut pain meds for those that have fibromyalgia obviously has not a clue the extreme pain this causes. The pain feels like the nerve endings are on fire sending flashes of scorching pain through out the entire body. This pain is relentless and will not stop by going to bed or sitting in a chair. This is inhumane and sad that good people have to suffer needlessly for others inability to restrain from over indulging on pain meds. I would hire a lawyer and Sue the state of Oregon for torture and cruelty to the human race. Doesn’t this violate Civil rights?! Don’t forget Karma is a bitch and it will come back on those that purposely cause pain & suffering to innocent people. What is happening to our country?! So sad.

Jeanette French

(a) A practitioner, in good faith and in the course of his or her professional practice
13 managing pain associated with a cancer diagnosis, palliative or nursing home care, chronic
14 intractable pain, or other condition allowed by department of health regulations pursuant to the
15 exception in § 21-28-3.20(d), may prescribe, administer, and dispense controlled substances, or
16 he or she may cause the controlled substances to be administered by a nurse or intern under his or
17 her direction and supervision without regard to the 2016 CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids
18 for Chronic Pain.
19 (b) For the purposes of this section “chronic intractable pain” means pain that is:
20 excruciating; constant; incurable, and of such severity that it dominates virtually every conscious
21 moment; produces mental and physical debilitation; and may produce a desire to commit suicide
22 for the sole purpose of stopping the pain. A diagnosis of chronic intractable pain made by a
23 physician licensed in any of the United States or the District of Columbia, and supported by
24 written documentation of the diagnosis by the treating physician, shall constitute proof that the
25 patient suffers from chronic and intractable pain.
26 (c) Practitioners, in the course of their professional practice, shall not refuse treatment to
27 chronic intractable pain patients for the sole reason that these patients require intensive treatment.
28 (d) Pharmacists, upon receiving the proper documentation that a person suffers from
29 chronic intractable pain, shall not refuse to fill a prescription related to the diagnosis.
30 Documentation related to the filling of a prescription under this subsection shall only be required
31 by the pharmacist upon the initial filling of the prescription.
32 (e) The director of health shall promulgate rules and regulations necessary to ensure that
33 pain management associated with a cancer diagnosis, palliative or nursing home care, chronic

Jeanette French

the above bill being introduced into Rhode Island is what we now need in all 50 states. Please read the bill 5434
below.

Alan Edwards

HERC has no fear of bad public behavior towards a few IP sufferers. Let the microphone be hot. They are basking in the sun of political power and a false superiority that a medical doctorate brings with an UnGodly heart. Paraphrasing J.D. “The snickerers were thinking of a posh restaurant and fine wine with which to wash down their free Oregon State lunch.”
Pain patients be damned.

I’m at a loss for words having just now listened to the recording. Could it be that I’m just misinformed or maybe hysterical?

After 30 years of experience and a life in decline I can say – I’m well informed and passionate about what’s happening to Chronic Pain Patients,

In Oregon it sounds like Politics / Insurance & Money Drive this topic & their committee.

I have tried hard to look at both sides of the issue – I read studies, I listen to experts & I watch the numbers for Addiction & Overdose Deaths. When my Dr tells me “ I know you’re in Pain but I won’t lose my license because of it “ I get the feeling that a person with Chronic Pain has lost their “ Citizenship “ and should focus more on DEALING with my Pain accordingly.

What I hear on the recording has nothing to do with TREATMENT of PAIN and more to do with the politics of Healthcare / Insurance.

What happens to all those patients after they are tapered off of Pain Medication? Well, they can pay cash if they must.

This is getting CRAZY !

The way it looks here is the decision is already made and they are just going through the motions of things to make it look like they did all.Who are any to say how much someone hurts?Or how much is enough?The professionals that has been in pain or through things with loved ones are more to make better decisions.It is about the $$. Have any even looked at the stats of countrys that have legalsized or helped people to do drugs in a safe and healthy manner? Cost went down,death rates went down and recovery went up etc..! Why is it the addicts can receive way better than pain people? They are saying chronic pain people are just addicts.I like how judge Judy always says that if it don’t make sense then it’s not true or something just isn’t right! REAL PROVEN CHRONIC PAIN PEOPLE don’t just stop fighting on your own get help from friends and family to get it out there for the rest of the public to know.They don’t just need to know what career politicians and media wants us to know.We are AMERICAN’S and this has to do with ALL and not the right or the left or Democrat or Republicans.I heard 40 a day of chronic pain people are committing suicide. FIGHT BACK!

Kris Aaron

“We know of three “experts” total (members of the task force) who are now being investigated for financial conflict of interest. They are currently active members in the CPTF and HERC, and were a part of the previous proposal.”

OMG. Nothing like a little financial conflict of interest to affect the outcome.

“Holly Jo Hodges MD says “I didn’t know what today was going to be like and wondered, did I need to bring my husband with me to walk with me (giggling). I mean, I did not know what to expect based on the amount of hysteria that seems to have been stirred up in their misunderstanding”.

Giggling. Just what chronic pain patients need to hear from medical professionals discussing their futures. Giggling.
Oh, Holly Jo. All those years in medical school and you’re GIGGLING when discussing people in pain? There are no words to describe how that makes me feel. (well, there *are* words, but not polite ones)
And then, “… the amount of hysteria.” HYSTERIA?? She’s talking about how people living with chronic pain react to losing their medication as HYSTERIA?
If any living human deserves to experience just one week of what we go through, it’s dear little Holly Jo, with her giggling and “hysteria.”
These are the people who will decide our fate? People on the take? People who giggle and call us hysterical?
[edit]

Norm

I 100% agree with J.D. As I too am not from Oregon. But we were looking for property there. But since my pain is in my lower back it seems like that may not be a choice. It’s disgusting to me to think these so called professionals are pretty much making fun of us. Not realizing that most of us are very intelligent. Probably a lot more intelligent that most of, if not all of them. How dare they think they can’t make that decision the way they are trying to. I am not one to ever wish harm on anyone. I love everybody until proven differently. And would never wish my degree of pain on anybody. Not even someone I do not like. But each and everyone of them needs to experience our type of pain. And they will. It’s called karma.

Terri James

This is appalling and disgusting not to mention extremely uncalled for on so many levels. Here we have a group of people who call themselves professional. Professional critics and crooks is what they are. Laughing at the expense of others who are not as fortunate, others who are disabled that are being “forced” to live in chronic debilitating pain. Debilitating pain that could be helped immensely if only this nightmare of an Injustice would end. This is anything but a laughing matter and should not be allowed or tolerated. The one that laughed, stating she wondered if she should bring her husband with her was apparently scared to death of what might could happen to her. This tells me they “know” they’re doing the wrong thing but it’s more than obvious; they don’t care one little bit! This committee should be fired and replaced by knowledgeable professionals that know about chronic pain, not the almighty chronic dollar. What can be done now? Seriously, I’m asking does anyone have any ideas for this is so hideously wrong not to mention extremely unexcusable!

Dar

What about our constitutional right not to suffer in pain. Just as most hospitals ask about our level of pain, and post signs that we have a right not to be a pain, it is a right. If the plea of people in pain is not enough to change the voices of rigid control, then the basic rights of our constitution is. Why are the legal rights of people not being addressed? Go after people breaking the law, and have some compassion for those suffering. Nobody knows what it is like unless they, or somebody they love, go through this crime against humanity. Watch as people realize their rights are being violated, and lawsuits began surfacing. Money and power are basic reasons for some to try and control others. Certan individuals prey on the weak and vulnerable. This is America. It is time to stand up for our rights. They have been taken away in the name of justice? This is not justice. It is a crime against humanity. Obviously, pleas for compassion have not been recognized. The (some) people who take advantage of their power by ‘scaring’ the public with false information fed through the media. These same people know how to manipulate their way into the hearts of good people. They often use scare tactics to fuel fear, and often appear to ‘help’ others. They know what people want to hear, and act as though it is their job to make things right, while at the same striving to influence, and gain power. Who wins? It is time to stand up for our basic rights. We have a right not to suffer in pain.

Pain patient

The RSD has mades it harder to focus, I find it hard to read long articles. It would be great if the key points could be highlighted or made into bullet points.
I appreciate the work you do to help Pain Patients. Thank you.

Susan

Who among you know the kind of pain another is experiencing. Just as the Social Security does not know the kind of pain a disability applicant is suffering. If Oregon passes a taper off policy, what liability will they place themselves in? People who experience no pain do not know the consequences of the chronic pain patient. They have no reference in which to make a decision. A chronic pain patient’s only advocate is their physician. How can you speak for chronic pain patient’s when you have no real reference by which to make an informed decision?

Marsha

The “pause” in this ongoing travesty is not because OHA or HERC or VVVS or whoever they were want to be more compassionate or caring for the pain patients. It’s because they are being careful to maintain their own credibility so when this gets passed by their group it will go to the legislature unquestioned. The audio did not cover the 9 public testimonies, who were allowed 3 minutes each.

My thoughts on what I heard:

Dr. Holly Jo Hodges has clearly positioned herself on opposition to the pain community. Referring to public outrage as “hysteria ” and feigning fear at walking into the building without protection. I believe it was she who questioned out of state witnesses being allowed and witnesses paid by drug companies.

One of the speakers made the comment “all chronic pain begins as acute pain.” I’ve heard that before from the experts. That’s not how my story goes and I bet many of you agree. My osteoarthritis began slowly and got worse with time. I didn’t even know I had fibromyalgia for years until it was finally diagnosed correctly. It was progressive also. This may not be important, but it proves to me the experts don’t always know what they’re talking about.

The fact that the Medicaid population is being singled out for opioid (or lack of) experimenting seems totally a money thing. A sick and vulnerable community that can’t fight back against a governmental agency given authority to do what it will. I believe that point was made by the moderator.

I have no hope for a good outcome for Oregon.

Holly

Damn them to HELL!!

Theresa Thompson

This matter should be between the patient and Dr. Regardless of a persons socio economic status. Are we trying to increase suicide among our pain patients? Trying even harder to eliminate our indigent pain patients. Disgusting!

Gary Raymond

Within all American governments, decisions have been made by staff and executives before public testimony occurs. The opportunity to testify is a legal requirement and civic testimony bears no influence upon the issue. Debates among professionals and government people regarding the issue have occurred before public testimony is scheduled. No government employee or executive who wants to keep his job is going to change his mind and side with “ignorant” citizens who have only a few minutes to express their perspective. The staff reports and recommendations would have to be rewritten! Money speaks effectively before public testimony is scheduled.

Helene

We need to come up with technology that lets these ignorant people feel what we feel in our bodies for one day. Literally feel it. I’m sure they would change their tune. Or maybe not. Maybe they are just sadistic.
Also, all I heard is there’s self-serving flippant attitudes about how tough this is for them. How nobody understands what they are going through. Oh boo freaking hoo. That’s a joke right? What THEY are going through?
Patting each other on the back.
This whole thing is just beyond ridiculous.

Helene

I am seething right now. I can hear Hodges say that everybody needs to be off opioids. This woman is clearly evil. What she is suggesting is that any chronic pain patient should be tortured 24 hours a day 7 days a week. All I can say is I wish for her to find herself in chronic pain with no access to opioids ever. This whole thing is Ludacris and I can’t even believe that it is actually happening. That these people have lives in their hands and this is how they are talking? Oh my God. It is barbaric

Laurie

What SHOULD BE and WHAT IS in America now, is entirely different from what used to be.
We’re locked in capitalistic medicine; NOT a good system for patients. In fact, not a system for anything but bilking patients as much as possible.
I hope the Pain Report can help us get to the bottom of this scam.
Oregon is, obviously, a test case.

From the group of pain conditions you list, it includes nearly everybody.
This is very frightening

Heather

This is an unethical experiment that will cost lives. I am livid! They should call in experts and listen to feedback from doctors who will have to see these patients face-to-face – who will read their patients’ names in the obituary columns.

A committee that is evidence-based cannot rely solely on their own “expertise” but actually needs to do the work to investigate the issue fully.

I charge that decisions made by this committee are arbitrary – and therefore, need to be fully investigated. If this has been their conduct in the past, then this committee is not qualified to do the job and should be disbanded.

They cannot call themselves “evidence-based.” That’s bottom-line.

Their comments do show the very bias that the HHS Task Force draft document says is an Obstacle to patient care.

Terri McFarland

It was very evident that this committee has no regard or respect for the people whose lives will be affected by their decision. I was appalled at their level of disinterest in the public and professional testimony. I believe this committee should be removed as biased and ignorant of what their duties are.

Nellie

HERC should be sued by multiple class action law suits brought by people being forced off their medication.

J.D.

I am not from Oregon but as usual, you know these type of decisions on topics such as this will eventually have some effect on all the pain patients and future pain patients.
I find it completely disgusting that in these overly Politically Correct times that you have to watch anything you say or do regarding almost every topic to make sure you do not purposely or accidently offend anyone although it seems that doesn’t apply to people in pain. How can these OHA representatives have the “nerve” (not my actual first choice for wording) to not only pause the meeting but then decide to talk about these people after they left and even appear to have a good laugh at their expense since the members of the OHA seem to think we are all not too bright and are just “hysterical” since we couldn’t possibly grasp the reality of this situation but instead we “misunderstood” it.

This type of abuse of power (since I don’t know what else to call this) is typical of so many governmental groups that are supposedly there to help us all and all they really do is put as little effort into some very important topics while attempting to gather up as much power/money/future employment opportunities for themselves and their families. They better be very careful with this topic because people are looking to take these type of people/groups down and make them publicly pay for all pain/suffering/death they have caused. I hope I am around long enough to see the repercussions to everyone involved who basically turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to us all while giving more consideration to where they are going for their lunch.