Legislation that will build awareness of a severe chronic pain condition is another step closer to law in Ohio. The Ohio State House’s Health and Aging Committee approved Senate Bill 40 this week, which will educate Ohio physicians about Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS).
The reason for the bill? CRPS is very hard to diagnose.
“The average CRPS patient might see five doctors before it is diagnosed,” explains Jim Broatch, executive director of the Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome Association, a national non-profit organization devoted to education and research about CRPS.
Senate Bill 40 is the brainchild of Bob Harris, an Akron finish carpenter who has suffered from CRPS for many years. He has been trying to get this legislation passed for over five years. Now he’s closer to achieving his dream.
“The House Committee vote is another important step in our five year battle to get more education and awareness about CPRS here in Ohio,” said Harris. “We will keep working to get the House to approve the bill and for Governor Kasich to sign it.”
A spokesman for the bill’s sponsor, Senator Eric Kearney, said the bill still has to pass the House of Representatives and then will go on to the Governor’s office for his signature.
Harris believes the Governor will sign it.
Pain physicians in Ohio have been helping to educate the legislature about CRPS, which is a syndrome that is characterized by severe burning pain, excessive sweating, tissue swelling and extreme sensitivity to touch.
“My pain patients who suffer from CRPS deserve better. An earlier diagnosis can reduce a lot of the suffering that CRPS patients have to endure,” explained Dr. Tony Lababidi of Akron, who testified in Columbus when the bill was being considered in the Senate.
The whole chronic pain spectrum, which includes CRPS, is getting increasing national attention. The Institute of Medicine recently cited the need to develop better pain management strategies in the U.S. Chronic pain affects more than 116 million people and costs as much as $650 billion each year in treatment and lost productivity.