A Call to Action for the Chronic Pain Community

By Mary Cremer.

We have the strength to change this world.

Pain patients are strong. We have had to educate ourselves, family, friends and doctors about our conditions. Some of us have chosen surgery or surgeries, some of us have not. Basically, we have had to learn how to be tougher than we could ever imagine possible. We are fighters!!!

It’s now time to unite and fight for our rights, our family’s rights, our children’s rights and future pain patients.

Right now, there is currently an attack on Chronic Pain Patients. The attack started out as attack on opioids, but has now evolved. Our basic right of the doctor/patient relationship is now compromised.

Doctors are being attacked from at least five different sources. The first hit came from the government. Many states have dictated IF a doctor can prescribe meds and the quantity the doctor can prescribe. Some states are stricter than others. Some states have caused confusion. And, if a doctor is able to continue prescribing, they have to jump through hoops to do this.

The second attack on doctors came from their medical insurance companies. Many practice liability insurances are also dictating doses doctors can prescribe.

The third attack is the patient’s insurance. We all have different insurance and doctors are constantly fighting our companies to cover tests and meds for our benefit.

The fourth attack has been from the hospital groups that are the doctor’s “bosses”. Doctors may seem independent. After all, when you have an appointment, it’s just with them. But, it’s not. Many times, they are employed by a hospital group. Their employers are now dictating their thoughts on what doctors should do.

The fifth attack has been from the pharmacies. Many pharmacies also have government intrusion. The pharmacies and pharmacists are being sued. Pharmacies have had to put in place documented reasons patients are on certain meds. This means communication with the doctor and less patient time.

Imagine being a doctor and have endured 8 years or more of medical school, have taken on debt and now would like to treat patients. Instead the government, their liability insurance, our insurance companies, their employers and pharmacies are all dictating OUR care. You can only imagine the amount of confusion and time it takes to follow all the rules being placed on doctors. And, I don’t recall the government, the doctor’s liability insurance, our insurance, or the pharmacies sitting in on our appointments. All of these outside sources are dictating our medical care and they don’t even know us.

So, what can we do? We can FIGHT! We can unite and fight to make the effective changes we need to restore the doctor/patient relationship.

Positive, educational, proactive, calm communication is what is needed to make changes.

Who has the power to make the changes? It’s your elected officials.

We need to ask elected officials for help.

But, we need to make this very clear. When people approach us in a negative way, what do we do? We shut down and it turns us off.  And any negative contacts will actually do more damage than anything.

The real way to make effective changes is to ask for help from our elected officials. We need them to hear our side. We need proactive, educational, positive and calm contacts. We need for our elected official to say that they have been hearing from us. Because, right now they have not.

I challenge every pain patient, their family or friend to do this. Please create an email that contains…

  1.         Who you are and what conditions you have. Also, any procedures you have had. Also, include a little about your life.
  2.         List if you currently have access to pain meds, or if you do not, or if your pain control options are being threatened.
  3.         Describe what pain meds do for you. Describe what quality it brings to your life daily or post-surgery. Describe the functions you can do. Then describe what it would be like if you didn’t have pain meds, or if you have lost them.
  4.         Ask for their help and to restore the doctor/patient relationship.
  5.         Define that the real problem is not with Chronic Pain Patients, but with the illegal drugs that are causing deaths. Ask them to look at the strictest states and see their death toll has only risen.
  6.         When you have your letter created, ONLY SIGN YOUR NAME AND PHONE NUMBER. (The reason this is because this doesn’t show what district you are in.)
  7.         Then you are going to email ALL your elected officials. DO THIS WITH COPY AND PASTE. This means ALL of your state reps (my state has 163 state reps and they have all been emailed 4 times). This also means all of your state level senators, your governor, your state department of social services, your state Medical Association, your senators at the federal level and your state reps at the federal level, your attorney general and president. Then any other elected officials you want to contact too.

We must unite to make changes. You can do this, we can do this. Our future depends on this. We have fought so much and we must fight more. Our voices must be heard as a loud choir.

Mary Cremer has been fighting for change in Missouri working with a key legislator to help convince Governor Parson repeal an executive order issued by his predecessor that may be worsening the treatment for chronic pain patients in the state.

For more on that, read here.

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