Hundreds of public comments about the National Pain Strategy were submitted to the federal government by the May 20th deadline.
The comments were received by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. They are not being shared on the Federal Register, at least for now.
When will the final version of the National Pain Strategy be released?
“The comments will be reviewed by HHS for consideration to revise the document which will take some time. We’re hopeful that the process would be complete by late summer or early fall,” Linda Porter, Ph.D., Policy Advisor for Pain with the National Institutes of Health wrote in an email to the National Pain Report.
Industry and academic leaders are positive about the impact that the National Pain Strategy can have.
“I think it’s a great step forward for researchers in the pain field and most importantly for patients with chronic pain,” said Dr. Seth Lederman, President and Chairman of Tonix Pharmaceuticals which is developing medicines for common disorders of the central nervous system including fibromyalgia.
We couldn’t reach Dr. Sean Mackey of Stanford University, one of the architects of the draft National Pain Strategy after the May 20th deadline passed. But in prior comments, he believes the document will be a start to mobilizing a national conversation and education on the issue of chronic pain.
“That’s when we all need to mobilize. We need to come together. One of the things that I am working on is to mobilize professional and medical associations and patient advocacy groups and work together to define some clear sound bites, some clear messaging that we can all get behind in this NPS,” Dr. Mackey said. “We need to speak with a single common voice about pushing these goals forward.”
Six areas addressed in the draft National Pain Strategy are: (1) population research; (2) prevention and care; (3) disparities; (4) service delivery and reimbursement; (5) professional education and training, and (6) public education and communication.
Some of the testimony that we know about centered on a concern that the National Pain Strategy doesn’t go far enough.
Dr. Terri Lewis who is an expert in Rehabilitation Administration and setting up health care systems is one such voice.
“We need a system of integrated care that address and coordinates prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and research,” she said. “We need to examine the integrity of our population data against the periodic auditing of patient data and comparisons to whether our treatment interventions for chronic pain allow consumers and their care partners to exchange and transact with their community resources.”
Dr. Lewis is no stranger to the issue of chronic pain. She is the mother and the daughter of chronic pain patients, and will be moderating two panels at the International Pain Congress in Chicago in June.
The NIH’s Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee was charged by HHS to create a comprehensive population health level strategy for pain prevention, treatment, management and research.