Oregon Medicaid Meeting Nears – Petition is Launched

Oregon Medicaid Meeting Nears - Petition is Launched

By Ed Coghlan.

With the Oregon Chronic Pain Task Force scheduled to meet on Thursday (September 20), the question is whether it will change its mind on a forced taper policy for Oregon Medicaid patients who use opioids to address their chronic pain.

Their recommendation met considerable criticism at an August 9th meeting of a Health Evidence Review Commission subcommittee from over 400 patients and numerous providers who argued that the force taper would hurt patients.

The task force will hear limited public testimony Thursday, but is not expected to make any formal action or create any formal recommendations.

Oregon residents have started a petition aimed at the state’s political leaders. If you want to read it and join the protest, you can do so here.

One leading Oregon physician testified on August 9 in opposition to the policy.

Dr. Ginevra Liptan of Portland tweeted that day: “I tried really hard not to cry, but did anyway, while testifying before the Oregon Health Authority against their disastrous proposal to mandate opiate taper for all chronic pain patients.”

Dr. Liptan is a Portland fibromyalgia physician who suffers from it herself and has since medical school. We asked what she would tell regulators if she were able to attend this Thursday.

“Oregon remains to this day the only state whose Medicaid program does not cover fibromyalgia treatment, which is shameful, and has contributed to our current opioid issues. I testified in 2014 to argue that that by doing this, Medicaid has made inexpensive opioids the primary treatment option available to manage fibromyalgia, since patients have not been able to access physical therapy, see a pain specialist, try any of the FDA-approved medications for fibromyalgia, let alone access any type of alternative options like massage or acupuncture.”

The Oregon Health Authority has drawn nationwide attention for its forced taper policy. Dr. Liptan thinks focusing on more and not less treatment options for chronic pain community should be what OHA focuses on.

“Making fibromyalgia a covered diagnosis on Medicaid is long overdue, as is covering a variety of treatment options. Fibromyalgia and chronic pain patients need MORE tools in their pain management toolbox, not less,” she said. “That would be a reasonable and positive direction Oregon Medicaid could take towards lessening reliance on opioids in chronic pain patient.”

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Authored by: Ed Coghlan

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Not all chronic pain patients are “addicts.” They are dependent and develop tolerance, just as many other patients do on other medications used for long-term treatment. Douglas County force-tapered all their OHP patients back in 2013 and left them hanging because they refused to pay for those “active” therapies until over a year later, but then put limits on them. Most chronic pain patients have already done all these therapies and more. Since this is more about a cost issue that the state doesn’t want to pay for anymore, let us start holding other patients accountable for their actions and inactions that also cost the state millions of dollars a year. When that diabetic keeps eating the wrong foods, doesn’t exercise, and fails to lose weight, why don’t we start penalizing them? They are doing everything wrong and it costs the state a lot of money to keep them alive when what they are truly doing is eating themselves to death. How about the cardiac patients who get bypasses and other surgeries but continue to smoke? How about the patients with chronic lung disease from smoking? Why not refuse to give them further surgery or even medications when they choose to smoke themselves to death? How about the alcoholics who are drinking themselves to death but get treatments for their liver disease that they caused and continue to cause by their abuse of a legal drug? Quit spending millions of dollars on cholesterol lowering drugs when those people refuse to change their diets. You can’t eat whatever you want and just take a magic pill to correct your fat intake. It’s time to hold all these patients and others, more responsible for their continued poor choices that cost the government billions over the years. This is where you can really save the BIG MONEY! Oregon could also save millions a year if they quit paying medical providers for visits that are fraudulently documented just to get paid more per visit. Electronic medical records allow them to “cut and paste” the same old stories over and over again; the same physical findings, etc. over and over again. Nothing changes but the visits get shorter and the bill stays high to the insurance company. If you failed to do the physical as documented, it is FRAUD, plain and simple. But the Oregon Medical Board and other licensing boards care less about that type of professional ethics because they are all part of the same fraud scheming behavior.

Kathy Pflugrad

I finally figured out how to sign the petition. EVERY ONE should sign it cps or not. We’ve got to save our rights.
PS. My meds don’t make me high. But they do cut my pain. Cps patients don’t take opioids to get high.

Kathy Pflugrad

Most of us in chronic pain are low income due to disability and are on medicad. We are unable to work let alone get on with life. Why must they persecute us. It just isn’t fair.
I am unable to attend any demonstrations due to my disabilities. We suffer often in silence.

Tom sievert

Best of luck or. The zealots are hot for cpp and this battle line is drawn on you. Stand tall n take no bs or prisoners. Theyve over stepped gov control in our lives and it must stop here n now!! Again into the breech!! Abandoning and label dropping cpp is wrong on every level. Hard to see the future bright wen pain is monetized to profit before life.

Jan Poole

Venita, and ALL others who read this article, you don’t have to be an OREGON resident to sign the petition. Click on the blue (here) in the above Article and sign. I did and I don’t live in Oregon.


Please pardon my typos
But I suffer everyday and I’m not on anything but aspirins… Oh every once in awhile I may be privelaged enough to get 1 script for Tramadol. SMH
I’m an so tired of seeing this nonsense with doctors and supposed patients.
Thank you



This makes no sense.

Medicaid patients? But patients with a better health insurance who those who pay will still be able to have access?
Did it every occur to these people that some Medicaid patients after on Medicaid sure to hard work, getting hurt on the job, etc?

What needs to be done is scour records…yes..Dr records!
I’m sure they will find whole families ( those who ride the system) on opiods.
I see it here everyday.
What stinks is many of these families so it so they can see the prescription.. They get it for free or close to free and then sell the script for anywhere from 10 bucks or charging 1 dollar a milligram.
Nevermind weening people off.. It needs to be overseen Dr records.
If the Dr is one of those who just give opiods without examining and prescribing physical therapies… Then shut goin down!
Not the people who truly are suffering!
It’s that simple.
Let’s face it… This kind of stuff even goes on aft the White House.


I have lived in Oregon for over 50 years and have never been as disgusted with our State’s leaders as I am today. To deliberately ignore and mute our pain community is every bit of wrong! This opioid hysteria has our lawmakers running blind and making very stupid and careless acts. If all of them would have stopped and started asking the pain patients themselves or their pain specialists about how to proceed, instead of, (I’ve heard this some place before but “Witch hunting”), things would be a lot more clearer regarding how to take care of our pain communities and separate the opioid hysteria.


Thank you all that try too help and save use disabled and pain managed a special thanks too Ed for all your articles God Bless all of you !

If Oregon goes through with this it will be a tragedy and a downright disgrace! Don’t you know that others WILL follow suit? It’s “beyond me” why folks have to pick on those who are less fortunate than others. Medicaid patients, chronic pain patients, people with disabilities of all kinds, the poor and last but not least people of different color. The list is endless! A chosen few walk around with their heads held high, running their mouths, hiding behind their desks like the cowards they are. It’s our duty and everyone else’s to treat people with the same respect that one would want to be treated with. You know, the “Golden Rule.” Also in the Bible it mentions being kind to strangers for you never know when you “will entertain angels unaware.” This is so very true for indeed it happened to me, atleast once that I know of. Years ago on the 4th of July it had poured the rain all day and hard. I was coming back from a get together and saw this poor elderly man walking ever so slowly in the pouring rain. I assumed he was one of our veterans, for I live a mile from the VA. He was walking ever so slowly and was absolutely drenched. Headed towards Walgreens I pulled in there waiting for him to pass by. A woman that worked there was outside smoking a cigarette. When I told her who I was waiting for she looked at me like I was crazy. Here came the man and slowly walked right by us. I said, “Sir.” He quietly turned around and said did I do something wrong? My reply, “No sir, here is $20 please get yourself something hot to eat and try to find a dry place to stay for a while.” He never spoke another word. I hugged him and turned to tell the employee who worked there goodbye. I immediately turned back around and the man had literally disappeared. To get away that quickly he would have had to run extremely fast and even if so I would have seen him in the distance. To this day it still haunts me. It also taught me a very valuable lesson that will stick with me for the rest of my life. If others could or would learn from this lesson as well; what a different world we would all be able to live in, and maybe, just maybe, happily at that!

Venita Wood

Too bad the petition is only for Oregon residents; I would have liked to sign it. This regulatory change could set a standard that other states might attempt to use.

Debbie Nickels Heck, MD

My how times have changed! I lost my LICENSE in 2006 in IN because I was accused of being a “drug addict” by various evaluators in various places, in and outside my state, including “PROFESSIONAL addiction centers” (I use the term loosely since EVERYONE in EACH facility LIED about me!) because I had fibromyalgia. Back THEN it wasn’t considered a “legitimate condition requiring opioids” so “obviously” I was ONLY taking them for “recreational” reasons. HA! I don’t even drink! I’d consulted a nationally-known, published expert in the field who’d stated I’d been UNDER-TREATED for my pain! The last facility where I was evaluated consulted her-AFTER they’d drawn their conclusions. Thank heavens this condition now gets the recognition it deserves, at least in most places. WAKE UP, OREGON!