Oregon Medicaid Opioid Force Taper Policy Surfaces Again This Week

Oregon Medicaid Opioid Force Taper Policy Surfaces Again This Week

By Ed Coghlan.

Oregon’s Chronic Pain Task Force will gather in Wilsonville, Oregon Thursday morning (September 20).

The meeting will review written and verbal comments received during the August 9 Value-based Benefits Subcommittee meeting on the Chronic Pain Task Force’s controversial recommendation to force taper Oregon Medicaid patients off opioids in a year.

The recommendation—which includes covering more alternative treatments—was met with widespread criticism by chronic pain physicians, advocates and patients.

They received over 400 emails from patients and providers, plus the in-person protests at VbBS meeting and at Oregon Health Authority offices.

In its packet of information announcing the September 20th meeting, Oregon officials noted the “feedback was negative and focused on the perception that all patients with chronic pain, regardless of diagnosis, would be tapered off currently prescribed opioids”

One of the national leaders who attended the August meeting was Bob Twillman, Executive Director of the Academy of Integrative Pain Management who told the National Pain Report that he hopes the task force will consider two things.

“First, that while there is little high-quality evidence that long-term opioid therapy is effective in treating chronic pain, that doesn’t mean that some patients don’t benefit from that therapy—i.e., the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence,” he said.

“There, likewise, is little high-quality evidence that patients receiving long-term opioid therapy experience a net benefit if their therapy is tapered involuntarily. The OHA has been conducting an experiment with respect to opioid tapering among people with neck and back pain for nearly two years now, and I believe they need to demonstrate that patients subjected to that experiment have benefitted significantly before they impose a taper program on any other patient group. I completely support expanding coverage for non-pharmacological treatments for people with chronic pain, but this is not a “both or neither” situation—it is possible to increase that coverage without mandating an opioid taper.”

Twillman believes that the patient voice needs to be heard.

“A much better approach, in the absence of evidence regarding the impact of their ongoing back pain experiment, is to expand non-pharmacological treatment coverage and to educate patients about the risks of opioid therapy so they can decide, with their providers, if they will voluntarily attempt to taper their opioid dose.”

Chronic pain advocates hope that they can bolster attendance at the meeting on the 20th. The public also may attend via a listen-only conference line by calling 888-204-5984, participant code 801373. The meeting starts at 9:30 a.m. Pacific Time.

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Authored by: Ed Coghlan

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This is insane. If the people on opioid are proven to have a better quality of life then why hurt them.

Bradley Bill Parker

Hello and Thank you for letting me post. My name is Bradley Bill Parker I am 54 years old with a medical Doctors and Administration Law Judge certified of me as being completely disabled unable to work since April 1st of 2013. On April 1st of 2013 through April 10th of 2013 “a 10 day period” I suffered a reoccurrence of a Chronic Progressing disease that began as a viral Labyrinthitis infection back in September of 1999. But today this problem has mushroomed into what medical research has continued to make headway on for my VeStibUlaR Disorders as being completely VIRAL in nature specifically more as being from the human herpes simplex 1 viruses. Relatively few people with VESTIBULAR Disorders are actually awhere of this side of the coin with Our Vestibular disorders being of viral involved rather than what it is generally type-caused, with the exceptions for: physical injury caused, relatively from tumors, cancer, and more. Viral Oragins i.e herpes simplex 1,6 zoster etc. Have been SUSPECTED as a potential cause for Not only mY Disease BUT for DOZENS of otherr major diseases FOR over a Hundred Years!. THIS Damm Disease in my head has Been kicking my ass aLL OveR the place for since April 1st of 2013 it’s been nurological “in my brain” and despite the medical terminology used to label my current status as “idiopathic nuropathy” meaning “your sick as hell and your symptoms listed as physical and not hesterical” but despite dozens of imaiging and thousands of blood labs All my medical records and testing THEY “My Doctors” STILL CaNNoT Well not are able to “PICK” a horrible disease out and say “THaT ONE”. painful inflammatory gainglianitis has chronically progressed over the past few years DAMAGING the HELL out many of my ten crainial nerves!. After exaustivly trying to mitigate my cronic pain with anything and everything under the sun it became necessary for me and my primary care physician to look at opioid based prescription drugs. Having tried an opioid prescription some twenty years earlier non- related, for injury’s I sustained from an automobile accident. After taking an opioid for pain it became very aperent from the red rashs and itching that I had an allergic reaction to the prescription opioid. This would be an obstacle for me that benefits would have to out way any and all of the adverse reaction. And opioids sure in hell do have some miserable side effects! . BUT CRAINIAL Nerves CAN and HAVE Expressed for me in my body, my HEAD! The Pain. Don’t h

Pharmacist Steve

All of the studies with opiates that I aware of that they would consider “creditable” are stopped at 12 wks (84 days) for concerns of the risk of dependency/addiction. BUT.. chronic pain is defined as >90 days… so none of these double blind clinical studies qualify. and anecdotal evidence from pts that have been taking opiates to treat their chronic pain for years .. does not meet their “double blind study” criteria. Yet the FDA, CDC, DEA often take actions on opinions, beliefs and poor and/or fake facts

Jon Mankowski

Where will this meeting take place?

Susan Simpson



It sounds like the OHA is basing their idea by reducing opioids for patients with specific pain such as in neck or back, then by all means it obviously will work on on all pain patients. Lunacy!

Tony Hardi

Are those people crazy? If they take away people’s medicine there will be a lot of suicides, I’ve seen it first hand. They did that to my wife , so she committed suicide because of the overwhelming pain she had from cancer. I hope the state of Oregon gets sued and the state goes bankrupt, they are ignorant and complete scumbags for doing this. I hope the people who are doing this horrible thing to people have a child or a love one or child that is in overwhelming and horrific pain so they can first hand and see and live with pain


How could they possibly say there is no evidence that long term opiate use is not effective. It has kept me alive for 18 years before they took it all away. Sure, now there are few left because the pain was so much they chose suicide to a life of intoreable pain without enough medication. 90 mme is not enough for anyone in severe pain!!! Zero is absurd. Of course there is no evidence of help from opiates. HELLO??? WE CAN LISTEN BUT NOT MAKE EXPLANATIONS ABOUT THE COMMENTARY MADE IN AUGUST. BOB, ONE OF THE FEW ALLOWED TO SPEAK SAID HE MAY NOT BE ALIVE THIS LONG.

Cin Har

I have been suffering from a invisible disease for which there is no cure.. A Non-Stop chronic inflammatory disease for almost 30 years if I wouldn’t have had my prescription pain medications throughout that time frame I would never have been able to work and function somewhat I’m talking about interstitial cystitis a chronic burning pain inside the bladder that is not seen with the naked eye or through photographs the pain and burning non-stop 24/7 is unbearable at times during a flare up as patients continue to be removed from pain meds there will become more people on disability more people with this invisible disease unable to keep or hold down jobs thus creating more drain on the system I do not understand why some Physicians now speak to us with this disease as if we have done something wrong no one asks for this horrific life-changing intractable pain for which there is still no cure I hope and pray to God that some of these people that are creating this so-called opioid epidemic will never know the horrific pain of not being able to urinate without it feeling like someone lit a match inside of your urinary tract it is horrific and none of these people will ever realize the devastating effect this urinary disease can have on someone’s life acupuncture massage therapy and other alternative treatments never worked for me and others I know that have the same life-altering condition for the love of God please let us have our medications back so that we can live with this horrific condition and be able to function a little more so that we can be around our family and friends more instead of lying in bed crying into our pillow begging for anyone to help us with our pain there’s not an opioid crisis it’s the younger generation that are abusing the opioids to get high not senior citizens like myself God help us all thank you for reading


They are not really worried if people
Die they worry of the high profile lawsuits image
We already sign Pain contracts so why not sign contracts like with a transplant or any informed consent procedure you understand risks and benefits You have and family ( if lives with someone and not the criteria for getting opiates ) have narcan and know how use and add what is not in informed consent you will not hold prescriber the insurance the govt the pharmacy and/or drug maker if there is overuse misuse or something happens Remember forced tapers and knee jerk tapers is not stopping drug cartels street drugs criminals writing themselves prescriptions and especially when a legacy patient or another patient already on higher dosing and functioning well if for some reason goes up by MD then a phone call to verify the new plan Pharmacists should not be able to deny but are owed being in loop of medically decided changes of the patients.
I read about the Washington Legal Defense in one of your articles and prior to 2016 guideline changes
In 2015 wrote a letter condemning these changes even it was illegal
How some decisions were being made
Where are they now when chronic pain community needs them I am going to try call them next week.
I want to live despite losses of career , independence by not driving, constant battle for health care, looks of dissaproval, loss independent financial security, and
Loss vacation by not having ability go away on a plane or drive my kids, get groceries, most of all my nurse supportive for awhile best friend walked out without any suspicion on my part and I still am grieving but I want to walk to save money take care of my house, pets etc. Live to see my daughters grow up and if opiates after all I have tried Help I should get them at dose needed no judgement no interference.

People are in true pain now and can not wait for voodoo medicine or new drug or as attorney general Jeff Sessions says “take two aspirin and suck it up” or other quakes that say to accept pain
Yes accept it will not be zero but tide away opiates and accept 9 to 10 that is torture just as it was appalling the people in Terrorist prison were tortured.

Deborah M Babcock

I have a question..what if your a private pay patient,do they want to taper them as well. The talk about medicaid patients being tapered off their medicine,only medicaid patients or everyone ? My perscription was taken away abruptly a few years back and im in daily and nightly pain..i have severe chronic migraines,buldging discs in my back,bursitis in each hip,diabetic nerve pain,restless leg syndrome,severe muscle cramps,now for past 6 months,my whole body feels like its on fire especially when i sit down to rest or when i lay down to sleep,its very painful..all of the things that are going on with my body are very painful..i cry myself to sleep most nights..should i have access to pain medication ? Absolutely i should !! I shouldnt have to suffer like this ! Also i should have a say what goes in my body or not..i know my own body and what works for me that has worked in the past ! And i know what doesnt work as well..All of this opioid crackdown is a big bunch of BS !! Someone is benefiting from this..while their bank accounts grow we all suffer !!!!!

Karen Crutcher

I sure would like to attend this meeting; however, since I am a chronic (and acute ) pain patient, I can not endure the pain of driving that far. Are there any car pools being set up? I live on the coast, due west from Eugene.

Annette Croy

Keeping my fingers crossed for all CP patients in Oregon. I’ve been speaking with Oregon’s Congressional candidate, Stefan Strek. He is very CP friendly. I sent him Oxfords Article “Are Prescription Opiods Driving the Opiod Crisis? Assumptions vs Facts” Oxfords standing in the medical community is hard to discredit or ignore. Included at the back of this article, are 6 pages of cited medical studies backing all of Oxfords positions. The article also goes into the financial conflicts of interest of most of the CDC Guideline authors. All our major issues with the current policies towards our meds are discussed and validated with CORRECT STATS.

Candidate Stefan Strek has signaled his initial willingness to attend this hearing on our behalf.

It would be awesome if us Pain Warriors could send him a short tweet thanking him, and ENCOURAGING him to attend this meeting. Best regards, and hoping everyone has a LPD.

Neldine Ludwigson

I don’t live in Oregon, but can state that being forced to give up all your meds without any notice just makes life impossible. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do, just pray for death? I feel so bad that somehow this is considered helping chronic pain sufferers. I have had a lifetime of physical therapy, antiinflammitories, antidepressants, anticonvulsants and various other snake oil du jours. Enough! I want back what was taken from me. I want to take a freaking shower, clean my house, sleep even. This is horrible!