Chronic pain patient advocates are making a final push for Congress to hold a hearing on the Pain Management Best Practices Report, a series of recommendations for improving pain care nationally. As you may know, the report was released earlier this year by a federal task force, and it has not yet gained much momentum. More than 150 organizations endorsed the final report. The American Medical Association even called the recommendations “a roadmap for future policy.”
In an email sent to all U.S. Pain Foundation members, Cindy Steinberg encouraged its members to contact their Congressional representatives. Steinberg was the only chronic pain patient advocate on the Task Force.
“If even half of the recommendations in this report were implemented, it would likely change the lives of millions of Americans who suffer with chronic pain.,” she said. “But these changes will only happen if Congress takes action. The first step is holding a hearing to make policymakers, the media, and ordinary Americans aware of the scope of the problem and what needs to be done to fix it.”
Steinberg and other advocates are hoping to get a Congressional hearing in either the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, or the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
Steinberg says there are three ways you can help us get the hearing the pain community deserves:
1) Email your Congressperson. This is a general letter that can be sent to any Congressperson, whether or not they are on one of the two committees.
2) If your Congressperson sits on one of the key committees, give their office a call. There are talking points and direct numbers. You’ll likely speak to an aide, and that’s fine. They’ll report your comments to the legislator. (Entering your zip code through the link will determine if you’re eligible to participate, based on whether your Congressperson is on either committee.)
3) “Speak out on social media, she said. “We encourage you to spread the word about the report and these action campaigns-the more people participate, the more likely we are to get attention!”