When the Centers for Disease Control was pressured to open the public comment period on its controversial opioid guidelines, most saw it as a positive step in putting more transparency into the effort.
Numerous National Pain Report readers were discussing the best way to submit a comment to CDC. That prompted us to ask Terri Lewis PhD, who is an activist on health policy particularly as it applies to chronic pain the best way to comment to the CDC.
Her advice is take your time, keep your cool and be intelligent. As Dr. Lewis said, “They don’t want your life story.” Limit your comments to the equivalent of about 500-700 words tops or two hand or typewritten pages.
Dr. Lewis also recommends that you suggest friends and loved ones also comment.
Here’s more of her advice:
First, focus on yourself as a person
- Identify who you are as a person, your roles as a spouse, parent, family member, member of your community.
- Identify the reason you rely on medications of any type and if you are using alternatives to prescriptions (ACAM), identify that too (type of disability, duration of your injury or chronic pain)
- Identify where you live and how chronic pain affects your ability to live, work, and play in your community
- Tell them how many people are affected by your need for effective support for chronic pain
Share what works
- Identify what your medication protocols allow you to do to continue to assume your personal and community roles.
- Identify the practices that you think are helpful to others
- Identify the local resources that you reply on – general medicine, pain management, mental health and counseling, addiction support programs, insurance, whatever
- Share the practices that you use which are integrated into your prescribing protocol
Share what doesn’t work
- If you have been helped or harmed by the national discussion and its’ effect on your access to effective health care services
- If you have been harmed by lack of access or changes to health care, tell them how.
- Identify the local resources that are not available to you – general medicine, pain management, mental health and counseling, addiction support programs, insurance support, whatever
- Provide specific feedback about approaches that are not effective for you.
- Have changes in the law made your access to appropriate care unavailable? Why?
- Thank them for opening the door to submit comments from persons who are affected by chronic pain of all types.
What NOT To Do?
Be specific. Don’t –
- Don’t Ask them why they hate you
- Don’t Issue Threats or call them names (or curse)
- Don’t Complain to them about your local physicians
You can comment online or write them a letter.
Here’s how you contact the CDC.
Federal eRulemaking Portal: https://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=CDC-2015-0112-0001 Follow the instructions for submitting comments (NOTE: “Comment Now” button in upper right corner of screen).
National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Attn: Docket CDC-2015-0112
4770 Buford Highway N.E., Mailstop F-63,
Atlanta, GA, 30341
All submissions received must include the agency name and Docket Number. All relevant comments received will be posted without change to https://regulations.gov, including any personal information provided. For access to the docket to read background documents or comments received, go to https://www.regulations.gov.