In August, IHPC’s Alyssa Wostrel introduced the real-world experience and benefits of integrative pain care to policy and legislative leaders of several of the nation’s primary pain advocacy organizations.The meeting was held by the State Pain Policy Advocacy Network (SPPAN) of the American Academy of Pain Management (AAPM is an IHPC Partner for Health) at its annual Leadership Advisory Council meeting in Kansas City. Attending were the US Pain Foundation, the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, American Academy of Family Practitioners, the American Society for Pain Management Nursing, among others.
This was the first time that a group of pain advocacy leaders had a comprehensive overview of the important advances that integrative pain therapies and their practitioners have made in recent years, how this experience is influencing the conventional medical care system, and the importance of increasing access to these providers through the proper implementation of ACA Sect. 2706.
AAPM Executive Director Bob Tillman presented an overview of integrative health options that have been emerging in clinical care settings. Ms. Wostrel’s presentation covered the work of the PAINS group, the establishment of pain management consortia at the NIH, in the military medicine community and elsewhere. Of particular importance she noted, was the “Revisions to pain management standards” issued by the Joint Commission at the end of 2014.
The Commission noted:
Clinical experts in pain management who provided feedback on these revisions, and guidance on the future direction of pain management … affirmed that treatment strategies may consider both pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic approaches. (Included in the latter) … acupuncture, chiropractic, osteopathic manipulative treatment, massage therapy, and physical therapy, relaxation therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy.
A PDF of the rule is available here.
The Absence of and Potential for Insurance Reimbursement
Ms. Wostrel was joined remotely by John Blum of the University of Loyola Chicago law school and a member of the IHPC non-discrimination committee and Taylor Walsh, project director of CoverMyCare.
Mr. Blum described the evolution of Section 2706, and the difficulty encountered in actually getting the law implemented since it went into effect Jan. 1, 2014. This includes confusing guidance issued by the Dept. of Health and human Services.
Mr. Walsh followed with an account of the recent initiatives in US states where bills that adopt the language and intent of 2706 have passed (Oregon and Rhode Island) or are in preparation. (CoverMyCare.org tracks these state developments here.)The presentation was developed after many months of consultation with Amy Goldstein, ED of SPPAN, and often including with SPPAN partner the National Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain Assn. Ms. Goldstein said, “I was very excited to work closely with IHPC to devote a section of SPPAN’s agenda to strategize with our partners about how we can collectively improve access to integrative pain care. I’m confident that we’ll do great things in this space in the coming year.”
Ms. Wostrel noted “SPPAN membership determined that access to integrative care is a key strategic priority in 2015.” As a result she and Ms. Goldstein have been in discussion about possible collaboration through CoverMyCare with the National Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain Association and the U.S. Pain Foundation, both of which were represented at the LAC meeting.