On Wednesday, October 24, 2018, the President signed into law: H.R. 6, the “Substance Use–Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment for Patients and Communities Act” or the “SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act,” which addresses the opioid crisis by reducing access to and the supply of opioids and by expanding access to prevention, treatment, and recovery services. Passage was overwhelmingly bipartisan (98-1 in the Senate and 396-14 in the House).
“While much remains to be done, the Integrative Health Policy Consortium (IHPC) is encouraged by this first legislative step to give patients better access to integrative therapies for pain treatment,” says Leonard Wisneski, MD, FACP, Chair of the IHPC Board of Directors.
The bill contains more than 200 provisions designed to improve opioid prevention and treatment efforts. The IHPC believes the H.R.6 Act provides opportunities for the integrative healthcare community to align themselves around a single mission for patients to have better access to non-pharma, whole-person integrative care for pain management.
“Regardless of modality, the integrative community is ideally positioned to serve as experts in education, evidence-based approaches and treatments and as an important community resource regarding non-pharma solutions to pain management,” says Kallie Guimond, IHPC’s Director of Government Affairs. “There are a number of provisions in HR6 that IHPC will be pursuing as the opportunity to unite and educate physicians about the science and effectiveness of integrative approaches and solutions for pain,” she says.
Among the hundreds of provisions, Guimond identified a number of opportunities:
- By January 1, 2019, The Secretary of Health and Human Resources (acting through the Administrator of the CMS), “will present one or more financial documents (new or updated) to states for mandatory and optional items and services for non-opioid treatment and management of pain, including evidence-based, non-opioid pharmacological therapies and non-pharmacological therapies.”
- The Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395b-2) has been amended to include: 1) “references to education resources regarding opioid use and pain management;” 2) “descriptions of categories of alternative, non-opioid pain management treatments covered under this title;” and, 3) “a suggestion for the beneficiary to talk to a physician regarding opioid use and pain management.”
- As part of the Opioid Addiction Action Plan, within 3 months of enactment, there will be a request for public feedback regarding ways for the CMS to help address the opioid crisis.
- Within one year of enactment, a study will be conducted to analyze best practices and coverage for pain management. The study will include evidence-based treatments and technologies for acute pain, including treatments that are covered, not covered or have limited coverage under the title XVII of the Social Security Act. Evaluation of treatments, such as acupuncture, therapeutic massage and services provides by integrative pain management programs are included in the provision, as is the VA/DOD Clinical Practice Guideline for Opioid Therapy for Chronic Pain.
- Lastly, a variety of financially substantial grant programs will be available to develop strategies and train providers and personnel on protocols and best practices that target treatment alternatives to opioids in hospital and emergency room settings. This will include demonstration programs for experts with robust knowledge that have successfully implemented programs that use alternatives to opioids. Acceptable programs, including those from the National Center for Complimentary and Integrative Health or other centers within the National Institutes of Health will be included.
IHCP’s Partner For Health member organizations will continue to advance alignment with key stakeholders in pain management to provide resources and tools for integrative health resources for education and treatment protocols for non-pharmacological and non-opioid pain solutions. Following their partnership with IHPC member the Academy of Integrative Pain Management for the upcoming 2nd Integrative Pain Policy Congress, IHPC will address a campaign strategy to integrate the provisions of H.R.6 within the organization’s policy goals and partnership with Congressional House members through the recently formed Integrative Health and Wellness Caucus.
To assist in expanding collaboration, regardless of modality, IHPC has formed a new National Alliance for Integrative Health Policy Advocacy. “Our voices and expertise can make a dramatic difference to give patients more opportunities for effective, evidence-based integrative pain treatments,” says Dr. Wisneski.
The Integrative Health Policy Consortium (IHPC) is a unique interprofessional federation of organizations focused on health creation—the proactive promotion of and focus on prevention, wellness, and well- being. As the policy and advocacy voice of integrative health and wellness professionals, IHPC has achieved groundbreaking success toward the transformation of health and healthcare delivery, even as the prevailing paradigm of healthcare remains entrenched in a disease-based philosophy.
IHPC–a 501(c)(4) non-profit organization—advocates 1) for better access by individuals to their choice of licensed or certified providers within a pluralistic healthcare system, 2) for non-discrimination in payer coverage of all licensed providers within their scope of practice, and 3) for collaborative efforts among healthcare providers and other stakeholders to take a whole-person healthcare-delivery approach to the individual, which includes consideration of the social, cultural, economic, and environmental determinants of health. For more information go to IHPC.org or call, 202.505-IHPC (4472)