The Integrative Health Policy Consortium (IHPC) again partnered for the 2nd invitation-only Integrative Pain Care Policy Congress, in Boston, on Saturday, November 10, 2018. Sixteen IHPC Partner for Health (PFH) members attended. The Congress was facilitated by the Academy of Integrative Pain Management in partnership with IHPC and Pain Action Alliance to Implement a National Strategy (PAINS).
The Integrative Pain Care Policy Congress event brought together as many as 100 leaders and 65 organizations (see the complete list here), who have expertise and are dedicated to advancing integrative pain management. The organizations represented the licensed and certified health care professionals, public and private payers, people with pain, members from the Executive Branch, purchasers of healthcare, researchers, policymakers, and policy experts.
“Patients and clinicians and public health policy makers are really being forced to confront the reality that we have a number of Americans who suffer from chronic pain,” said Clayton Jackson, MD, president, Academy of Integrative Pain Management (AIPM), and clinical assistant professor of family medicine and psychiatry, University of Tennessee College of Medicine, Memphis, said in a statement to Medscape Medical News. “Those patients have inadequate access to proper resources for pain management. We can’t just throw opioids at the problem; we have to acknowledge that many patients require multimodal treatment to achieve best symptomatic reduction and functional improvement,” he added.
On the heels of recent passage and signing into law of HR6, the Support Act, this Congress is all the more important to helping solve the opioid crisis. “Comprehensive, integrative pain management (CIPM) will improve the lives of millions of Americans, save billions of dollars, and reduce opioid prescribing,” says Len Wisneski, MD, Board Chair of IHPC. “The only way this crisis will ever be resolved is if stakeholders come together to advocate and identify federal and state action. The Integrative Pain Care Policy Congress is providing a platform for that consensus development of policy change,” he said.
In 2017, participants of the inaugural Policy Congress developed a consensus definition of comprehensive, integrative pain care. Since then, three working groups mobilized to advance this definition of care through timely and relevant action. The Workgroups include: Coverage and Constraints; Promoting Comprehensive, Integrative Pain Care; and Strategic Communication—with participants comprising the breadth of stakeholder views mentioned above.
The agenda this year included interactive presentations and discussions in the morning and over lunch from invited policymakers, regulators, payers, people with pain, and members of the Executive Branch agencies. During the break-out sessions IHPC members joined other integrative pain care experts to discuss key issues affecting the advancement of a CIPM system. They included Executive Branch programs and activities, state and federal policy and advocacy activities, provider reimbursement and best practices of care for pain and how to transition toward these best practices.
There is no shortage of work to be done to advance comprehensive integrative pain care. However, despite the somewhat daunting task, there are a number of opportunities for best practices within the integrative community to be transformed into scalable policies. The participants identified a number of next steps that are critical to accomplishing these goals and lowering the barriers to care. Jackson says that by the end of the year, white papers are expected to be published, which will provide a blueprint and clear framework for policy makers.
At present, it is very difficult for patients to access and afford the treatments that are the most beneficial. “This is the whole reason for the congress’s existence — so we can use the power of multiple patient advocacy organizations, professional societies, and others to say this is what we need,” said Jackson in a MedScape statement. “Everybody is under the same tent; everybody is working together and pulling in the same direction for what’s best for patients,” he said.
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.