Opportunities to speak up for the pain community at the federal level are rare. As individuals who live with pain, it is important to make the most of them.
Don’t miss out on the opportunity to submit your feedback today on the Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force Draft Report, which offers a number of recommendations for improving pain care in America.
Why does the draft report matter?
This draft report is incredibly important because it has the potential to change pain care across the nation. Once finalized, it will be submitted to Congress, at which point we hope the recommendations will be funded and implemented.
It’s important to note that the draft report was developed out of a task force at the Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees a number of other health agencies, like the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Because it was created at the highest levels of government, it’s vital the draft report and its recommendations reflect the patient perspective.
The deadline to submit feedback is April 1 at 11:59 pm EST. That’s less than one week away!
To make an individual comment, consider telling your story and how the recommendations made (or not) in the Draft Report can help you and/or suggest revisions to make them stronger. A list of statement prompts is attached. It is most helpful to the reviewers of all the comments if you cite which specific portion of the report you refer to.
For example, someone might write:
Thank you for recognizing the realities of the 100 million Americans who live with chronic pain. I am one of those millions, living with fibromaylgia. Chronic pain is present every day in my life. Some days, it is better; other days, worse. My healthcare team includes my primary care physician, a pain management specialist, a low dose of Tramadol, physical therapy when I can afford it (which isn’t often), mindfulness and an exercise program.
I also attend a monthly education/advocacy meeting, where I learn about communication, advocacy, and elements of integrative pain management. This activity has given me a voice, a voice that was long silent partly because of the stigma of chronic pain and especially because of the conflation between chronic pain and opioids.
Re: 3.1 Stigma I have not told my supervisor the full extent of my pain experience and treatment plan because I fear that it might jeopardize my job. Because of the conflation of the opioid crisis with the chronic pain epidemic, I fear my boss and colleagues may treat me differently, maybe even thinking that I’m an addict because I use an opioid as part of my treatment plan.
I believe if the general public better understood the commonalities and the differences between these two public health issues (substance use disorder and chronic pain), my fear and the stigma around both issues would be lessened.
Therefore, I support all of the Recommendations included and specifically suggest that the Task Force engage with pain patient advocacy groups and support groups to implement Recommendations 1a, 1b, and 1c, as well as 2a.
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This is just an example – make it YOUR story.
How to Submit Comments
- Submit through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov, Docket Number: HHS-OS-2018-0027 (If Regulations.gov is inoperable, as a secondary option please submit your comments to email noted below.)
- Email to: email@example.com (Secondary method)
- Mail written comments to: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health 200 Independence Avenue, S.W., Room 736E, Attn: Alicia Richmond Scott, Task Force Designated Federal Officer Washington, DC 20201
Let’s walk through the first option:
Click on the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov
Enter HHS-OS-2018-0027 in the Search box, which results in:
Pain Management Task Force Draft Report
Click on Open Docket Folder.
If you want to review the already submitted comments, click on View All (3,201) to the right of Comments. You can search for specific words included in comments if that’s helpful to you.
If you just want to comment without reviewing others’ comments, click on Comment Now!
You can type your comments into the Comment box or you may upload a pdf copy of your comments. You can choose to leave your name and contact information or you can remain anonymous. It is your choice. See the Tips for Submitting Effective Comments.
Remember, your voice matters!
Cindy Leyland is ProHealth’s Fibromyalgia Editor. Cindy also serves as the Director of Program Operations at the Center for Practical Bioethics and the PAINS-KC Project Director. She lives in Kansas City with her husband, enjoys hiking, reading, and being Gramma Cindy.