Federal Task Force Offers Strategies for Avoiding Opioids

New report stresses need for change in dealing with patients who are already addicted

A federal task force may propose a closer look at how insurers’ policies deny Americans ways to manage their acute and chronic pain without facing the risk for opioid addiction.

The Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force also called for addressing the stigma associated with substance abuse as part of their plan to deal with those patients already addicted to narcotics. HHs (Department of Health and Human Services) indicated they will accept comments on their drafted report until April 1.

“Unfortunately, pain physician specialists are typically not involved in the multidisciplinary approaches of treating a pain patient early enough in his or her treatment, which can lead to suboptimal patient outcomes,” read the report.

An estimated 50 million people in the United States experience chronic daily pain—pain that significantly impacts daily living for almost 20 million of those patients.

The 29-member task force is overseen by HHS and the departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense. After receiving public comments, the task force intends to submit a final set of recommendations to Congress in 2019.

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