The U.S. House of Representatives has passed the “National Pain Care Policy Act of 2008” (HR 2994). Will Rowe, CEO of the American Pain Foundation, released the following statement upon passage of the legislation.
“Despite the fact that pain affects more than 76 million Americans—more than diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined—it remains woefully undertreated and misunderstood. All too common are stories of patients in the grip of pain, who are left to consult multiple care providers before their pain is properly diagnosed and managed, if it ever is. Not only is unmanaged pain emotionally and physically debilitating for patients, it also places a heavy burden on families and caregivers. The undertreatment of pain is also estimated to contribute to excessive healthcare costs and lost work productivity of approximately $100 billion every year.
“The present legislation authorizes an Institute of Medicine (IOM) conference on pain care, creates an interagency coordinating committee charged with identifying critical gaps in pain research, expands collaborative pain research across federal agencies and the private sector, and provides for a grant program to improve health professionals' understanding and ability to assess and treat pain. It also requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to develop and implement a national outreach and awareness campaign to educate patients and caregivers on the significance of pain as a public health problem.
“The companion measure (S3387) was introduced by Senators Orin Hatch (R-UT) and Christopher Dodd (D-CT) this summer. We urge members of the U.S. Senate to consider the millions of Americans who needlessly suffer with debilitating pain—whether it’s post-operative pain, pain from an injury or the result of well-known chronic diseases, such as cancer, diabetes and arthritis—when they cast their votes on this important issue.
“Congressional action to provide strong and effective direction and resources to advance pain medicine has been long overdue. Too many lives have been shattered by untreated or improperly treated pain, which can negatively impact almost every aspect of a person’s life including sleep, work, and social and sexual relations. People in pain have a right to timely, appropriate pain care. This legislation helps uphold the standard of medical care that every Americans deserves, and that which we should not falter to provide.”
Founded in 1997, the American Pain Foundation (APF) is an independent nonprofit 501(c) 3 organization serving people with pain through information, advocacy and support. The mission of APF is to improve the quality of life of people by raising public awareness, providing practical information, promoting research and advocating to remove barriers and increase access to effective pain management. For more information, click here.
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