National physician organization supports Capps-Rogers Bill at today's congressional briefing

November 08, 2007

--(GLENVIEW, Ill.) Representing the interests of pain patients in light of federal pain management policy reform, leading pain expert and former President of the American Academy of Pain Medicine (AAPM) will brief congress today on the National Pain Care Policy Act of 2007.

"The crisis of under-treated pain extends well beyond an issue of comfort for those who suffer. It is now a social issue with major economic and political ramifications," says AAPM representative, Scott M. Fishman, MD, in his Congressional briefing. Fishman is a past president of AAPM and a professor of anesthesiology and chief of the division of pain medicine at the University of California, Davis.

The National Pain Care Policy Act of 2007, also referred to as the Capps-Rogers bill, is strongly supported by the AAPM. The bill calls for a Congressional finding for improved pain care research, education, access, and care are national health care priorities and appropriates funding.

Today's Congressional briefing, "National Pain Policy: Tackling Barriers to Proper Pain Management," will help Congress better understand the immediate need for federal pain policy reform.

Co-sponsored by Representatives Michael Rogers (R-MI) and Lois Capps (D-CA), the Capps-Rogers bill provides for a number of actions considered necessary to delivering appropriate pain care. The bill permanently establishes the Pain Consortium office at the National Institute of Health (NIH). The office will convene an annual conference and coordinate pain research, training, and related activities across all NIH programs and institutes. The bill also authorizes an Institute of Medicine conference on pain care; pain care education and training programs based on best practices; and an educational outreach and public awareness program on pain management.

AAPM members, along with members from the other three physician organizations that comprise the Pain Care Coalition--the American Pain Society, the American Headache Society, and the American Society of Anesthesiologists--have helped to garnered support for the bill. Pain Care Coalition members met with potential supporters and their staffs and urged them to join the bill as co-sponsors. To date, a formal consensus statement has been signed by more than 100 organizations.

Millions of Americans suffer from acute or chronic pain every year and the effects of pain exact a tremendous cost on our country in health care costs, rehabilitation, and lost worker productivity as well as the emotional and financial burden it places on patients and their families. The costs of unrelieved pain can result in longer hospital stays, increased rates of rehospitalization, increased outpatient visits, and decreased ability to function fully leading to lost income and insurance coverage. As such, patient's unrelieved chronic pain problems often result in an inability to work and maintain health insurance. Reduced productivity due to pain costs employers somewhere between $60 and $100 billion annually, yet NIH spends only 1% of its funding on research focused primarily on pain.
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For more information on pain, visit AAPM's website at www.painmed.org/patient/facts.html

Founded in 1983 as the American Academy of Algology, the American Academy of Pain Medicine (AAPM) has evolved as the primary organization for physicians practicing the specialty of Pain Medicine in the United States. As the practice of Pain Medicine has grown, a defined body of knowledge and scope of practice have emerged, and today, Pain Medicine is recognized as a discrete specialty by the American Medical Association (AMA). AAPM is the only comprehensive pain organization with representation in the AMA House of Delegates. For more information, visit www.painmed.org.

American Academy of Pain Medicine

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