NCCIH Releases Summary of the Stakeholder Meeting for Research on Whole Person Health
As a follow-up to their October meeting, NCCIH has released a meeting summary of their Stakeholder Meeting for Research on Whole Person Health. The meeting, which was attended by AACIPM Director Amy Goldstein, posed three questions for discussion:

  • Why does complementary and integrative health need a unifying concept?
  • What is whole person health?
  • What are the goals of this meeting?

The meeting was attended by delegates representing acupuncture, yoga therapy, chiropractic, osteopathic medicine, physical therapy, somatic movement therapy, massage therapy, physicians’ assistants, nursing, naturopathic medicine, homeopathy, Ayurvedic medicine, energy psychology, music therapy, integrative health organizations, patient advocacy and research organizations, and government organizations.

Amy participated in the two-day stakeholder meeting and also offered testimony on behalf of AACIPM in regard to closing the gap to advance access to guideline-concordant integrative care.

VA Makes Chronic Pain Management More Accessible via TelePain
The Veterans Administration is working to make pain management services more accessible to veterans through new TelePain programs being built at multiple VA health care systems throughout the country. The first TelePain program, piloted by VA Northwest Network’s Clinical Resource Hubs (CRH) TelePain team, has provided interdisciplinary pain care to over 900 Veterans in the last nine months. Using a veteran-centered approach, the programs virtually connect veterans living with pain to interdisciplinary teams that work to address all aspects of pain management, including mental health care, nutrition, occupational therapy, and medication.

In addition, VA’s Health Services Research and Development Service will present Comorbid Chronic Pain and PTSD: The Case for Yoga as a Simultaneous Treatment, a cyber seminar, on March 7, 2023. This presentation will review the state of the science on yoga for chronic pain, PTSD, and their co-occurrence and discuss clinical implications and future directions for research.

National Cancer Institute: Study Finds Disparities in Access to Opioids for Cancer Pain at End of Life

According to a study that looked at opioid prescriptions filled from 2007 to 2019, Black and Hispanic patients with cancer received fewer opioids and at lower doses than White patients. The study did not identify the cause of these differences, but the differences were seen even when researchers considered factors such as people’s income levels and where they lived. The study covered the years since the US opioid epidemic was recognized, which resulted in tighter regulation of opioid prescribing and changes in public and health care provider attitudes about opioids. Study authors conclude that an unintended consequence of the new laws and regulations is that it has become much harder for people with cancer to get pain medications, despite guidelines that recommend opioids for the treatment of moderate to severe pain from cancer or cancer treatment.

New CMS Pain Codes – Moving to Dissemination and Implementation

In case you missed it last month, CMS has released new pain codes, effective Jan. 1, 2023. There are different perspectives among participants in this multi-stakeholder collaborative, and it’s very important to the AACIPM team that we continue to capture what is happening where the rubber meets the road for people living with pain.

To continue to spread awareness of these codes, and to aid in their uptake, AACIPM has compiled a number of helpful resources below.  Keep in mind this is early in the process, so there’s a lot to think about in terms of dissemination and implementation in the coming months.

You will see there are a number of issues being raised in the links above, and we will be curating more information around this as we continue engagement with CMS and other stakeholders.

To this end, please share any feedback you have in regard to the following questions and/or any other issues or aspects you are seeing in regard to the codes:

  • Is your clinic adjusting to implement use of these codes? If yes, are there questions or concerns being raised that aren’t currently addressed in the communications?
  • Is there incentive to use these codes as they are described?
  • As currently coded (not a “Designated Care Management Service”), clinical staff time may not be billed incident to a physician’s services where outsourced clinical staff is not in the same physical location as the physician. Are you able to capture the need for this “incident to” billing, so that, if needed, we can share this information with CMS more readily?
  • Do you have any experience yet with using the codes in patient care? If yes, how is that working?
  • CMS added the CPM codes to the Medicare Telehealth list despite requiring the initial visit to take place in person at a clinic. With unknowns about future legislation around telehealth services, we are interested in capturing the effect this might have on using the codes.

We look forward to hearing from all of you regarding your use of these codes and/or the barriers you experience regarding their use. Please contact Amy Goldstein with any feedback.