CDC Releases Guidance on Nonopioid Therapies for Pain Management

In order to aid clinicians and health systems working to implement their 2022 CDC Clinical Practice Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Pain, the CDC has published an informational webpage about nonopioid therapies for pain management. The page helps clinicians to understand the common types of acute pain that are receptive to nonopioid treatments, including both nonopioid medications and noninvasive nonpharmacologic approaches.

VA to Host Webinars on Funding and Future Directions

On Tuesday, October 3rd, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will host two webinars as a part of their Spotlight on Pain Management series.

NIH-DOD-VA Pain Management Collaboratory: Updates, lessons learned, and future directions will be at 11am ET and will describe the scientific knowledge and clinical practice gaps targeted via this initiative, provide an overview of the aims, structure and functioning of the Collaboratory, highlight key accomplishments and products from the Collaboratory’s first six years, and discuss important ongoing and planned innovations. Register now.

Broad and Focused RFAs for Pain and Opioid Actively Managed Portfolio will be at 1pm ET and will provide an overview and updates for the Pain and Opioid Actively Managed Portfolio (POU AMP) Parent, Clinical Trial, and new Focused Request for Applications (RFAs). Winter and Spring cycle submission deadlines and the pre-application process will also be discussed. Register now.

Telemedicine Temporary Rules to Expire November 11

In May, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) issued a temporary rule that extended telemedicine flexibilities adopted during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. Beginning November 11, 2023, these flexibilities will no longer apply to new patients seeking telemedicine. However, for any practitioner-patient telemedicine relationships that have been or will be established up to November 11, 2023, the full set of telemedicine flexibilities regarding prescription of controlled medications established during the COVID-19 PHE will be extended for one-year—through November 11, 2024.

Indian Health Service Releases New Essential Training on Pain and Addiction

In accordance with Indian Health Service (IHS) policy, all federal IHS prescribers, contractors (those spending at least 50% of their clinical time under contract with the Federal Government), clinical residents and trainees are required to successfully complete the IHS Essential Training on Pain and Addiction (ETPA) within six months from the start of IHS employment and complete a refresher course every 3 years.

IHS has released an updated training that is on-demand and web-based. The course provides evidence-based updates to clinical practice guidelines and includes important content essential to support health equity for pain management conditions and opioid use disorders.

Opportunities and Resources

Washington Health Alliance Releases Recommendations for Avoiding Low-Value Pain Care

The Low Back Pain Implementation Collaborative, an effort that brought together the top health care purchasers, providers, and plans in Washington, has released a brief detailing 18 recommendations to better treat acute low back pain. These recommendations aim to stem the reliance on low-value, inappropriate care and enable people to return to a pain-free life by improving the accessibility and use of evidence-based, non-opioid, non-invasive options.

Recommendations include adjusting benefit design to allow for conservative care, addressing care gaps through equitable approaches, creating a system of supported self-management, and more.

CSI:Opioids Study Seeks People Who Have Lost Someone with Pain to Suicide
A new, federally-funded research study is working to examine and prevent suicides that have occurred after a reduction of stoppage of prescription opioids in people with long-term pain. The study team is currently seeking survivors who have lost a family member or a close friend after opioid pain medicines were reduced.

If you know someone who has suffered such a tragic loss, please share this information with them so that they can decide if they wish to participate.

CMS Releases Updated Evaluation and Management (E/M) Services Guide

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has made significant updates to the language, order, and formatting of its E/M Services Guide to better meet provider needs and improve understanding. The new guide contains detailed information on the 2023 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Final Rule, including guidance related to Chronic Pain Management HCPCS Codes G3002 and G3003. The guide also includes helpful information on teaching physician services, telehealth services, critical care services, home or residential services, prolonged services, and more.

CMS Releases Chronic Pain Experience Journey Map to Highlight Barriers to Care

CMS has released a new visual, the Chronic Pain Experience Journey Map, to highlight the most prominent barriers experienced by people accessing care and the influencers acting on providers, ultimately affecting the person with chronic pain, their quality of care, and their quality of life. Touching on insurance and providers, provider collaboration, access to medication, person-centered decision making, appropriate implementation of prescribing guidelines, behavioral health services, and more, the visual aid aligns with the CMS Behavioral Health Strategy, the HHS Overdose Prevention Strategy, and important provisions of the SUPPORT Act that address the treatment of pain.