I was going through some files recently and found my letter which was sent to CMS/Medicare this past March. Perhaps some of the items I point out in this letter may help one or more of you. The letter is listed below.
Dear Decision Makers at CMS:
It’s funny yet odd in a strange way and at the same time sad. There have been various medications which have been developed for pain relief and control over the years to help patients who are suffering terrible, debilitating, and agonizing pain.
So many of these medications do exactly what they were designed to do, yet along the way it has gotten out of hand as to who medically needs opioids and prescribers who never received any or proper training in their use. In addition, physicians who want to help their patients perhaps have given too high of a quantity of medication. Approximately years 2002 – 2004, one or more pharmaceutical companies had their detail people selling the concept certain medication was not terribly addicting.
I am a long term chronic pain patient nearing 20 years of needing opioid therapy along with other modalities. The reason I have needed this medication is due to the fact that I have had four failed cervical surgeries. Being fused from cervical 2 through thoracic 1. I have learned a tremendous amount about pain management and knowing that some patients may need this class of medication but they must take responsibility in doing more than just opening a pill bottle. I have found that many different forms of modalities were necessary as an adjunct to using pain medication.
One of the most important services has been the use of counseling or psychotherapy throughout a number of years. I so often read in the papers or news broadcast on television the words “painkiller”. The problem is there is no such thing. There are two ways where this word would be accurate which includes. 1) a person under general anesthesia or 2) the patient is dead.
Pain medications help to take the edge off giving the chronic pain patient an opportunity to live a quality of life. I as a long term chronic pain patient am asking that CMS and or insurance companies not accept the policies from the CDC. To say, one size fits all does not work. Some patients may require a higher dosage of medication than another patient. To put a limit on what a qualified pain management physician is able to do without knowing what the case is will create harm to patients.
There are numerous other things that I could say and add to my letter but why? Please understand, chronic pain is a disease which is often a result of accidents, failed surgeries, or other illnesses which the patient may have. Chronic pain is an illness which many times are invisible to others including those who write and pass the laws.
If there is any public forum scheduled, I would certainly invest in a trip in order to attend the event.