Published The Healthcare Policy Podcast
Despite the fact an estimated 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain costing approximately $640 billion annually in medical expenses and lost productivity, the disease remains widely under treated. This is all the more true for ethnic and racial minorities independent of age, gender, education, wealth and pain intensity. Despite recent efforts by the Institute of Medicine, the DHHS, i.e., its 2016 “National Pain Strategy,” and new payment models designed to improve care quality, for example, Accountable Care Organizations and Patient Centered Medical Homes, under treatment persists. Addressing the problem has become all the more difficult over approximately the past decade due to the opioid epidemic that has blurred, if not erased, the line between effective treatment and drug abuse. We face the nearly impossible situation where Americans are simultaneously under treated and over medicated.
During this 29-minute conversation Ms. Christopher discusses why chronic pain continues to be under treated, to what extent, if any, chronic pain measurement and data collection has improved, the work of the Center for Practical Bioethics’ PAINS Project and the extent to which the opioid epidemic is undermining chronic pain treatment.