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Healthcare Reform Bill to Enhance Pain Management Treatment

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as the Healthcare Reform Bill, signed into law last week by President Obama, includes several provisions from the National Pain Care Policy Act. The National Pain Care Policy Act is legislation designed to improve pain care for the more than 76.5 million Americans affected by pain. The American Pain Foundation made an announcement regarding this inclusion, attributing the success to a grassroots effort to bring attention to improving pain care in the United States.

The provisions of the National Pain Care Policy Act 2009 included in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act are located in Section 4305 of the Act, “Advancing research and treatment for pain care management.”

  • Secretary of Health and Human Services is required to enter into an agreement with the Institute of Medicine of the National Academics to hold a Conference on Pain. The purpose of the conference is to increase the recognition of pain as a significant public health problem in the U.S. and to evaluate the adequacy of pain treatment.
  • The director of the National Institute of Health (NIH) is encouraged to expand the research program on the causes and treatments for pain.
  • The Secretary of Health and Human services has the authority to make awards of grants and agreements with health professions schools, hospices and other entities to ensure the improvement and development of programs to train health care professionals in pain care.
  • It is hopeful that this acknowledgement of the problem of chronic pain will make it easier for pain management specialists to obtain reimbursement for pain management procedures and defend audits from third party payors.

    For more information on this topic or for assistance with defending a pain management audit, please contact a Wachler & Associates attorney at 248-544-0888 or contact us through our website at www.wachler.com.