North American Neuromodulation Society (NANS) Urges California Pain Specialists and Chronic Pain Patients to Advocate for Continued Access to Non-Opioid Treatment Options under the Division of Workers' Compensation (DWC)

Access to Non-Addictive Alternative Therapy at Risk for California Patients

CHICAGO--()--The North American Neuromodulation Society (NANS) today issued a call-to-action for pain specialists and patients in response to recent efforts by the California Division of Workers' Compensation (DWC) to restrict access for chronic pain patients to a non-addictive, minimally invasive treatment option that may help reduce the opioid crisis: neuromodulation.

Chronic pain, which affects about one in three Americans, has a significant impact on the quality of life, employment and families of those suffering from this debilitating condition. On an average day in the U.S., more than 650,000 opioid prescriptions are dispensed.i In addition, the rate of overdose deaths involving opioids—including prescription opioid pain relievers and heroin— have nearly quadrupled since 1999ii, with opioid abuse costing employers approximately $10 billion from absenteeism and presenteeism alone.iii In California, opioid-related poisoning / overdose deaths remain high with 2,024 deaths in 2014, accounting for 45 percent of all overdose deaths in the state.iv

Despite these statistics, the Division of Workers' Compensation (DWC) recently issued a proposed rule in California to remove coverage for this important FDA-approved treatment, which is covered for injured workers in 48 other states.

“Neuromodulation is a non-addictive, minimally invasive, reversible and cost-effective alternative to opioid therapy for chronic pain,” said Joshua Prager, M.D., M.S., director of the Center for the Rehabilitation Pain Syndromes (CRPS) at UCLA Medical Plaza and past president and senior advisor to the NANS Executive Board. “As a physician who has successfully treated many patients, it is very concerning to me that pain specialists and pain societies were not consulted for the accompanying proposed guidelines, which also do not recommend neuromodulation for chronic pain. This rule would put patients and physicians in a vulnerable position as it relates to chronic pain management and opioid dependency.”

According to Prager, there has been a lack of visibility and public discussion around both sets of the new proposed guidelines, making it difficult for pain specialists, patients and other experts to comment on the proposed changes before the rule becomes final.

“Access to this treatment option is critical for many Americans who otherwise would have to rely on opioids and/or invasive surgeries,” Prager stated. “It is more critical than ever for physicians, patients and caregivers to contact their state representative to voice support for workers’ compensation guidelines that ensure access to neuromodulation therapies for chronic pain."

Patients can advocate for their care by providing important commentary to the proposed rule here.

About the North American Neuromodulation Society (NANS)

The North American Neuromodulation Society (NANS) is the premier organization representing neuromodulation in the United States and is the largest member of the International Neuromodulation Society. NANS promotes multidisciplinary collaboration among clinicians, scientists, engineers, and others to advance neuromodulation therapies through education, research, innovation and advocacy. Through these efforts NANS seeks to promote and advance the highest quality patient care. http://www.neuromodulation.org/

 

i IMS Health National Prescription Audit. Cited in Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Opioid Epidemic: By the Numbers. Available at: https://www.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/Factsheet-opioids-061516.pdf

ii Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Vital Signs, 60(43);1487-1492

iii American Society of Addiction Medicine. Cited in: Workforce. “Pain Points.”

iv Kaiser Family Foundation analysis of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Center for Health Statistics. Multiple Cause of Death 1999-2014

 

Contacts

Media:
For North American Neuromodulation Society (NANS)
Jackie Hong, 212-229-8446
NANSTeam@inventivhealth.com

Contacts

Media:
For North American Neuromodulation Society (NANS)
Jackie Hong, 212-229-8446
NANSTeam@inventivhealth.com