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HHS Releases National Chronic Pain Strategy

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has released the first federally coordinated plan for reducing and better treating chronic pain, which impacts millions of people across the country.

The National Pain Strategy — developed by the Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee — provides recommendations and a roadmap to ensure all people have access to appropriate, quality, and evidence-based care. Specifically, the report calls for better

  • communication between patients and health professionals;
  • access to high-quality pain services for vulnerable patient groups;
  • standardization of electronic data on pain assessment and treatment; and
  • tailoring of payments for coordinated care through value-based and patient-centered models to improve patient outcomes.

A movement to value-based payments for chronic pain care aligns with HHS’ goal of increasing the proportion of Medicare payments tied to alternative payment models (APMs). Previously, HHS announced that it reached its goal of tying 30 percent of Medicare fee-for-service payments to quality nearly a year ahead of schedule. HHS plans to tie 50 percent of Medicare payments to APMs by the end of 2018.

Contact Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at or 202.585.0127 with questions.



About the Author

Matt Buechner is the policy and advocacy associate for America's Essential Hospitals.

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