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National Panel Sounds Alarm About Lack Of Physician Training To Treat Chronic Pain

Major Health Groups Endorse New Report Which Calls For Medical Training and Health System Reform warning that patients shouldn’t assume their doctor has enough knowledge to treat their pain, a national panel of experts today called on medical schools to train doctors and nurses on the basics of pain care, reform the nation’s reimbursement system, and address pain as a public health crisis. The group insists that without health reforms and better training to diagnose and treat pain properly, people with untreated pain may face a lifetime of pain as a chronic illness – which could lead to job loss, depression and in some cases, even suicide.

“Doctors, who don’t lack for compassion or medical skills, often offer only limited treatments to patients disabled by chronic pain,” said Lonnie Zeltzer, M.D., co-chair of the panel, and the director of the Pediatric Pain Program at the University of California, Los Angeles. “With little or no specific training in pain management, and working in systems that make it much easier to treat common conditions like high blood pressure than a complex problem like pain, doctors may intend to help but leave most patients under-assessed and under-treated. Minorities, children and women often faced the highest risk of under-treatment.”

The panel, convened by the New York City-based Mayday Fund, included anesthesiologists, neurologists, primary care doctors, pediatricians, emergency physicians, nurses, psychologists, pharmacists and patient advocates (the full Committee is included below). After a conference in Washington D.C. and deliberations that lasted over several months, the panel’s report, A Call to Revolutionize Chronic Pain Care in America: An Opportunity in Health Care Reform, says pain is a huge public health problem. They developed several recommendations for government agencies, Congress and the medical community to address.

Read the full article provided by the International Pelvic Pain Society by downloading the PDF below.

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