News & Press: Advocacy

Take Action Now! Help Your Patients Regain Access to Interventional Spine Procedures

Friday, April 21, 2017  

Patients on Medicaid, in the state of Oregon, no longer have access to ANY interventional spine procedures for back pain. Most patients no longer even have access to surgery and none have the option of palliative care with long-term opioid treatment. What treatments are these patients left with? The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) now recommends acupuncture, manipulation, massage, medications (excluding long-term opioid treatment), cognitive behavioral therapy, physical therapy/occupational therapy, and even yoga as the only viable treatments for back pain.

SIS and the 13 other member associations of the Multi-Society Pain Workgroup (MPW) are continuing to develop a coordinated a response to this critical oversight, but now is the time for you to act!

What you can do:

  • Contact your local newspaper and news stations and make your community aware of this important issue.
  •  Let OHA know what you think. On social media mention OHA and use the hashtag #saveinjections.
  • Find your congressional representatives’ contact information, and demand action.
  •  Take colleagues and patients to the next Oregon Health Authority committee meetings and provide testimony about the effectiveness of interventional spine procedures.  Invite your congressional representative and the media to attend.
  • Upcoming Meetings:

 May 18th:  Corticosteroid Injections
Value-based Benefits Subcommittee and Health Evidence Research Commission will review proposed coverage guidance recommending AGAINST corticosteroid injections.

June 1st: Percutaneous Interventions (Radiofrequency Neurotomy)
Evidence-based Guidelines Subcommittee will review proposed coverage guidance recommending AGAINST coverage for radiofrequency neurotomy.


Make your voice heard and be your patients’ advocate. But don't stop there. Encourage your patients to do the same. Without reasoned protest from all those affected, many of your patients will continue to be left without effective treatment options and relegated to lives plagued by chronic pain and disability.

Share your concerns and stories. Follow these suggestions for talking points for you and your patients to use in your efforts to convey the importance of regaining access to interventional spine procedures:

PHYSICIANS/HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS

1. Interventional spine procedures (injections/RFN) are critical tools in my toolbox.

  • Spine injections have helped hundreds/thousands of my patients regain quality of life.
  •  These procedures are safe and effective and can help appropriately selected patients.
  • Share a specific patient success story.

2. Without these treatments, what are my patients left with?

  • Interventional spine procedures are indicated when conservative treatments have failed.
  • When we have procedures that can help, how can I tell my patients, experiencing terrible pain and unable to do the most basic things, that all I can offer is an Advil and yoga?
  • What will happen to my patients who don’t have access to interventional spine procedures that will help them improve their pain and function?

3. Oregon Health Authority’s public comment policy precludes submission of comprehensive comments and adequate consideration of the evidence of effectiveness of procedures.

  • Word limit restriction on written comments: 1000 words
  • Public comment/testimony at meetings – comment may be limited to five minutes per topic (shared among all those who wish to testify)
  • How can we convey the value of these procedures with such restrictions on public comment?

PATIENTS

1. Share your own story or that of a friend/family member. 

2. How will your life/has your life been affected if these procedures are no longer available?

3. Oregon Health Authority’s public comment policy precludes submission of comprehensive comments and adequate consideration of the evidence of effectiveness of procedures.

  • Word limit restriction on written comments: 1000 words
  • Public comment/testimony at meetings – comment may be limited to five minutes per topic (shared among all those who wish to testify)
  • How can we convey the value of these procedures with such restrictions on public comment?

Please contact SIS if you need additional assistance or to share information about your advocacy efforts.


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