HHS Begins New Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force

May 3, 2018
Policy Snapshot

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced this week the appointment of 28 members to the new Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force (Task Force).

The Task Force was established to propose updates to best practices and issue recommendations that address gaps or inconsistencies for managing chronic and acute pain. HHS is overseeing this effort with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and U.S. Department of Defense.

The Task Force, which was authorized by section 101 of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016 - PDF, is assigned the following responsibilities:

·        Determining whether there are gaps or inconsistencies in pain management best practices among federal agencies;

·        Proposing updates to best practices and recommendations on addressing gaps or inconsistencies;

·        Providing the public with an opportunity to comment on any proposed updates and recommendations; and

·        Developing a strategy for disseminating information about best practices. 

“In order to defeat America’s crisis of opioid addiction, one of our top four priorities at HHS, we need to understand and address how we got here,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “Part of the story is the need for greater access to effective pain management options. We are proud to be part of this unprecedented inter-agency task force, which will examine and recommend updates to best practices that help address the real problem of pain in America.”

The Task Force, which will be chaired by Vanila M. Singh, M.D., chief medical officer, HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, consists of representatives from relevant HHS agencies, the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense and the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Non-federal representatives include individuals representing diverse disciplines and views, including experts in areas related to pain management, pain advocacy, addiction, recovery, substance use disorders, mental health, minority health and more. Members will also include patients, representatives from veteran service organizations, the addiction treatment community and groups with expertise in overdose reversal, including first responders, medical boards and hospitals.

The Task Force will hold its inaugural public meeting on May 30, 2018, from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET, and on May 31, 2018, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. ET, in the Hubert H. Humphrey Building, 200 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C.

Members of the public may attend the meeting in person or via webcast. For more information, visit the Task Force’s web page.