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Latta Introduces Legislation Reducing Barriers to Non-Opioid Pain Management Alternatives

Utilizing telehealth for psychological evaluation can eliminate red tape for non-opioid pain treatment

Washington, February 28, 2020 | Rebecca Card (202.225.6405)

This month, Congressman Bob Latta (R-OH5) introduced H.R. 5833, legislation working to increase accessibility to non-opioid treatment for those suffering from chronic pain. People who are suffering from chronic pain often turn to opioids to alleviate their discomfort, which in some cases, has led to a rise of misuse and abuse. Opioid alternatives, including certain medical devices and procedures, can provide relief without the risk of addiction. However, treatments like spinal cord stimulation require psychological evaluations before receiving they can be utilized, and it can take patients several months before they are able to schedule an appointment. H.R. 5833 would allow these evaluations to be conducted using telehealth.

“Due to the lack of medical services in rural areas, it can be difficult for people with chronic pain to travel long distances to access non-opioid therapies,” said Latta. “This is especially true for treatments like spinal cord stimulation (SCS), which require a patient to get a psychological evaluation prior to receiving treatment. This extra step can further delay pain relief for patients living in remote areas with limited access to mental health services. H.R. 5833 improves access to SCS, an FDA approved non-opioid pain relief therapy, by expanding the use of telehealth for a psychological evaluation. Utilizing telehealth will make it easier and quicker for people to receive the care they need, regardless of where they live.”

“On behalf of our 188 volunteers for the U.S. Pain Foundation living with pain in Ohio and the 50 million Americans living with daily chronic pain, we applaud Congressman Latta’s leadership on increasing patient access to pain management services via telehealth in rural and underserved communities, ” said Cindy Steinberg, National Director of Policy and Advocacy for the US Pain Foundation. “Patients with debilitating pain conditions often struggle to travel to necessary medical appointments, which can be a huge barrier to getting the help they desperately need.” 

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