American Pain Society Hails Enactment of Military Pain Laws

The American Pain Society (APS) has expressed strong support for action by Congress and the president, which resulted in the enactment of two pain care bills, the Veterans Pain Care Policy Act and the Military Pain Care Policy Act of 2008.

The bill requires that all military health facilities assess their patients for pain.
© 2008 iStock International Inc./Stepan Popov

“These measures are a vital step in making good pain care a national priority within the military health care systems. The brave men and women in military service, and their families, deserve no less,” APS president Charles J. Inturrisi, PhD, professor of pharmacology, Weill-Cornel Medical College said.

The Veterans Pain Care Policy Act (S2160) originated in the Senate and subsequently was added to the Veterans Mental Health and Other Care Improvements Act of 2008 (S2162). The bill will fund pain care programs in Veteran’s Affairs (VA) facilities and offer pain management for veterans with long-term pain disabilities.

“The VA pain bill has a 10-year requirement in which the VA must report to Congress every year and show the progress it has achieved in enhancing clinical care, research and training in pain management. This will help keep veteran pain issues top-of-mind in Congress,” Inturrisi said in a press release.

The Military Pain Care Policy Act of 2008 (HR4565) originated in the House of Representatives and is intended to improve pain care for armed services personnel and their families. The bill authorizes the Department of Defense to implement a pain-care initiative, requires that all military health facilities assess their patients for pain, ensures they receive appropriate pain care and refers chronic pain patients to specialty pain management services and to comprehensive multidisciplinary pain management when appropriate.

“APS was pleased to work with the Pain Care Coalition in the effort to secure passage of this legislation to provide effective pain management services to wounded troops coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan and for veterans with pain conditions who served our country honorably in other wars,” Inturrisi added. “We express our deepest thanks to the members of Congress who served as sponsors for the bills and helped move them through the legislative process and to the president for signing them into law.”

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