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A Message From the Coordinator
July, 2011
Flurry of Activities Influencing Pain Treatment in Oregon During May and June, the Oregon Legislature kept many individuals busy with a flurry of last minute activities.  Here at the Oregon Pain Management Commission (OPMC), commissioners and I monitored hearings and bills with the potential to impact the treatment of pain.
Two bills passed which hold particular interest for the OPMC.  House Bill 3650 will impact individuals who receive their health care through the Oregon Health Plan (OHP).  The future OHP will enroll clients into one community-based coordinated care organization (CCO).  This will be a departure from the current practice of providing medical services through one managed care plan, dental services through another and mental health services through still another plan.  All health services—everything from physical medicine to dental care to psychosocial and behavioral health care—will be coordinated under one roof.  This new CCO approach to care is good news because it means that an individual with pain issues will receive integrated care to provide the array of services needed for pain management.
Senate Bill 99 will create the Health Insurance Exchange Corporation as a public corporation overseen by a nine-member Board of Directors.  This new unit will increase the medical insurance options that are available for Oregonians.  If more Oregonians have health insurance, it stands to reason that more individuals with pain will have access to appropriate treatment and care.
Your Pain Commission is also working directly on projects to improve pain management in Oregon.  In honor of Pain Awareness Month, we will be conducting a Pain Awareness Education Event in the Dye House at Mission Mill in Salem on September 1 from 12:30 to 4:30 pm.  This event is offered at no charge to participants, free parking is available, and both health care providers and individuals with pain are encouraged to attend.  Although no continuing education units will be offered for this event, it should be a stimulating and instructional afternoon.  Reserve your spot with an e-mail including your name, telephone number, and professional title (if applicable):  kathy.m.kirk@state.or.us
The highlight of this occasion will feature panels staffed by OPMC commissioners who will present on pain related topics.  The agenda of topics may change slightly, but tentatively include: rights, roles and responsibilities of the individual with pain; rights, roles and responsibilities of the health care team providing treatment for pain; multiple treatment modalities e.g. exercise and movement, physical therapy, occupational therapy, behavioral health; considerations for special populations; pain and the brain; overview of types of pain and effective medications; how to utilize the community pharmacist to maximize treatment of pain with medications.  You may see the full agenda of topics on the OPMC home page.  The audience will have time to participate in “question and answer” segments following each panel presentation.  Following the panels, there will be a short time for all participants to mingle and browse free brochures and handouts.
Another commission project coming to fruition is a “Survey of Chronic Pain Issues.”  In 2007, the OPMC identified a goal to conduct a statewide survey to understand the impact of pain on the lives of Oregonians.  Initially, the commission worked with Portland State University (PSU) to develop a questionnaire to be administered through the PSU Survey Research Lab.  The plan was to conduct a random survey of individuals with chronic pain; the survey was to be distributed geographically across counties throughout Oregon.  Through the years, the cost for this survey grew beyond the budget of the commission, which has meager funding and only one paid staff.
Your commissioners still understand the value of such a survey; it can give individuals a voice with which to express their experiences with pain.  Therefore, in these economically challenging times, the OPMC has decided to conduct this survey via our website.  Beginning on September 1, you will find a link to this pain survey on the OPMC home page.   We are encouraging all Oregonians with chronic pain issues to take the approximately 15 minutes required to complete this survey online.  After about 90 days, the survey will close and data from responses will be collected and analyzed.  No person or any individual response will be identified in this analysis, but the overall information collected will assist the OPMC in fulfilling its mission to improve pain management through education, research, policy development and model projects.
I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible on September 1 at the Pain Awareness Education Event and to hearing your responses to the “Survey of Chronic Pain Issues.” 

Kind Regards,
Kathy Kirk, RN