Missouri’s Medicaid program, known as MO HealthNet, is moving to help citizens suffering from chronic pain. The state’s Department of Social Services explained that the effort is also being made to help reduce opioid abuse.
Beginning this month (April 2019), services to be added fall under the umbrella of complementary and alternative therapies. For the first time patients can now seek covered treatments like physical therapy, chiropractic care, and acupuncture for chronic pain.
Experts See The Light
In February, the St. Louis Regional Health Commission released its Chronic Pain Prevention and Treatment Policy paper and gave four recommendations:
- To target chronic pain as a public health problem
- Increase education about chronic pain for patients and providers alike
- Recognize chronic pain as a chronic disease and target holistic, collaborative, and more cost-effective treatments
- Create treatments in a patient-centric, trauma-informed manner
“When we discovered that so many patients have been burdened with chronic pain, we understood that their suffering and functional loss couldn’t be reversed without policy changes that directly empower patients and equip providers with the right tools.” - Heidi B. Miller, MD, Medical Director for GBH (Gateway to Better Health) and project lead for RHC’s (St. Louis Regional Health Commission) Chronic Pain Initiative.
Medical Integration is the Way Forward
Officials in in the state believe that providing access to these alternative services will help ease patients' suffering and lower costs in the process. Treating the root of the matter rather than throwing dangerous drugs at the problem is something we here at AMI have long advocated for.
Hopefully this is the beginning of a trend in the United States of accepting non-invasive, non-narcotic treatments for chronic, long-term pain.
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