New AMA Substance Use and Pain Care Task Force Urges Action to Help Patients

For Immediate Release 

New AMA Substance Use and Pain Care Task Force
Urges Action to Help Patients

September 29, Westbury, NY— The Medical Society of the State of New York and the American Medical Association today released new recommendations as part of the AMA Substance Use and Pain Care Task Force to help end the nation’s drug-related overdose and death epidemic.

The recommendations are focused on actions physicians can take as well as those policymakers and public health officials must take. This includes broad efforts to remove barriers and improve access to evidence-based care for patients with pain, a substance use disorder (SUD) or mental illness, as well as increase access to multiple harm reduction strategies. The new Task Force also will work to more directly address the changing drug overdose epidemic, focus on removing racial, gender, sexual orientation and other health-related inequities.

“The nation’s physicians must continue to lead by example to help our patients with pain, SUDs and mental illness,” said Task Force Chair Bobby Mukkamala, MD. “But removing barriers requires more stakeholders to join us. This new Task Force is making clear the opportunity we have to reduce mortality and improve outcomes, but we also will be clear with policymakers that failure to adopt our recommendations will prolong the epidemic and our patients’ suffering.”

Highlights of the recommendations include:

  • Support patients with pain, mental illness or a substance use disorder (SUD) by building an evidence-based, sustainable and resilient infrastructure and health care workforce rather than continuing a crisis-driven approach that has led to multiple unintended negative consequences, including one-size-fits-all strategies, continued stigma and widespread gaps in data, evidence-based treatment, and prevention efforts.
  • Support coverage for, access to, and payment of comprehensive, multi-disciplinary, multi-modal evidence-based treatment for patients with pain, a substance use disorder or mental illness. Additionally, coverage, access and payment should directly address racial, gender, sexual orientation, ethnic and economic inequities as well as social determinants of health. This includes removing barriers to evidence-based treatment for SUDs, co-occurring mental illness and pain.
  • Broaden public health and harm reduction strategies to save lives from overdose, limit the spread of infectious disease, eliminate stigma and reduce harms for people who use drugs and other substances.
  • Improve stakeholder and multi-sector collaboration in an effort to ensure that the patients, policymakers, employers, and communities benefit from evidence-based decisions.

“These recommendations are vital for our patients who are in pain, have a mental illness diagnosis, or have a substance use disorder to receive compassionate care that is evidence-based treatment and addresses the barriers that patients face in getting the care that they need. MSSNY, as a member of the AMA’s Substance Use and Pain Care Task Force, is pleased to support these recommendations as we believe that they will help improve health outcomes for our patients,” said MSSNY President, Joseph Sellers, MD, FAAP, FACP.

Read the full Tas Force recommendations

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Founded in 1807, the Medical Society of the State of New York is the state’s principal non-profit professional organization for physicians, residents and medical students of all specialties. Its mission is to represent the interests of patients and physicians to assure quality healthcare services for all.

Media Contact:
Roseann Raia
Communications / Marketing
Medical Society of the State of New York
865 Merrick Ave.
Westbury, New York
516-488-6100 ext 302
rraia@mssny.org