A new national study gives Iowa an “A” grade for its policies to improve pain management and patient care. David Woodmansee, associate director of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, says Iowa improved from a “B” grade in pain management on the last report card from five years ago.
Woodmansee says, “It means that your legislators and policymakers there are trying to strike a balance between law enforcement that tries to prevent abuse and diversion of prescription drugs and the absolute, legitimate need for cancer patients and others with serious or chronic diseases to have access to these prescription medications.”
While it’s important to keep these powerful drugs from falling into the wrong hands, he explains why it’s equally important to make sure the people who need them for pain aren’t restricted. “So they can get through their day and their night and live a certain level of quality of life and continue to be part of society,” he says.
The report is called, “Achieving Balance in State Pain Policy: A Progress Report Card.” It uses 16 criteria and assigns each state a letter grade, based on whether state pain policies enhance access to pain care, including the use of pain medications, and minimize potential treatment barriers.
Thirteen states, including Iowa, received the top rating — an “A” grade. Twenty states have improved their grades since 2008, with Georgia, Iowa, Montana and Wyoming showing the most improvement. The improvements are largely due, he says, to legislatures strengthening ambiguous policy language and state health care boards adopting new policies to encourage appropriate pain management.
Learn more at: www.acscan.org