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Oh, and to the other Anonymous, you can disagree with me, but don't destroy your own credibility by saying I'm uneducated. I've read every word of the ACA and most of the regulations that have been promulgated thereunder (I have not read the regulations on health IT).

I don't understand why you, who seem to have a passion for advocating on behalf of chronic pain patients, would attack a piece on the need to do more to address chronic pain. I gave you two examples of things in the ACA that are aimed at addressing chronic pain -- but I never said that was good enough, and the article as a whole is intended to support those -- especially women -- with chronic pain. I hear at least once a week from a patient who went to the ER in agony and was turned away because of the bias that they are drug seeking. I was with a doctor last night who told me a story of a patient who was in agony from active Crohn's disease. She overheard a resident telling him to go home and she intervened and made it clear that the man was in agony for a reason, that he needed to be checked to see if he had an intestinal obstruction, and that the resident was wrong to jump to the conclusion that the patient was a drug seeker.

I'm firmly on the side of people with chronic pain who are not getting adequate care. But the issue is more complicated than just training doctors. Washington State passed a law that goes into effect this month that says that no doctor can prescribe opiates without consulting with a pain specialist. So loads of chronic pain patients are being told their doctors can't write their prescriptions any more. This is a HUGE problem -- and I am acutely aware of it because, at my sickest, I was in complete agony for about 3 years, and I had to beg and plead for anything stronger than Tylenol.

I do not believe the ACA is the answer to all that. I do think the steps that are taken in the ACA are positive steps. But they are not enough.

But bottom line is I'm totally on your side. To the extent that you read my piece to imply otherwise, I'm sure that is due to my imperfection in drafting. I hope that I have cleared that up now. Jennifer

June 17, 2011 - 4:59am


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