Making Pain Policy a Top Priority for Medical Boards
State Medical Boards have a number of important issues they must address regarding physician licensure and practice. Mayday Fellow Lisa Robin’s goal was to make pain policy a top priority.
From the time of the Mayday Pain & Society Workshop, Robin has conducted an environmental scan of pain policies across the 50 states to identify which state policies need to be updated and which states need policies on the books. Her primary goal has been to encourage the state boards to adopt a pain policy based on the Model Policy for Use of Controlled Substances for the Treatment of Pain and to provide the boards with a tool kit for communicating with their physicians.
Robin successfully worked with the Wyoming, Delaware and South Carolina state medical boards to adopt pain policies and will continue efforts to reach out to additional states to adopt or update their pain policies.
“If the medical boards will take affirmative actions or conduct policymaking in the area of pain management, having a policy framework that will support good practice is important,” Robin said.
Since learning about communications and media strategies at the training, Robin has worked with her public affairs department to proactively identify opportunities for letters to the editor and opinion columns reacting to stories regarding pain treatment and misuse of opiods. She had published letters in USA Today , the West Virginia Dominion Post, and American Medical News.
The training helped Robin learn different tricks to dealing with the media and interviews. “I didn’t realize previously the importance of timeliness,” she said. “The training was very valuable in seeking opportunities to get your message out and being proactive instead of just responding. I seek out interviews. In the past, I would avoid them.”
Robin said one of her major accomplishments included organizing a “day on Capitol Hill.” She brought 160 members of state medical boards to Capitol Hill to lobby on behalf of the National Pain Care Act. Robin worked to develop talking points and a packet of information to prepare the attendees to lobby with key policymakers.
Robin is currently developing a communications toolkit on pain that will include fact sheets, a power point presentation, template op-eds, and a resource list for all state boards. This tool kit will be available on the FSMB’s website.
Lisa Robin is a 2008-09 Mayday Fellow and the Senior Vice President of Member Services for the Federation of State Medical Boards.