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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress.
9/24/2008--Passed House amended. National Pain Care Policy Act of 2008 - (Sec. 2) Requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to seek to enter into an agreement with the Institute of Medicine to convene a Conference on Pain to: (1) increase the recognition of pain as a significant public health problem in the United States; (2) evaluate the adequacy of assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and management of acute and chronic pain in the general population and in identified demographics groups that may be disproportionately affected by inadequacies; (3) identify barriers to appropriate pain care; and (4) establish an agenda for action to reduce such barriers and significantly improve the state of pain care research, education, and clinical care in the United States. Allows the Secretary to enter into an agreement with another appropriate entity if the Institute of Medicine declines. Requires a report summarizing the Conference's findings and recommendations to be submitted to Congress. Authorizes appropriations for FY2009-FY2010.
(Sec. 3) Amends the Public Health Service Act to require the Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to continue and expand, through the Pain Consortium, an aggressive program of basic and clinical research on the causes of and potential treatments for pain. Requires the Pain Consortium to develop and submit to the Director of NIH recommendations on appropriate pain research initiatives that could be undertaken with funds available for such initiatives.
Requires the Secretary to establish the Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee to coordinate all efforts within Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and other federal agencies that relate to pain research. Directs the Committee to: (1) develop a summary of advances in federal pain care research relevant to the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of pain and diseases and disorders associated with pain; and (2) identify critical gaps in basic and clinical research on the symptoms and causes of pain. Requires the Secretary to review the necessity of the Committee at least once every two years.
(Sec. 4) Allows the Secretary to make awards of grants, cooperative agreements, and contracts to health professions schools, hospices, and other public and private entities for the development and implementation of programs to provide education and training to health care professionals in pain care. Sets forth information and education that must be included in the program as a condition for receiving a grant.
(Sec. 5) Requires the Secretary to establish and implement a national pain care education outreach and awareness campaign to educate consumers, patients, their families, and other caregivers with respect to: (1) the incidence and importance of pain as a national public health problem; (2) the adverse physical, psychological, emotional, societal, and financial consequences that can result if pain is not appropriately assessed, diagnosed, treated, or managed; (3) the availability, benefits, and risks of all pain treatment and management options; and (4) having pain promptly assessed, appropriately diagnosed, treated, and managed and regularly reassessed with treatment adjusted as needed. Requires the Secretary, in designing such campaign, to: (1) take into account the special needs of geographic areas and underserved demographic groups; and (2) provide resources that will reduce disparities in access to appropriate diagnosis, assessment, and treatment. Authorizes appropriations for FY2009-FY2011.