September is Pain Awareness Month and I thought this would be a great time to update CSA members about the association’s Task Force on Pain. This will be the second year since the creation of the task force, which was originally conceptualized by Past President Dr. Paul Yost as a way to address the needs of anesthesiology-trained pain specialists. The task force also has the full support of our current CSA President, Dr. Moore.
I currently serve as chair of the task force, and members include Ed Mariano, MD; Marc Schumacher, MD, PhD; Eric Hsu, MD; and Jeff Poage, MD. We have been working hard to identify ways in which we can make CSA more valuable for physician pain specialists. We welcome the input and participation of other pain specialists as well, so please contact us if you’re interested in getting involved!
The CSA Task Force on Pain aims to achieve the following goals:
- Provide valuable education and CME opportunities for pain physicians at our Fall, Winter and Annual Meeting conferences
- Influence policy decisions that impact the practice of pain medicine, and educate policymakers about pain-related issues
- Enhance CSA resources for pain specialists, including practice management, compliance, coding, and billing information
- Provide external communications about pain management
- Increase pain specialists’ interest in CSA membership
- Address relevant media concerns about safe opioid prescribing and patient adherence
Based on a collaborative discussion with many nationally recognized pain physicians at the CSA 2015 Annual Meeting, we found innovative ways to offer educational content specific to California pain physicians. CSA’s upcoming Fall and Winter Anesthesia conferences will include several topics of interest to pain specialists, including regional analgesia and anesthesia updates, options for non-opioid analgesics, and pediatric pain management. We are also exploring the possibility of offering a cadaver CME conference for advanced pain procedures, education leading to a fluoroscopy license, as well as considering a daylong practice management session at the upcoming Annual Meeting. In addition, we are looking into the possibility of having the CSA assist in obtaining CURES access for our physicians via our district meetings very soon.
Additionally, we are collaborating with other societies that represent pain physicians. In fact, last fall CSA partnered with the American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine (ASRA), and we had a booth at the ASRA's Pain Management meeting in San Francisco. This was a great way to introduce CSA to ASRA members!
As the anesthesiology specialty moves toward the perioperative model, it is critical that physician anesthesiologists who specialize in adult and pediatric pain management are a part of the perioperative team. We can help patients manage the transition from acute to chronic pain, develop tailored treatment plans, and in some cases, even prevent the development of persistent post-operative pain with preemptive strategies. Some of the key issues and questions that pain specialists can address include:
- Implementation of multi-modal analgesia
- Understanding mechanisms that contribute to persistent post-op pain states
- Sedation levels and risks versus benefits for different medicines, including Gabapentin, Lyrica, Ketamine and others
- Regional anesthesia and treatment for narcotic-dependent patients
- Ultrasound for epidurals—not yet ready for prime time, or do we all need to learn it?
- Questions surrounding the opioid epidemic—are we contributing to this with our zeal to treat pain as the “5th vital sign” during in-patient hospitalization visits?
- And much more!
The Task Force on Pain and the CSA are committed to bringing the most relevant topics to the physician anesthesiologist and pain specialist community, and we are particularly interested in providing our residents and fellows with a broader education on pain topics as we consider the perioperative management horizon. We always welcome any suggestions and feedback on how we can make the content as intellectually stimulating and engaging as possible to enhance all of our practices as physician anesthesiologists.