A new national study gives Nebraska a “B+” grade for its policies to improve pain management and patient care.
David Woodmansee, associate director of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, says Nebraska has been consistent, as it also had a “B+” on the last report card five years ago. He’d like to see the state make an “A” grade.
“There are some things we could do in Nebraska,” Woodmansee says. “We’ve had some other priority issues we’ve been working there but this report is over 900 pages long. What we’re going to do is crack it open, look at the steps we might be able to take to get Nebraska from a B+ to an A and work with our folks on the ground there, but for now, we applaud the fact that Nebraska’s at a B+.”
He says the grade is very good: “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 received the top rating — an “A” grade.
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