Pain and Symptom Management for People with Serious Illness in the Context of the Opioid Epidemic: A Workshop

When: November 29, 2018 (8:00 AM Eastern)
Where: Keck Center • 500 Fifth St. NW, Washington, DC 20001

Topics Aging, Diseases, Health Services, Coverage, and Access, Public Health
Activity: Roundtable on Quality Care for People with Serious Illness
Boards: Board on Health Care Services, Board on Health Sciences Policy

An ad hoc committee will plan and host a one-day workshop to examine ways to best address the pain and symptom management needs of people with serious illness in the context of widespread opioid use disorder, including consideration of the underlying socioeconomic factors that contribute to the epidemic. The workshop will feature invited presentations and panel discussions on topics that may include:


  • The Patient/Family Perspective
    • Impact of limitations in access to opioids on those with serious illness and their caregivers
    • Disparities in access to prescribed opioids for people with serious illness
    • Options for safe removal and disposal of opioids when they are no longer needed
  • The Clinician Perspective
    • How restrictions on opioid prescribing affect clinicians and their ability to provide high quality care for those with serious illness
    • Ways in which clinicians manage the care of seriously ill patients who have comorbid conditions such as cancer and substance use disorder
  • The Payer Perspective
    • Challenges of striking a balance between access to opioid medications for patients’ pain and symptom management and patient safety and prevention of opioid use disorder
  • The Legislative/Policy Perspective
  • Potential impact of regulatory/legislative actions to address the opioid epidemic
  • Measures to protect the population of people with serious illness whose pain can only be effectively addressed by opioids
  • Strategies to address gaps in the evidence base on pain management for people with serious illness


The committee will develop the agenda for the workshop, select speakers and discussants, and moderate the discussions.  Proceedings of the presentations and discussions at the workshop will be prepared by a designated rapporteur in accordance with institutional guidelines.

Planning Committee Members

Andrew Dreyfus (co-chair), Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts 
James A. Tulsky (co-chair), Harvard Medical School
Patricia A. Bomba, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield
Steve Clauser, Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute 
Rebecca A. Kirch, National Patient Advocate Foundation
Jane M. Liebschutz, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Salimah H. Meghani, University of Pennsylvania 
R. Sean Morrison, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Judith A. Paice, Northwestern University; Feinberg School of Medicine
Philip A. Pizzo, Stanford University School of Medicine
Christian Sinclair, American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine



Previous Meetings for this Activity

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