Getting In IPCA
At Integrative Pain Center of Arizona we screen every patient at their consult visit with the physician. When it appears that the patient may be a candidate for the Chronic Pain Management Program we do a multidisciplinary evaluation (provided the patient’s health plan covers this service) that includes the physician specializing in pain medicine and the psychologist specializing in medical and health psychology. Treatment planning takes psychosocial factors into account. The treatment plan may include individual or group cognitive and behavioral therapy, stress management, coping skills training, biofeedback, and other techniques to address chronic pain, psychosocial factors, and enhance the chances of successful treatment. The treatment plan may also include medications, complementary and alternative medicine treatment, physical therapy, procedures, consultations with mental health professionals and more.
To Primary Care Providers
Your patients are screened at referral and at the initial physician consultation to see if they require the Chronic Pain Management program at IPCA. Once they are triaged to this clinic, evaluation and treatment are coordinated through regular multidisciplinary rounds, and participation of the Primary Care Provider is essential for successful treatment planning and treatment plan execution. Primary Care Providers are asked to participate in at least the first rounds discussion of their patients via conference -phone.
Some health plans do not cover The Chronic Pain Management Program. Your complicated patients will often need (require is more appropriate terminology) this program but some – (like Pacificare, some AHCCCS plans like University Family Care, and Health Net insured patients) – are denied access to this care because the Behavioral Pain Medicine evaluation is not covered by their health plan. It should be noted that major plans like United Health Care, BCBS, AHCCCS Mercy Care, and many others DO cover this service.
Complicated patients should not be treated by pain clinics (or anyone else) piecemeal with just medications or just procedures because outcomes are rarely good and the risk of problems like misuse and diversion of pain medicaton is unacceptably high. The information at the end of this article includes a letter which you can send to your patient’s insurance to advocate for evidence-based proper treatment.
To Our Patients
Even if pain has not been present very long, psychological stress can increase the chance that pain will become chronic and we can teach skills to prevent that. We can teach skills to decrease the negative impact of pain – and any pain treatment (spine surgery or injections would be a good example) – on your life.
We certainly believe that our patients have the pain they say they have. We know that when people have had pain for more than 6 months, many parts of their lives may have been affected. Some examples are work, recreational activities, family activities and relationships, and mood. You may at first have doubts about the behavioral pain medicine evaluation, but it has several important purposes. These include the following:
- It helps us learn about the extent of your pain problem from your point of view, and this helps us provide treatment that fits your unique situation
- Identify all the circumstances that contribute to your pain and disability.
- Give you the opportunity to discuss how you feel about your medical treatment, work, family, and other issues
- Provide you with additional information and clarify your questions about your pain and about the pain treatments that you have been offered by the various specialists you have seen
- Identify possible additional or alternative treatments beyond medication, surgery, nerve blocks, or physical therapy
- Help you make tough decisions about how aggressive you want to be – when is enough enough? In general, we help you take an active role in managing your pain – so it doesn’t manage you
- For people whose pain is chronic, we help you focus on the quality of your daily life and to discover ways to make it better regardless of your pain
Our goals are to help you:
- Feel better physically
- Suffer less emotionally
- Spend less of your time and effort dealing with your pain
- Spend more of your time engaged in the productive and satisfying activities that you want to do and – Make good healthcare decisions
For you to achieve these goals, we must carefully evaluate all aspects of your pain in a comprehensive manner. We ask you to consider your behavioral pain medicine evaluation as part of your overall pain evaluation and treatment plan.