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Patient Bill of Rights

  • The right to have your report of pain taken seriously and to be treated with dignity and respect by doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals.
  • The right to have your pain thoroughly assessed and promptly treated.
  • The right to be informed by your doctor about what may be causing your pain, possible treatments, and the benefits, risks and costs of each.
  • The right to participate actively in decisions about how to manage your pain.
  • The right to have your pain reassessed regularly and your treatment adjusted if your pain has not been eased.
  • The right to be referred to a pain specialist if your pain persists.
  • The right to get clear and prompt answers to your questions, take time to make decisions, and refuse a particular type of treatment if you choose.


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Consumers, Health Professionals and Advocates Join to Hail Release of Landmark Institute of Medicine Report on Advancing Pain Research, Care and Education

WASHINGTON, DC – June 29, 2011 – The following statement was released today by a broad array (see list below in alphabetical order) of consumer, health professional and advocacy organizations upon release of a major new Congressionally-mandated study by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academy of Sciences aimed at improving pain care, education and research.

“As organizations representing millions of Americans who suffer from chronic pain, of health professionals who care for these Americans, and of researchers and educators working to improve the care and treatment options available to these Americans, we are united in our enthusiasm for the IOM’s attention to this issue and by the release of this landmark report that identifies pain as a major public health problem.

Millions of Americans will be reading the findings and recommendations of this report with great interest. One of every four American adults suffers from chronic pain, more than the number afflicted by cancer, diabetes and heart disease combined. Pain is the leading cause of visits to health care professionals. The economic costs of chronic pain in added health care costs, lost productivity and lost income is enormous. The toll in human suffering, much of it potentially unnecessary, is of even greater concern to people with pain and their families.

We thank the Congress for commissioning the highly respected IOM to study this problem and develop recommendations on how to improve pain research, care and education. And we thank the IOM, and in particular the distinguished panel of experts on this Committee, for their hard work and for sending a clear message to our government and our people that pain is a major public health problem that deserves much greater attention and focus.

While we are still carefully reviewing its findings and recommendations, we hope that this landmark report sounds the siren call for greater attention to pain issues by both public and private sector policymakers and by the nation as a whole. We hope the recommendations of the report lay a clear path toward much needed improvements in pain research, care, education and treatment.”

American Academy of Neurology

American Academy of Pain Management

American Academy of Pain Medicine

American Association of Nurse Anesthetists

American Chronic Pain Association

American Headache Society

American Pharmacists Association

American Pain Foundation

American Pain Society

American Society for Pain Management Nursing

Boston Scientific

Center for Practical Bioethics

CFIDS Association of America

Cephalon, Inc.

Citizen Advocacy Center (CAC)



The Endometriosis Association

Endo Pharmaceuticals

Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association



Medtronic, Inc.

National Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain Association

National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization

National Research Center for Women & Families

National Vulvodynia Association

The Neuropathy Association

Nurse Practitioner Healthcare Foundation


Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome Association

Rocky Mountain CFS/ME & FM Association

St. Jude Medical

The TMJ Association

U.S. Pain Foundation

The Virginia Cancer Pain Initiative�]�