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Issue Background

Access to Integrative Pain Care

SPPAN Position

SPPAN supports efforts to improve reimbursement for the full range of treatments and providers involved in high-quality, evidence-based, integrative pain care. Provisions of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that prohibit discrimination against providers for whom painful conditions are within their scope of practice are especially important, and SPPAN is committed to working with its partners in the Integrative Healthcare Policy Consortium and elsewhere to promote their full enactment at the state level. We also are committed to working with our partners to address other inequities and deficiencies in healthcare reimbursement, and to promoting reimbursement models that reward the achievement of good outcomes over the application of more and more treatments.


Effective, high-quality pain care often requires multiple providers and multiple interventions to help people with pain achieve optimal wellness. This kind of interdisciplinary integrative pain care is uncommon and thus difficult to find, in part because services other than traditional allopathic medical care are often poorly reimbursed. People with pain who benefit from complementary and alternative medicine techniques such as naturopathy, acupuncture, and massage therapy may have significant problems finding providers who are covered under their health insurance plans, and even more traditional interventions like physical therapy and psychotherapy for the treating pain can be poorly reimbursed, if they are reimbursed at all.

Similar to other chronic conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure, chronic pain isn’t typically cured, but is managed with a combination of therapies and approaches specific to the individual. Policies need to support access to, and reimbursement for, integrative pain care.