Newswise — WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) applauded the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Pain Management Best Practices Interagency Task Force on the release of draft acute and chronic pain management best practice recommendations, many of which align with solutions presented and advocated by ASA.  

“ASA commends Vanila Singh, M.D., the Chair of the Task Force and the Tasks Force members for their leadership on this important public health issue and for putting forth these comprehensive recommendations.  We are encouraged that the Task Force recognizes there are gaps in sound policy for pain management within health systems.  We applaud the Task Force for its emphasis on the importance of multimodal approaches for perioperative pain, including highlighting models like the Perioperative Surgical Home (PSH)” said ASA President Linda Mason, M.D., FASA.  

By utilizing opioid-sparing techniques, physician anesthesiologists can impact the number of opioids prescribed to patients and consequently the number of unused opioids in families’ homes following surgery,” Dr. Mason continued “These opioid reduction strategies have been integrated into the Perioperative Surgical Home, an ASA-developed model of standardized coordinated care that spans the entire surgical experience, from the decision to have surgery to discharge and beyond.”

Asokomar Buvanendran, M.D., chair of ASA’s Committee on Pain Medicine, who presented before the Task Force at its inaugural meeting in May, also commended the Task Force for the depth and breadth of its work that includes recommendations addressing approaches to pain management; medication; surgical and interventional procedures; complementary and integrative health; behavior and psychological approaches; risk assessment; stigma; education and research; and access to care. 

“This report represents a far-reaching roadmap for advancing safe, patient-centered best practices in acute and chronic pain management,” said Dr. Buvanendran.

Task Force recommendations supported by ASA include insurance coverage for evidence-based interventional procedures for chronic pain, ensuring patient access to pain treatments, improving prescription drug monitoring programs, patient and provider education, and reducing stigma.  Additionally, the Task Force recommends a review of the CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain, both an update of the scientific evidence and current content of the Guideline.

Formed after Congress passed the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) of 2016, the Task Force is required to submit a report to Congress in 2019. The HHS Task Force is led by ASA member and physician anesthesiologist Vanila Singh, M.D., the medical director for the assistant secretary for health in HHS. The ASA commends Dr. Singh for her remarkable leadership on this effort and congratulates the two other ASA-member physician anesthesiologists who are members of the Task Force, Sherif Zaafran, M.D. and Helena Gazella, M.D.



Founded in 1905, the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) is an educational, research and scientific society with more than 52,000 members organized to raise and maintain the standards of the medical practice of anesthesiology. ASA is committed to ensuring physician anesthesiologists evaluate and supervise the medical care of patients before, during and after surgery to provide the highest quality and safest care every patient deserves.


For more information on the field of anesthesiology, visit the American Society of Anesthesiologists online at To learn more about the role physician anesthesiologists play in ensuring patient safety, visit Like ASA on Facebook, follow ASALifeline on Twitter.


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