NATICK, Mass., Oct. 29 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Boston Scientific Corporation (NYSE: BSX) today welcomed passage of legislation to help active members of the U.S. armed forces and service veterans better manage the challenges of chronic pain.
The Military Pain Care Act of 2008 was included in the National Defense Authorization Act, recently passed by Congress and signed into law by the President. The legislation, introduced by Representative Dave Loebsack of Iowa, requires the Department of Defense (DOD) to implement a pain care initiative in all military health care facilities. The intent is to help the military improve the health of active duty service members by developing a "best practices" approach to pain care management and evaluating the effectiveness of existing DOD pain care programs. Pain care management - for both acute and chronic pain - is a critical component of providing comprehensive health care for those who serve our country.
Congress also passed - and the President signed - the Veterans Pain Care Act, which establishes a comprehensive and integrated pain care initiative across the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) health care system. This new law, introduced by Representative Tim Walz of Minnesota and Senator Daniel Akaka of Hawaii, will add resources to increase research, training and education on acute and chronic pain for VA personnel and their patients.
"Improving pain management is a crucial part of improving health care for our active military and our veterans," said Scott M. Fishman, M.D., Professor of Anesthesiology and Chief, Division of Pain Medicine at the University of California, Davis. "Pain is a complex medical condition that can affect the physical and mental well being of millions of patients. We owe it to our returning military personnel to address their pain and suffering just as we should for all patients with chronic pain."
"The passage of these two laws will advance public awareness and understanding of chronic pain management," said Michael Onuscheck, President of Boston Scientific's Neuromodulation business. "The accredited pain physicians with whom we work have witnessed the devastating impact chronic pain can have on our active and veteran military service personnel. The expansion and improvement of the quality of care for these brave men and women in their battle against chronic pain is an important step forward."
An additional pain care bill, the National Pain Care Policy Act, has been passed by the House of Representatives but not the Senate. This bill, introduced by Representative Lois Capps of California and Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah, would help evaluate how acute and chronic pain are diagnosed, treated and managed in the U.S., and help improve education, research and awareness of chronic pain to physicians and pain sufferers throughout the country.
"Boston Scientific will continue our work on this broad pain care legislation," added Onuscheck. "We take our leadership responsibilities in this industry seriously and believe that improving care for pain patients benefits all of us. We will continue to educate our elected officials about the importance of the National Pain Care Policy Act and push for final passage by the Senate."
Chronic pain presents a major challenge to the U.S. healthcare system. With an estimated 75 million Americans affected by chronic pain, the cost to the public in terms of health care, lost productivity and litigation is estimated at $100 billion every year. The effects of chronic pain can contribute to job loss, depression, fear, anxiety, isolation, sleep disorders and marital and family dysfunction.
About Boston Scientific
Boston Scientific is a worldwide developer, manufacturer and marketer of medical devices whose products are used in a broad range of interventional medical specialties. For more information, please visit: http://www.bostonscientific.com.
About Boston Scientific Neuromodulation
Boston Scientific Neuromodulation is an innovation leader in implantable pain management technology. The use of pulses of electricity delivered directly to the nerves, known as Spinal Cord Stimulation, has been in use for more than 30 years without the unwanted side effects and long-term costs associated with pain medications. Spinal Cord Stimulation is a reversible therapy that has helped thousand of people find relief from chronic pain.
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CONTACT: Paul Donovan
Boston Scientific Corporation
Boston Scientific Corporation
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