- Zach Sartor, MD, Family Medicine Faculty and Curriculum Director, Waco Family Medicine Residency, Waco, TX
- Becky Bell Scott, PhD, LCSW, Senior Lecturer, Director of IBH Workforce Training Program, Diana R. Garland School of Social Work, Baylor University, Waco, TX
Chronic pain is common in primary care. Twenty percent of adults report chronic pain and seven percent report high-impact chronic pain that “frequently [limits] life or work activities” (National Center for Health Statistics Data Brief, 2020). Furthermore, a bidirectional relationship exists between chronic pain and medical and mental health and well-being, so chronic pain has far-reaching consequences for millions of people. Clinicians need to provide high-quality, compassionate care for patients suffering from chronic pain while minimizing the risk of harmful treatments, particularly inappropriate use of long-term opioids. Multimodal treatment of chronic pain is essential for maximum treatment outcomes, and behavioral health interventions, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness therapy, or relaxation training, are essential (Department of Health and Human Services Interagency Task Force Report, 2019). Therefore, improving the capacity of primary care to provide meaningful treatment of chronic pain lies at the intersection of increasing the primary care behavioral health workforce and creating scaffolding for primary care teams to implement effective behavioral interventions for chronic pain. Our presentation addresses how we can improve the capacity and preparedness of primary care behavioral health to achieve meaningful results in the treatment of chronic pain. First, we review the challenges faced by clinicians and patients with regard to the scope of chronic pain and access to effective, safe, and sustainable treatment. Second, we describe our efforts to improve the primary care behavioral health provider pipeline through use of a pre-professional training program. Third, we highlight the creation of a team-based clinical care pathway for the treatment of chronic pain intended to improve utilization of evidence-based multimodal interventions for the treatment of chronic pain.
- Articulate the impact of chronic pain on patients in primary care, including opioid considerations, and the evidence for effective PCBH interventions.
- Identify appropriate training objectives and methods for each level of behavioral health provider professional development.
- Illustrate an interprofessional team-based clinical pathway for brief behavioral intervention for chronic pain.