March 31, 2021 - The Non-Opioids Prevent Addiction in the Nation (NOPAIN Act), H.R.3259/S. 586, first introduced in the 116th Congress, was reintroduced by a bipartisan group of U.S. Representatives and Senators this year.
Representatives Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Kuster (D-NH), Sewell (D-AL) and McKinley (R-WV) are the lead sponsors in the House, and Senators Capito (R-WV), Manchin (D-WV), Portman (R-OH) and Shaheen (D-NH) are the Senate lead sponsors.
The NOPAIN Act aims to increase patient and provider access to non-opioid approaches to acute pain management and is part of AMTA's ongoing advocacy efforts at the federal and state levels to enact responsible policies that help increase access to massage therapy.
AMTA was an early endorser of components of the legislation, working behind the scenes to ensure that it contained massage therapy. To that end, AMTA’s efforts led to the inclusion of a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) report to Congress on gaps and limitations in coverage for therapeutic services and recommendations for addressing barriers to care as identified in the May 2019 Pain Management Best Practices Inter-agency Task Force report. Massage therapy is listed throughout the Task Force report as an effective therapy for pain.
In 2020, AMTA members generated over 8,000 letters of support for the NOPAIN Act to their respective House and Senate Members of Congress and helped garner 62 official bipartisan supporters ("cosponsors") in the House and 24 co-sponsors in the Senate. Hopefully, with sustained effort, the NOPAIN Act will move through Congress during this session. The legislation remains largely bipartisan, with 29 co-sponsors of S. 586 and 45 co-sponsors of H.R. 3259.
Evidence continues to support what many massage therapists have probably already observed throughout the COVID-19 pandemic; the delayed or postponed access to needed medical care and non-opioid pain therapies, such as massage therapy. This lack of access has only exacerbated the pain crisis in the U.S., contributing to drug over-reliance and substance abuse.
Substance abuse is a multi-faceted problem that requires a comprehensive approach. While massage therapy on its own will not solve the crisis, AMTA believes that patient access to appropriate non-opioid therapies for pain, including massage, is an important component of any pain treatment plan. We hope that passage of the NOPAIN Act will be an important step to improve access to pain care by fostering access to complementary and integrative therapies such as massage.
AMTA applauds the U.S. Congressional Members who have taken the lead on combating opioid addiction. We remain hopeful that members of the 117th Congress will pass the NOPAIN Act into law this session. AMTA looks forward to updating members on this advocacy effort as the legislation progresses.
For more information on how massage therapists can get involved in supporting this legislation, you can visit our page on AMTA's efforts to advance the conversation on massage for pain.