Friday, August 19, 2022

Anonymous Donor Joins Allegheny Health Network in the Fight against Chronic Pain

Empowered Relief Program Expansion at West Penn Hospital Delivers Innovative Chronic Pain Treatment

PITTSBURGH —Allegheny Health Network (AHN) is pleased to announce it has received charitable support from an anonymous sponsor to expand care and treatment approaches to patients in western Pennsylvania who are living with chronic pain.

The Empowered Relief Program, an evidence-based intervention that has been found to effectively reduce pain intensity, pain interference, and pain-provoked sleep disturbance, depression, anxiety and fatigue, is currently being delivered at West Penn Institute for Pain Medicine at no cost to patients. The generous donation of funds will enable AHN to extend this program across West Penn Hospital to serve a larger patient population and demonstrate efficacy as well as cost savings to support movement toward insurance reimbursement models for continued scaling to additional patient populations in, and beyond, West Penn Hospital.

AHN reports thousands of patients at West Penn Hospital, many from vulnerable populations, who suffer from chronic pain conditions which can seriously limit life or work activities and significantly affect behavioral and mental health.

The CDC reports 20% of US adults suffer from chronic pain with a significant economic cost, estimated at $500 billion per year in medical costs and lost productivity (CDC, 2018; Lancet 2021). Patients with chronic pain are more likely to have multiple diagnosis of other pain conditions, and are 4x more likely to have a diagnosis of anxiety or depressive disorders (Gureje, 2001). The gravity of this relationship cannot be overstated as risk of death by suicide is doubled for chronic pain patients when compared to those who do not suffer from chronic pain (Tang, 2006). The link between chronic pain and substance use disorder is well recognized, as the majority of patients who suffer from opioid use disorder were diagnosed with chronic pain prior to misusing substances (Hser, 2017).

“The short-term and long-term impact of this expansion of Empowered Relief will be significant for patients at West Penn Hospital as well as the broader Allegheny Health Network,” says Leah Russell Flaherty, Psy.D. and Clinical Pain Psychologist at the West Penn Enhanced Pain Program with AHN.  “As the Psychiatry and Behavioral Health Institute at AHN continues to advance, we can deliver evidence-based mental health services that are accessible, affordable and offer behavioral health pain medicine equivalent to pharmaceutical-based treatments.”

“Our patients are our priority,” says Allie Quick, Chief Philanthropy Officer at AHN.  “We are pleased that this generous demonstration of philanthropy allows us to connect vulnerable populations across the region to affordable and effective behavioral health care to treat depression, anxiety and stress associated with managing chronic illness and pain”.

To learn more about Behavioral Health at AHN, visit the website. To learn more about the Empowered Relief Study, visit the website.


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