ASA urges Oregon to reinstate coverage for epidural steroid injections aimed at chronic health pain — 3 insights

The American Society of Anesthesiologists is urging the Oregon Health Authority Health Evidence Review Committee to reconsider its ruling eliminating coverage for epidural steroid injections for patients with chronic back pain through the state's health programs.

Here's what you should know:

1. The ASA argues that the shots are necessary for some patients who have exhausted all other treatment options.

2. Critics noted that shots are only effective for a short period of time. Asokumar Buvanendran, MD, chair, ASA Committee on Pain Medicine, countered the argument saying its similar for all back pain treatments.

3. The ASA referenced evidence showing epidural steroids were effective in certain patients. Several studies, even negative studies, reference the injections effectiveness. The ASA said a "wealth of literature" recommends having the shots on an as needed basis.

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