A recent proposal from CMS would limit patients’ access to care
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently released a proposal that would, if approved, consolidate the billing codes for doctor visits. While this would reduce provider burden, it would also negatively affect a wide range of patients and healthcare providers, including doctors and patients in our migraine community.
This proposed policy would cut payments for complex office visits, adversely affecting the care and treatment of patients with complex conditions. It could also exacerbate physician workforce shortages, as it discourages young physicians from pursuing specialties that provide complex care. Migraine is a complex, misunderstood disease and there are too few headache specialists for the 37 million Americans who live with migraine, making this policy detrimental to patients and doctors alike.
In response, the American Migraine Foundation, American Headache Society and 130 other organizations signed on to a letter to CMS, outlining the impact of this proposal on patient communities. It is our understanding that the proposal was created with little to no consultation with affected stakeholders. We urged CMS not to move forward with the proposal as it currently stands, and instead convene stakeholders to identify other strategies to reduce paperwork and administrative burden that do not threaten patient access to care.
We look forward to working with CMS to continue this dialogue and find a solution that benefits providers, insurance companies and patients.
A recap of the groundbreaking research presented at the American Headache Society’s Scientific Meeting in San Francisco
The American Headache Society’s 60th Annual Scientific Meeting recently took place in San Francisco from June 28-July 1. Over 1,300 health care professionals from around the world convened at the five-day event in San Francisco to unveil groundbreaking research on migraine and other disorders that cause severe headache. This was the biggest turnout the meeting has ever had, which included a variety of lectures, seminars and symposia on topics including anti-CGRP treatments to migraine triggers.
AHS members left optimistic about the future of headache medicine and headache research, as we all work together to find a cure for this invisible disease. Throughout the event, attendees were reminded that the work they do every day is impacting people living with migraine in monumental ways. Take a look at some of the highlights from this year’s meeting.
Highlights from the 60th Annual Scientific Meeting
New Research on Comorbidities in Patients with Migraine
Leading migraine experts revealed new, award-winning research that identified distinct respiratory, psychiatric, cardiovascular and pain-related issues that occur concurrently in people living with migraine, also referred to as comorbidities. The identification of these comorbidities may open the door for experts to make more distinct characterizations of the condition, allowing for more individualized treatment approaches for those living with migraine.
The Effect of Migraine on Women’s Lives
Of the more than 37 million Americans who are living with migraine, 28 million are women who experience migraine differently than men. Migraine attacks often last longer in women. Researchers presented clinical studies that deepen the understanding of the effects of episodic and chronic migraine on five aspects of women’s lives:
Research showed that those experiencing chronic migraine are more likely to experience negative effects on the family, including personal relationships issues, detrimental disruptions in family life, and placed heavier burden on all members of the family.
In a study that examined children ages 11-17 living with a parent who experiences migraine, researchers found that the greatest burden was on well-being, parent-child relationship, a burden of daily help and emotional impact.
#3 Menstrual Cycle
In a recent study, researchers divided women with migraine into three groups based on the relationship of headache to menses: Pure Menstrual Migraine, Menstrual-Related Migraine and Non-Menstrual Related Migraine. The study revealed that women with NMRM were more likely to experience peak pain intensity, peak functional impairment and more overall pain interference compared to women in other groups.
A study examined medications chosen for pregnant women with acute migraine. In a retrospective study, researchers reviewed medication administration records of pregnant women. The study found that while the majority of pregnant women with acute migraine received medications that are considered to be relatively safe, there was a variation in treatment choice, and several low-risk options to treat acute migraine were underutilized. This finding suggests a need for standardized guidelines in the treatment of acute migraine in pregnancy.
A study looked at patterns of migraine in women in their menopausal age (40-60 years old) who also experience migraine headache. Researchers concluded that 60% of women with a history of migraine at the menopausal age developed migraine pattern changes, mostly when their status was peri-menopausal or post-menopausal. The identification of worsening or new onset migraine during the menopausal transition age may help the diagnosis and treatment of migraine for women during the menopausal age.
Migraine in the Workplace
Research found that individuals with chronic migraine were significantly more likely than those with episodic migraine to describe negative effects on their careers. Individuals with chronic migraine are more likely to call in sick due to head pain and indicated that their career advancement had been strained as a result. Those with chronic migraine reported being more worried about long-term financial security and covering living expenses. In some cases, migraine negatively affected their partners as well.
Research Behind Common Migraine Triggers
Leading experts in migraine management presented five clinical studies that looked at the connection between commonly believed migraine triggers—including caffeine, chocolate, the weekend and weather—and the onset of migraine.
Researchers found little statistical association for caffeine, chocolate or non-working days on the onset of migraine. However, in the retrospective study on weather, they found that specific combinations of weather variables are predictive of days with a high risk of onset of headache for individuals with diagnosed episodic migraine. The most influential variable was barometric pressure.
The American Headache Society is a professional society of health care professionals dedicated to the research and study of headache and face pain. Over 37 million Americans are affected by migraine, and the research revealed at the 60th Annual Scientific Meeting leaves us optimistic about the future treatments for migraine and other disorders that cause severe headache. To stay up to date on the latest news and research, visit our resource library, and use our Find a Doctor tool to find a headache specialist near you.
The American Migraine Foundation responds to recent article with a letter to Elle Magazine Editor
In the United States alone, more than 37 million people have migraine and approximately 6 million live with symptoms almost every day. One in five women experience migraine and it is the single most disabling disease for women under the age of 49 years, worldwide.
This week, just days before the end of National Migraine and Headache Awareness Month, Elle USA published this article, highlighting fashion influencers’ use of the “migraine pose.” According to the article, the pose is trending because it tightens the face, emphasizes cheekbones and draws attention to manicures.
The article has generated outrage in the community from people and patients whose lives have been seriously impacted in almost every way imaginable by this invisible and highly misunderstood disease—a disease that historically has had few options for treatment.
“Women who are in a critical time of their lives, trying to get an education, build careers and start and raise families are especially impacted by migraine,” says David Dodick, MD, FAHS, Chairman of the American Migraine Foundation. “To make matters worse, women with migraine are at a significantly increased risk of other diseases – including chronic pain syndromes, depression, anxiety, stroke, epilepsy, just to name a few.”
In response to this article, the American Migraine Foundation has sent a formal letter to the Editor-in-Chief of Elle Magazine. We invited the publication to join us and to use its reach and influence to demonstrate compassion and understanding for the millions of women around the world fighting to live a normal a life, while dealing with a devastating illness.
“We are hoping to use this as an opportunity to change the conversation about migraine and put an end to the stigma surrounding this disabling disease,” says Dodick.
While we begin the dialogue, we ask that you continue to respectfully advocate for those living with migraine by sharing photos of what a migraine attack really looks like by sharing personal photos using the hashtag #truemigrainepose. Please tag the American Migraine Foundation so we can share your posts.
We want you to know that the American Migraine Foundation and its partners stand with the almost one billion people who experience migraine. We humbly ask that you use this incident as an opportunity to take action.
The Mighty and the American Migraine Foundation are teaming up to make migraine resources more available to the people who need them
As part of our ongoing commitment to providing meaningful information, resources and support for those living with migraine, the American Migraine Foundation is thrilled to announce our new partnership with The Mighty, a supportive community dedicated to publishing real stories about real people facing real challenges. We will now have an exclusive home page on The Mighty website, and also contribute to migraine-related articles that will be shared with their audience of 150 million readers.
The Mighty is a natural partner for the American Migraine Foundation. Founded in 2014, it’s a story-based health community focused on improving the lives of people facing disease, disorder, mental illness and disability. More than half of Americans are facing serious health conditions or medical issues, and are craving access to quality information.The Mighty aims to inspire people from all walks of life by sharing stories of perseverance, struggle and hope.
Not only is migraine a disabling, debilitating disease, it is also profoundly misunderstood. Too often people with migraine bear the weight of their illness alone. The Mighty’s mission is to combat that isolation with community, something we’ve also worked to do with efforts like our Move Against Migraine support network.
The American Migraine Foundation is dedicated to helping people with migraine live meaningful and pain-free lives. Through this partnership, we will be able to expand our reach by sharing our resources with The Mighty’s wide-reaching readership.
We can’t wait to bring our communities together: because together, we are as relentless as migraine.