URMC Neuromedicine Pain Center Gets National Recognition for Excellence in Care

Mar. 25, 2013

The Neuromedicine Pain Management Center at the University of Rochester Medical Center's Department of Neurosurgery was recently honored for its outcomes, multidisciplinary care and research by the American Pain Society, the leading organization dedicated to advancing pain care.

URMC was named a Clinical Center of Excellence for pain management, the only academic medical center in the nation to earn designation this year. To date, the APS has recognized just 20 academic medical centers in the country, and URMC is the only site in Upstate New York.  People would have to travel to New York City or Cleveland for similar quality care.

The APS designation followed a rigorous review of the center’s systems, clinical and research innovation, commitment to education and leadership within the community.

Pain is the second most common reason people seek medical attention and treatment varies widely between practices and communities. The URMC Neurosurgery team began a major effort to bolster and deliver coordinated pain management care in 2008 with success.

“Our goal at the inception of this center was to bring a multidisciplinary Neuromedicine approach to the treatment of disabling chronic pain syndromes that affect our patients,” said John Markman, M.D., director of the center, located at 2180 S. Clinton Ave.

The team includes neurologists, anesthesiologists, neurosurgeons, nurse practitioners and therapists who provide comprehensive interventional, medical, rehabilitative and psychological approaches to pain management in a single setting. The pain specialists review each patient’s diagnosis and collaborate to build individual care plans. As part of URMC, the team can include other subspecialists for consults when patients present with rare or complex disorders.

“This center is innovative on many levels that result in excellent patient care,” said Webster H. Pilcher, M.D., Ph.D., chair of Neurosurgery. “The focus upon the application of scientific advances in Neuromedicine to the treatment of chronic pain is unparalleled in the nation.”

Team members manage chronic pain, including common ailments ­– lower back pain or peripheral neuropathy – as well as and complex conditions, such as trigeminal neuralgia, an excruciating nerve disorder that requires microsurgery by skilled specialists. Many of the 2,000 patients seen each year travel a long distance for care.

The center is dedicated to educating practicing providers and trainees at all levels. Annual clinicians’ education events and monthly translational pain research forums were cited by APS reviewers as signs of “a very robust commitment to education of pain scientists and clinicians.” 

Patients benefit from clinical research and clinical trials, providing access to cutting edge therapies. Clinical research efforts focus on neuropathic pain conditions, low back pain syndromes and novel therapies. Another reviewer wrote: “This program seems to nail it in translational research. This is something rare, even among top university pain programs.”

Access to comprehensive care is a significant barrier to improved treatment for people with chronic pain. Program leaders work tirelessly to ensure continuity with patient’s primary care providers, staff a bilingual team and have expanded care with an outreach clinic in Auburn.

URMC Neurosurgery is the leader in neuromedicine care across Upstate New York, with partners throughout the Finger Lakes and Southern Tier regions.