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Papers of the Week

2020 Mar 31


[Is interdisciplinary multimodal pain therapy threatened? : Increasing controversy on the necessity for inpatient treatment].



Interdisciplinary multimodal pain therapy (IMST) is recognized as a scientifically founded form of therapy for inpatient treatment of chronic pain conditions. The indications are assessed by private practitioners and must be confirmed by physicians at the inpatient institution. The health insurance companies are obliged to remunerate this treatment but are allowed to test the conditions in individual cases. Recently, reports from members of the German Pain Society on a drastic increase in testing and rejection quotas have become more frequent. Therefore, this article discusses the legal foundations of the treatment of patients with chronic pain in the inpatient sector. Hard criteria for treatment in a certain sector could not be established. A decision in individual cases will depend on the complexity of the disease in the individual patient. A treatment in hospital is principally only necessary when the treatment corresponds to the generally recognized state of medical knowledge and treatment options in daycase units have not been successful. Important guidance can be found in the treatment guidelines of the medical specialist societies. The transfer to a more intensive treatment sector must be made dependent on the severity and complexity of the symptoms and the insufficient effectiveness of the treatment in the previous sector. Simple ICD-10 diagnoses are not suitable as decision-making criteria and therefore, also not as testing criteria for the indications for inpatient treatment. Decompensated and acutely exacerbated chronic pain conditions must as a rule be treated in hospital, also due to the mental component of the pain disease.