This section is designed to introduce you to the UCSF Pain Management Center. Feel free to request copies of our printed brochure for yourself and your patients. The purpose of this narrative is to explain the philosophy of, the range of treatments available at, and the process of patient referral to, the UCSF Pain Management Center.
The UCSF Pain Management Center has been in existence since 1987, originating at the Parnassus campus, and consolidated at UCSF Medical Center at Mount Zion. The Center treats patients with chronic medical, surgical, and neurological pain problems. The Pain Management Center is staffed by a variety of doctors and therapists with specialties in anesthesiology, neurology, nursing, medical psychology, and physical therapy. Consultants are readily available in orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery, rheumatology, psychiatry and pharmacy.
All patients must be referred for consult by a health care provider and have a primary care physician in order to be seen at the UCSF Pain Management Center. We would suggest that the referring physician write or fax a letter or synopsis of request for consult to:
UCSF Mount Zion Pain Management Center
Once a decision has been made to refer a patient for consult to the UCSF Pain Management Center, all pertinent information, including reason for referral, records of previous medical evaluations, operative reports, X-ray or imaging reports, and psychological and/or psychometric evaluation reports should be forwarded by mail or faxed to our Center. Please also include authorization for consult from the patient’s insurance, if required. The process of referral is expedited for patients with certain medical conditions. These conditions include active cancer, acute herpes zoster, acute CRPS less than 6 months in duration, and those requiring blood patch procedures.
Provision of the above information allows our providers to perform the most complete evaluation and provide the best possible care for your patients.
After the referral for consult is made, the patient will receive by mail: a pain questionnaire, personal data form, and information about the UCSF Pain Management Center. The questionnaire is extensive but extremely valuable in the initial evaluation. Most patients are instructed to complete the pain questionnaire before their appointment (exceptions include: patients with acute zoster, or those patients who are to be seen specifically for a blood patch evaluation). An envelope is provided for the questionnaire's return or the patient may bring it with them to their first appointment. With the information provided by your office, the patient is contacted for their initial appointment(s). Since we have several specialties, the patient is scheduled with the most appropriate physician specialty to evaluate their pain. After the initial examination, the diagnosis and the rationale for their probable treatment plan are frankly, but tactfully, discussed with the patient. Those patients seeing the psychologist will have a coordinated treatment plan decided at the multidisciplinary conference. You, the referring physician, will be sent a copy of our office dictations. If, for any reason, you do not receive them, please call our office as soon as possible so that this can be corrected.
Along with the medical evaluation, some patients will be seen by the pain psychologist for evaluation. The purpose of the psychological evaluation is to assess psychosocial factors that may serve to exacerbate, maintain or ameliorate the painful condition including depression, anxiety, level and quality of available social support, available pain coping strategies, beliefs regarding pain and current stressors. Intervention by the psychologist is provided in an individual or group format, and is primarily devoted to assisting the patient with the acquisition of pain and stress coping skills, amelioration of pain exacerbating psychosocial factors and improvement in the functional level of the patient.
Our multidisciplinary team meets weekly to discuss the treatment plans for patients who have undergone a psychological evaluation in addition to their initial medical evaluation. This meeting is held every Tuesday at noon. In this situation, your patient's case generally will be discussed on the Tuesday following their last evaluation appointment.
We will provide recommendations about the proposed treatment or suggested medication regimen to the referring physician and/or primary care provider. You, the referring or primary care physician will be responsible for providing all prescriptions. It must be emphasized that the physicians at the UCSF Pain Management Center work in the capacity of consultants. As such they do not write prescriptions on an ongoing basis. This allows the UCSF Pain Management Center to be responsive to expanding patient evaluations and to provide treatment modalities that are unique to our expertise. This does not apply to cancer patients, for whom we can write all pain prescriptions as necessary, nor does it apply to medications for implanted pumps.
If the patient’s insurance company requires prior authorization, medical record details and/or a treatment plan will be mailed or faxed to the insurance company requesting said authorization. This sometimes delays treatment. After authorization has been obtained, our office staff will contact the patient to arrange an appointment.
It may be advantageous for you to explain our referral, evaluation and treatment planning process to your patients, so they understand what a multidisciplinary pain management center program is about. This also helps them to understand why they do not receive immediately an initial appointment. Our one page referral checklist form is designed to help you gather the information that we need in order to provide you with the most complete and beneficial evaluations and treatment plans that we can for your patients.
If you have any additional questions,
UCSF Pain Management Center