UVM Medical Center

UVM Medical Center’s Comprehensive Pain Program Wins Blue Cross VT Provider Innovation Award

CPP’s Partners Aligned in Transformative Healing (PATH) Program

UVM Medical Center Blue Cross Vermont Provider Innovation Award Recipients.

Burlington, Vt. – UVM Medical Center’s Comprehensive Pain Program (CPP) has been recognized for its novel approach to pain management by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont, winning the organization’s 2023 Blue Cross Provider Innovation Award for its PATH (Partners Aligned in Transformative Healing) program.

Launched in 2019, PATH is an intensive, 16-week program that uses a unique approach to caring for patients experiencing chronic pain. In addition to using a group setting, the program integrates modern medicine with a wide variety of evidenced-based complementary and alternative therapies that address the physiological, mental and emotional, and spiritual aspects of each patient’s well-being. Patients have access to about 12 therapies that range from Acupuncture and Reiki, to hands-on cooking classes, occupational and physical therapy, and Mindfulness interventions.

Jon Porter, MD, founding Medical Director of the program, said its innovative approach was born from a desire to support both patients and providers, re-imagine both how physicians think about treating chronic pain, and support participants in optimizing agency and success in managing their pain.

“Chronic pain affects a tremendous number of our family, friends and neighbors, and those affected experience impacts in virtually every area of their life. The traditional medical approach has been to treat it as an ongoing symptom,” said Dr. Porter. “The goal of our program is to understand and address the entirety of an individual’s experience with their pain, support them in developing strategies to move forward in the experience, and provide access to therapies that can be highly effective but for which they have not had insurance coverage.

Through a partnership with the CPP, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont offers a bundled payment program that allows members access to services and therapies that aren’t normally covered by traditional medical insurance. Patients are able to try different therapies, to find what works for them and supports their needs and goals in finding wellness.

“This program is a case study for health care reform. It takes an innovative approach to patient care and well-being, while lowering a reliance on emergency departments and reducing health care costs,” said Dr. Tom Weigel, Chief Medical Officer at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont.

Designed to celebrate providers and programs which push the boundaries of health care’s status quo, the Provider Innovation Award is given annually and launched in 2021.