Updated: Jul 15, 2019
Question 1 – Tell us about yourself and what you do.
My name is Jason Bundy. I am a chronic pain management physician who has practiced at The Center for Pain Control here in Berks County for about ten years. I am a staff physician at both Tower and Penn State Health systems and I am also a member of the Berks County Medical Society. When I am not practicing medicine, I enjoy spending time with my wife, our two children and Clark (our dog) in Leesport, PA where we live.
Question 2 – What motivated you to become a Pain Management Specialist?
In medical school I broke my right ankle and struggled with right ankle pain for months afterwards. Simple things like making it to class or concentrating enough to make it through my second year of medical school reminded me that severe unrelieved pain can be a real game changer. I remain quite grateful to the UNC student health physicians and physical therapists who worked with me during that challenging time. Their simple reassurance and practical advice meant the world to me while I was recovering. During my Anesthesiology residency I reflected on that experience and decided to complete a chronic pain management fellowship so that I could help patients overcome the same challenges that I faced.
Question 3 – In terms of addiction prevention and recovery here in Berks County, what was your greatest accomplishment?
I continue to participate as a member of the BCMS opioid abuse counsel which has given me the opportunity to meet local addiction prevention/recovery leaders and also work on community projects which have been uniquely rewarding. Beyond that, I suppose my greatest accomplishment in the area of addiction prevention and recovery relates more to “one patient at a time” accomplishments. For example, when a patient and I are able to find more effective treatment alternatives relative to simply remaining on opioids, I consider that outcome a huge win for a patient who might have otherwise become overly dependent on prescription pain medications.
Question 4 - In terms of addiction prevention and recovery here in Berks County, what is your greatest hurdle?
Without a doubt the greatest hurdle in treating chronic pain patients who also suffer with a substance use disorder is (drum roll...) medical insurance treatment/coverage guidelines. The 2016 CDC opioid prescribing guideline recommends exploring many non-opioid treatment options that are simply unaffordable for many patients that are struggling with chronic pain and a substance use disorder. For example. we know that over half of chronic pain patients struggle with co-existing anxiety/depression disorders and yet following up for always lower risk and usually much more effective mental health counseling often proves relatively more expensive than just remaining on daily opioids. That is a real shame and has to change in my opinion.
Question 5 - What is the most important thing you would like your community to know about what you do?
Inflexible “one size fits all” chronic pain/addiction treatment guidelines don’t work as well as guideline informed clinical judgment in my experience. This subtle but important distinction is not lost on the many physicians I know and seems particularly true when treating patients that
are struggling with chronic pain and a substance use disorder.