State Pain Policy

To help ensure policymakers and others formally tasked with the responsibility of making public policy decisions are well informed about the their decisions have on people who live with pain and the providers who care for them, PAINS has developed an inaugural Policy Brief (see Tools below) intended to provide balanced overview of the topic. Future issues will more singularly cover in greater detail some of the more complex policy conundrums.

Also check out the stellar resources below, provided by the University of Wisconsin Pain & Policy Studies Group (PPSG), State Pain Policy Advocacy Network (SPPAN), American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) and LiveSTRONG Foundation.


Achieving Balance in State Pain Policy: A Progress Report Card (CY 2013). This report by PPSG contains a grade for each state and the District of Columbia, which represents the extent that state policies can support pain management and patient care. PPSG researchers evaluated the content of state laws and regulatory policies to determine the presence of language that could enhance or impede pain management.

Achieving Balance in State and Federal Pain Policies: A Guide to Evaluation (CY 2013). In this companion document, the PPSG policy evaluation method and criteria are explained, as is the governing medico-legal principle of Balance, which signifies that efforts to prevent drug diversion and abuse should not interfere with medical practice and patient care. A pain policy profile is presented for each state, describing the laws and regulatory policies identified as having the potential either to encourage or interfere in pain management, including the prescribing of pain medicine. It also contains a primer on regulatory systems and pain management, a discussion of other factors that should be considered when addressing patient pain care, as well as ideas about actions that state legislatures and agencies can take to improve pain. Finally, for the first time, PPSG’s policy evaluation included laws and regulatory policies governing nursing practice.

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