Prepared in conjunction with a forthcoming article to be published by Anesthesiology Clinics of North America, this state-by-state research illustrates that policies related to pain management and opioid prescribing are inconsistent, both within and across states. This inconsistency creates significant challenges for healthcare providers and patients in understanding their options for care, as well as in understanding their rights and responsibilities related to that care.
To assist in preparing the manuscript for publication, Katie Duensing (Academy staff) and Dr. Aaron Gilson (University of Wisconsin Pain and Policy Studies Group) conducted a thorough review of all state statutes, regulations, and guidelines related to the practice of pain management. To be eligible for inclusion, policies had to either (1) have the force and effect of law at the time of analysis (statutes and regulations), or (2) be the currently-adopted guideline or policy statement of a State Medical Board or other similar agency responsible for licensing and disciplining physicians. You can see the spreadsheet here.
Policies affecting other clinicians were excluded for the purposes of this review, as were practice guidelines developed by other state or federal agencies, or by professional societies. Key provisions of each policy were identified and extracted into the spreadsheet.
NOTE: We wish to express our gratitude to Heather Gray, JD, who maintains a larger database of pain management policies for the National Alliance of Model State Drug Laws. Ms. Gray graciously provided us with a copy of her listing of policies, enabling us to complete the review more quickly. Her assistance is greatly appreciated.