Promoting Good Pain Management in California

California Health Law News, Vol. XXII, No. 3, Summer 2004

20 Pages Posted: 25 Sep 2008

Date Written: September 24, 2008


In recent years, a tremendous amount of attention has been focused on the need to improve pain management, particularly in the context of treating pain at the end of life. One significant catalyst for this heightened focus on pain management was litigation to legalize the choice for physician-assisted dying - in particular, two cases decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1997, in Glucksberg v. Washington and Quill v. Vacco. The increased attention to improving end-of-life care in general, and pain management in particular, has produced a spate of reports assessing and comparing pain policy among the states. For example, the Pain & Policy Studies Group ("PPSG") recently published its REPORT ON ACHIEVING BALANCE IN STATE PAIN POLICY (2003) (the "Report"), and gave California a grade of "C" for pain policy. As explained below, California deserves a significantly higher grade for its extensive efforts to promote good pain management.

Keywords: pain management, end of life pain, pain care, palliative care, palliative sedation, Quill, Glucksberg, pain policy, California, report on achieving balance in state pain policy, Medical Board of California, elder abuse, Tomlinson, Bergman

JEL Classification: I00, I10, I11, I12, I18, I19, I28, J18, K00, K10, K13, K14, K19, K32, K39

Suggested Citation

Tucker, Kathryn L., Promoting Good Pain Management in California (September 24, 2008). California Health Law News, Vol. XXII, No. 3, Summer 2004. Available at SSRN:

Kathryn L. Tucker (Contact Author)

Compassion & Choices ( email )

PO Box 101810
Denver, CO 80250
United States


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