A New Risk Emerges: Provider Accountability for Inadequate Treatment of Pain
Annals of Long-Term Care, Vol. 9, No. 4, April 2001
5 Pages Posted: 25 Sep 2008
Date Written: September 25, 2008
Patients in the United States are routinely undertreated for pain. This problem has been widely recognized and documented in medical literature. In a seminal medical study of end-of-life care, researchers found that 50% of all patients who died during hospitalization "experienced moderate or severe pain at least half of the time during their last 3 days of life." Elderly patients are particularly vulnerable to insufficient pain treatment. A recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that up o 40% of cancer patients in nursing homes are not appropriately treated for pain. In addition, 26% of those experiencing pain did not receive any pain medication, and 16% were given over-the-counter pain relievers like aspirin or acetaminophen for their pain. At the same time, it is well-established that perhaps only 10% of dying patients have conditions in which alleviation of pain is truly difficult or impossible.
Keywords: pain management, failure to treat pain, provider accountability, palliative care, end of life care, California Medical Board, Intractable Pain Treatment Acts, ITPA, Tomlinson, Bergman
JEL Classification: I00, I10, I11, I12, I18, I19, I28, J18, K00, K10, K13, K14, K19, K32, K39
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation