The PPSG is pleased to announce the release of Achieving Balance in State Pain Policy: A Progress Report Card (CY 2012). This report 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.
Also released is the report’s companion document, Achieving Balance in State and Federal Pain Policies: A Guide to Evaluation (CY 2012). 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, our policy evaluation included laws and regulatory policies governing nursing practice.