You're currently on:

Research & Grants
Mayday Pain Project

Project on Legal Constraints on Access to Effective Pain Relief A Project of the American Society of Law, Medicine & Ethics Funded by The Mayday Fund

Principal Investigators

  • Sandra H. Johnson, Professor of Law, Center for Health Law Studies, Saint Louis University Schools of Law, Medicine and Public Health Medicine
  • Benjamin Moulton, American Society of Law, Medicine & Ethics, Boston, MA

The Project on Legal Constraints on Access to Effective Pain Relief has developed the materials in this report, including the Pain Relief Act and Commentary, with the help and advice of consultants to the project, ASLME's board members and a National Advisory Committee.

Other products of this Project include an annotated bibliography on Legal and Regulatory Issues in Pain Relief; an annotated list of relevant judicial opinions; and an annotated bibliography on Pain, Culture and Consent, as well as the National Meeting on Legal, Ethical and Institutional Issues in Pain Relief.

The Winter 1996 issue of the Journal of Law Medicine & Ethics presents articles and commentary focused on legal and institutional issues in pain relief. The project provides for extensive outreach through the Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics and the National Meeting to policymakers involved in the issue.

The project gratefully acknowledges the support of the Mayday Fund for the entire project.

Mayday Scholars Program

The American Society of Law, Medicine & Ethics continues its research program in the area of legal, regulatory, and financing issues in pain relief with funding from the Mayday Fund of New York City. This program expands upon the Society's earlier efforts on Legal Constraints on Access to Effective Pain Relief, originally conducted in 1995-1997 and funded by the Mayday Fund and The Emily Davie and Joseph S. Kornfeld Foundation and the Mayday Scholars Program funded by the Mayday Fund from 1997-1998. The program was continued in 1999-2000, and again from 2001-2002.

The earlier projects accomplished foundational research in legal issues relating to pain relief, including issues related to professional disciplinary actions, analyses for payment policies for pain management by Blue Cross/Blue Shield Associations and Medicare and Medicaid programs, an examination of criminal investigations and prosecutions of physicians and nurses for pain treatment at the end of life, research on whether undertreatment of pain should be grounds for disciplinary action by state medical boards, pain management in the era of managed care, expanding the role of pharmacists in pain management, gender bias in the treatment of pain, and provider liability for failure to provide effective pain treatment. The Winter 1996 and 1998 and Spring 2001 issues of the Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics are special issues devoted to the Mayday Scholars' research.

The current funded project (and those we hope to continue with future grants) provide funds to expand scholarship and expertise in legal, regulatory, and financing policies that affect access to effective pain relief. The goal of the project is to broaden and deepen both the published scholarship specifically addressing these aspects of the problem of undertreated pain and to increase the number of law, economics, and public policy scholars familiar with the specific context of pain relief in all types of health care delivery systems. Expanding the number of individuals with substantial research activity in the area will allow us to expand significantly opportunities for education, training, consultation and media relations in this rather specialized area.

Mayday Scholars undertake their own research projects. The Society provides peer reviewers for the written product of the Scholars' projects. The Scholars present their work at a Scholars' Workshop, which is supported by the project.

The Society has identified the following topics as priorities; but "Mayday Scholars" are encouraged to design their own projects as well:

  • Access to Pain Relief and Medicaid Fraud and Abuse
  • Worker's Compensation and Chronic Pain
  • Experience of Boards of Nursing in Monitoring Prescribing Practices of Advanced Practice Nurses
  • Managed Care and Pain Relief (including policies and payment issues relating to referrals, discharge, choice of treatment)
  • Treatment of pain in prisons
  • Improving the Investigation Process of Professional Disciplinary Agencies for Prescribing Practices Related to Pain Management
  • Pharmaceutical Benefits Management and the Assessment of Pain and Discomfort Specific Institutional and Regulatory Contexts for Pain Management (e.g., nursing facilities, home care)

Watch for announcements for the next mayday Scholars Program

For further information, please contact
Benjamin Moulton, Executive Director
American Society of Law, Medicine & Ethics
765 Commonwealth Avenue, Suite 1634
Boston, MA 02215
phone: 617-262-4990
fax: 617-437-7596

or Sandra Johnson, Office of the Provost
Saint Louis University
221 N. Grand, DuBourg 106
St. Louis, MO 63108
phone: 314-977-3088
fax: 314-977-3079

Previous Page

Pictured from left to right:
Prof. Diane Hoffman
Prof. Ann Alpers
Prof. Barry Furrow
Prof. David Brushwood
Prof. Vence Bonham