A Review of Evidence-Based Biopsychosocial Laws Governing the Treatment of Pain and Injury

The impact of scientific findings on medical, psychological, and legal concepts has led to the adoption of laws and regulations that do not easily fit into the established legal categories of medical law or mental health law. Instead, this convergence of forces has resulted in laws and regulations mandating biopsychosocial treatment guidelines, where both medical and psychological cares are integrated within the framework of a single paradigm. Laws and regulations of this type have been adopted by a number of US states and Canadian provinces, and could be considered to represent a new category, for which we offer the term “biopsychosocial law.” Biopsychosocial laws currently pertain to medical treatment guidelines for workers' compensation, a medical treatment system noted for high costs, high levels of litigation, and psychological involvement. There are a number of examples of biopsychosocial laws, but the most noteworthy are based on guidelines developed by the Colorado Division of Workers' Compensation, the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, the Work Loss Data Institute, and The Reed Group. These guidelines differ significantly with regard to features, conditions covered, and strength of evidence basis. However, all of these guideline systems were developed with the intent of providing good care while controlling costs, are evidence based, integrate the practice of medicine and psychology, and are legally mandated in certain jurisdictions. Taken together, these guidelines represent a growing convergence of scientific evidence, professional society positions, payor policies, and legal regulations. These forces are propelling a broad societal shift away from Cartesian assumptions that the body and mind are separate, and toward a biopsychosocial paradigm for the treatment of injury and illness.

Source: http://www.springerlink.com/content/7t231380v0w33443/

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