Migraine and Headache Pain - Do Hospitals Have To Treat It?

Teri Robert @trobert Health Guide
  • It's a recurring question -- "If I go to the ER for a Migraine or headache, don't they have to treat me?"

    There's no simple answer. Hospitals need to be accredited by JCAHO for many reasons, as described below. JCAHO standards aren't laws, but not meeting the standards can impact a hospital's accreditation.

    JCAHO has "standards" which must be met for accreditation. Here's an excerpt:

    "Patients have the right to appropriate assessment and management of pain."

    Intent of RI.1.2.9

    "Pain can be a common part of the patient experience; unrelieved pain has adverse physical and psychological effects. The patient's right to pain management is respected and supported. The health care organization plans, supports, and coordinates activities and resources to assure the pain of all patients is recognized and addressed appropriately..."

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    A two-year collaboration between the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) and the University of Wisconsin - Madison Medical School produced standards for pain management that went into effect January 1, 2001, which are excerpted above. What IS JCAHO? JCAHO is the predominant health care standards-setting and accrediting organization in the U.S. Their mission is to...

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Published On: October 06, 2008