Stephanie Flackman '20 Health Law Award

3L Wins ABA Health Law Section Law Student Writing Competition

Seton Hall University School of Law student, Stephanie L. Flackman ’20 was selected as the first place winner of the ABA Health Law Section Law Student Writing Competition. Flackman's paper, The Debilitating Disease of Chronic Pain and the Case for Mandated Integration of Evidence-Based Alternatives into Individualized Treatment Plans, will be published in The Health Lawyer. Her paper was selected first among submissions from students at ABA-accredited law schools across the nation.

Flackman saw a need for a call to action. Her paper’s inspiration came from stories of the lack of medical care, both prescription and physical therapy, were affecting individuals living with chronic pain.

“I decided to write the paper in light of the opioid crisis in the United States and the interrelation between opioid use and chronic pain,” explains Flackman. “The paper calls for change in the legal framework surrounding the treatment of chronic pain through the incorporation of a mandated evidence-based alternatives program that provides patients with access to alternative treatment options they deserve.”

Guided by Professor Jennifer Oliva, Flackman was determined to clearly outline the existing gap in current treatment guidelines focusing the paper on legal reform. She recommends “the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) condition state funding for chronic pain, in connection with opioid-related funding, on state medical boards’ implementation of a mandated evidence-based alternative treatment plan in place of opioid therapy (or, where medically necessary, in conjunction with prescription opioids) to effectuate the goals medical guidelines already recommend.” Additionally, an emphasis is placed that “federal law should require insurance companies to cover these evidence-based alternatives eliminating the barriers of denial of coverage and visit limitations.”