You have requested our opinion regarding a request from a Dr. S~, one of your consultative
examination providers, regarding his use in his medical practice of a form he appears
to believe SSA designed to evaluate chronic pain. Specifically, you stated in your
Somehow [Dr. S~] came across the following SSA Publication: "Chronic Pain Evaluation
by Karen R~, a Valid Standardized Assessment Instrument." There really isn't a Form
number. What is on this publication is a SSA Contact [sic] number: 600900229. Apparently
this publication is a compilation of forms which can be used to assess one's experience
of pain. He is wondering if he can copy these assessment forms for his own use and
the use of other doctors in his practice.
Based on information we have received from SSA's Office of Disability (OD), we have
concluded Dr. S~ is mistaken in believing that SSA created the forms he wishes to
use. Rather, the forms appear in a copyrighted publication and may not be copied.
Following is a summary of the information we have discovered from our research.
Because we did not have copies of the forms Dr. S~ wishes to use, we did an Internet
search based on the information provided. We discovered that Karen S. R~, M.D., is
the author of a book entitled Chronic Pain Evaluation: A Valid, Standardized Assessment
Instrument, which was published by Butterworth-Heinemann in 2000. We obtained a copy
of this book at the Denver Public Library and found that it is an outgrowth of the
SSA-sponsored (Contract #600-90-0229) Pain Assessment Instruments Development project,
which was completed in 1994. Dr. R~ was the Principal Investigator. However, Barry
E~ (Executive Program Policy Officer at OD) and Victoria D~ (an analyst in OD's Division
of Medical and Vocational Policy who served as SSA's manager on the project) have
advised that the results of the study did not meet SSA's needs and SSA therefore did
not publish any chronic pain assessment forms.
Rather, it appears that Dr. R~ created the forms and published them in the book cited
above. Notably, the forms in the book are imprinted with type that states: "Copyrighted--Do
Not Duplicate." The book also contains a full-page announcement that physicians may
order a pack of 25 sets of pain assessment instruments for $25.00. We are attaching
a sample of one page of a form and the ordering information.
In sum, SSA cannot authorize Dr. S~ to make copies of and use the forms because they
are covered by copyright. Instead, he must order the forms from the publisher. Furthermore,
in conducting consultative examinations for SSA, Dr. S~ should not use these forms
under the assumption that SSA has sanctioned their use.