CFP: The Concept of "Medical Necessity"

Submission deadline: October 1, 2022

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Call for Papers: Clinical Ethics Special Issue on Medical Necessity (Deadline for Submissions: 1 October 2022) Guest Editors: Brian D. Earp and Samantha Godwin Clinical Ethics invites contributions for a special issue on “medical necessity”. The special issue will be published in June 2023. Deadline for submissions: 1 October 2022. Terms such as “medical necessity” and “medically necessary” are often part of clinical explanations in many contexts, ranging from justifications for a physician’s actions to the reasons provided by insurance companies and healthcare providers for granting or withholding certain treatments. The terms may also ground explanations of the medical omissions that constitute malpractice or draw limits around acceptable patient choice. A concept that performs so much normative work requires careful philosophical consideration. But we often see the term “medical necessity” employed as if it were self-evident, value neutral, or the preserve of professional judgment, bypassing the sorts of inquiry needed to justify the application of the concept in healthcare contexts. Contributions to this special issue may seek to address, but are not limited to, the following questions: · What is “Medical Necessity”?(e.g., What is the normative and practical scope of the concept? Is it a coherent concept? What is the medical in medical necessity? What is the necessity in medical necessity? Who decides what is medically necessary and why? What is the genealogy or history of the concept of medical necessity?) · What does the concept of, and appeals to, “Medical Necessity” do? (e.g., What is the significance of labellinga procedure or treatment as “medically necessary”? What is its function? How do appeals to medical necessity affect the patient-doctor relationship? How do appeals to medical necessity shape conceptions of, or attitudes toward the body, health, wellbeing, or certain socio-cultural or ethnic groups?) · What should “Medical Necessity” mean, and what should it entail? (e.g., Do we need a concept of medical necessity? Should alternative concepts serve some or all of the niche roles that medical necessity currently performs? What if anything should constitute medical necessity? Under what conditions should a treatment be regarded as medically necessary? What are the implications of a revised approach to medical necessity for patients’ rights, priority-setting in clinical contexts, and the obligations of physicians, insurance companies, and healthcare providers?) Submissions should be approximately 3000-4500 words (plus references and up to five relevant tables or images), though the editors are happy to consider manuscripts outside of this limit. Submissions should be prepared for blind review in accordance with the journal’s submission guidelines. Please submit manuscripts via the Clinical Ethics submission site ( by 1 October 2022, making sure to include a separate cover page indicating that the submission is for the Special Issue, with details of author name(s), affiliation(s), ORCID(s) and contact information. Submissions will be peer reviewed, and authors will be informed about the outcome by 1 January 2023. For questions concerning the special issue, please contact Brian D. Earp ([email protected]) or Samantha Godwin ([email protected]). For general queries about Clinical Ethics, please contact Jonathan Lewis ([email protected]).

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