In February, the Network’s Eastern Region Office hosted a day-long event with leaders, policymakers and practitioners to examine key challenges facing the public health community. Issues discussed included immigrant health; the impact of preemption on public health; same sex domestic violence protections; marijuana advertising regulations; and Congressional public health priorities.
Public health law and policy stories that made headlines recently include proposed legislation in Hawaii to ban cigarettes; the Trump administration’s campaign to end HIV; rising maternal mortality rates; legislation in Utah that reduces a Medicaid expansion previously approved by voters; research on the effectiveness of soda taxes; and how some parents are circumventing vaccine laws.
In this Q & A, Heather McCabe, JD, MSW, Associate Professor, Indiana University School of Social Work and Colleen Healy Boufides, J.D., Senior Attorney, Network for Public Health Law Mid-States Region Office comment on some of the key issues addressed in their legal brief, “Legal Considerations for Community Health Workers and their Employers.”
With the cost of care in the United States skyrocketing and millions of individuals struggling to access care at all, policymakers must consider new ways to get patients in front of providers at a lower cost. One way in which states have taken action is through scope of practice expansions for health professionals.
The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) was last modified in 2012 by the Nutrition Standards in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs, which established nutrition standards for school meals consistent with the most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The USDA has announced that it will soon implement less stringent standards for school lunch nutrition regarding the requirements for whole grains, sodium, and milk.
Gubernatorial executive orders and directives can serve as powerful tools for furthering public health goals. In addition to directing public health agency activities, establishing policies and priorities, and responding to emergencies, executive orders or directives can also play a role in shaping agency culture to promote effective public health decision-making.
Recent reports from news media assert the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is working on plans to radically change the way that state Medicaid programs are funded – without the requisite changes in the law. If CMS goes ahead with this plan, it would give states permission to strictly limit spending on their Medicaid programs, which has the potential to negatively impact public health in significant ways.
Public health law and policy stories that made headlines recently examined the disproportionally high maternity mortality rates for African American women, the lack of access to mental health care for children, New York’s worst measles outbreak in decades, states’ efforts to address the opioid crisis, Philadelphia’s new plan to curb gun violence, and a Missouri law that connects animal abuse and domestic violence.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed a regulation that could undermine the agency’s mission to protect human and environmental health. This regulation could preclude the EPA from consulting pertinent studies, decreasing the quality of the data on which it bases its regulatory decisions.
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is experiencing its 10th outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD). As of January 2, 2019, 608 individuals have been infected, 368 of whom have died. Already, the outbreak is the “second-deadliest and second-largest in history.” Federal, state, tribal, and local governments should stay well informed of outbreak developments and should review their plans and procedures for response to the potential spread of EVD to the U.S.