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.
Timely, evidence-based prenatal care dramatically improves health outcomes for pregnant women as well as their babies. However, many women in the United States lack access to timely and adequate prenatal care. Lack of access to care is particularly prevalent among women of color as well as younger women, exacerbating existing inequities.
School nurses understand the complexities between physical and mental wellbeing and academic achievement, and can play a critical role in advancing child and adolescent health — including expanding access to care for many children. However, laws across the country do not yet recognize the importance of school nurses, and only one state requires a full-time registered nurse in every school.
As recognized by Healthy People 2020, reading makes a critical contribution to health. One principal way libraries promote health is through supporting literacy in early childhood, and access to books for parents, children, young adults, adults and seniors. However, overdue fines can present barriers to accessing library resources. Communities throughout the country are increasingly implementing policy and programmatic approaches to address these fines.
A federal district court judge in Texas recently struck down the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate as unconstitutional and found that the rest of the Act was not severable and struck it down, too. Here’s our overview of the decision and what’s to come.
In recent years, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which administers the Medicaid program, has encouraged states to use Medicaid-managed care for coverage of non-health services that can impact the social determinants of health. Some states, like North Carolina, have used special waivers available under the program to pilot innovative new programs.
Some of the public health law and policy stories that made headlines recently include statewide initiatives to combat premature births; the midterm election results and Medicaid expansion; childhood trauma as a public health crisis; FDA crackdown on menthol in tobacco; changes to the SNAP program that may worsen food insecurity; concern over a major chickenpox outbreak in North Carolina; and one city’s success in lowering their overdose rate by 50%.
Recently, a federal district court in Connecticut diverged from precedent to rule for an employee whose medical cannabis use resulted in a blatant rescission of a prospective job offer. According to the court in Noffsinger v. SSC Niantic Operating Co., d/b/a Bride Brook Nursing & Rehab. Ctr. (Bride Brook), Connecticut’s legal protections from discrimination for employees lawfully using medical cannabis are not barred by contrary federal legal provisions. The holding differs from prior state court decisions finding that employers generally have no duty to accommodate medical cannabis patients.
Many states allow for license suspension as a punishment for non-payment of fees and fines related to traffic offenses. These suspensions often have significant public health impacts, some of which seem obvious—people need transportation to access medical care and medicines, which of course, has an effect on public health. But a closer look reveals a plethora of other negative consequences that impact public health.
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is highly regarded as the first piece of federal legislation to recognize the criminal nature of domestic violence and sexual assault. The law was set to expire on September 30, 2018 and rather than fully re-authorizing it, Congress only extended the VAWA until December 7, 2018. The future of the legislation is uncertain, even as crime statistics and public health impacts illustrate continued need of its protections.