State Legal Authority to Investigate the Spread of Communicable Disease

GuidanceEmergency Legal Preparedness and ResponseEmergency ResponseHealth Data Sharing and Privacy

May 5, 2020
by Colleen Healy Boufides

Many states grant broad legal authority to local health departments to investigate the causes and spread of communicable diseases. These powers are often contained in the state’s public health code and communicable disease rules. This guidance provide information on which provisions of state law a local health department can cite to compel sharing of information needed for a communicable disease investigation.

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Summary of Authority and Actions Regarding Public Health Emergencies: Indiana Public Health Code

Issue BriefEmergency Legal Preparedness and ResponseEmergency ResponseIndiana

May 1, 2020

Indiana’s Public Health Code and Communicable Disease Rules provide an array of actions that state and local health officers can use to respond to a public health emergency. This document is intended to assist health officers and their attorneys by identifying potential actions and linking to the applicable law. Though the details of this document apply only in Indiana, the legal provisions likely have similar counterparts in all other states. Lawyers in other states may have developed, or could develop, comparable summaries for their states.

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