Thursday, October 7, 2021
The Network recently submitted a letter with recommendations for how the federal government can address current threats to public health officials and state legislative actions to limit public health authority for a hearing held by the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis on September 29, 2021, entitled “Upgrading Public Health Infrastructure: The Need to Protect, Rebuild, and Strengthen State and Local Public Health Departments.” Read the letter. View Network resources on public health authority.
Do Not Fear Critical Race Theory (Or Why We Should Embrace Dissent, Diversity, and Discourse to Understand Health and Societal Inequities)
There has been a well-publicized attempt across the nation to stop the teaching of “critical race theory” through state legislation, lawsuits, pressure by parents at school board meetings, and other means. A consequence of this legally imposed silence is that persistent, obvious, and consistent patterns of inequality are portrayed as random and individualized rather than resulting from a social system organized around racial and gender lines. This runs counter to a public health approach which is based on understanding how systems impact whole populations.
The (Largely) Unknown HIPAA Privacy Rule Modification that Speeds Access to Social Services
Often a patient wants a health care provider to share their Protected Health Information (PHI) with a social service organization (SSO) for support that directly or indirectly relates to their health. A provider’s efforts to obtain written authorization to release PHI often delays a patient’s access to SSO support. That delay is compounded when the patient has to physically go to the provider’s office to sign the authorization, a challenge or even an impossibility for some individuals. This process to obtain patient authorization also takes precious clinical time from healthcare providers and their staff. What is often misunderstood is that sharing PHI for care coordination purposes does not require written authorization under HIPAA Privacy Rule.
Strengthening Public Health Authority to Contain and Prevent Communicable Disease
In its pervasive scope, its high rate of asymptomatic spread, and its economic impact, the COVID-19 pandemic has been unprecedented in the United States and the world. Initial analyses have revealed both strengths and areas for improvement in the U.S. public health system’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This fact sheet outlines efforts, both legislative and other, to evaluate and improve public health authority and emergency response in the aftermath of the pandemic.
2021 Public Health Law Conference
Video recordings of the conference general sessions are now available! Watch the opening session examining law and policy tools to address gun violence, opioid overdose, and structural racism; the exceptional keynote by Dr. Deborah Prothrow-Stith on violence prevention; and the inspiring Young Leaders in Health Justice and Equity closing session for the next generation’s perspectives, grounded in their lived experiences with the critical challenges facing their communities. Access the recordings on the conference website.
The Network at the 2021 APHA Annual Meeting & Expo
October 24 - 27, 2021
Visit the Network booth at the 2021 APHA Annual Meeting to learn about and connect with us on our latest resources, including the recently released report, “Proposed Limits on Public Health Authority: Dangerous for Public Health.” Network attorneys presenting at APHA include Southeastern Region Director Dawn Hunter who will be among the presenters at the session: “Voting Is a Path to Better Health–New Tools and Opportunities,” Tuesday, October 26; Network National Director Donna Levin who will present at the session: “Public Health Under Threat: Legislative Limits to Public Health Authority," Monday, October 25; and Senior Staff Attorney Brooke Torton who will present at the session: "Legal Preparedness and Response to COVID-19 and Future Public Health Emergencies," Sunday, October 24.
Your interest in the work of the Network is important. Together, we can advance law as a tool to improve public health. Please forward the Network Report and encourage others to join the Network!
The Network for Public Health Law provides information and technical assistance on issues related to public health. The legal information and assistance provided in this document does not constitute legal advice or legal representation. For legal advice, readers should consult a lawyer in their state.