Public Health Law and Policy Perspectives

Veterans and Telemental Health

The VA has increasingly embraced telehealth as a critical tool to improve veterans’ access to care and its extensive Telemental Health Program is considered one of the largest telemental health networks in the world. It’s important to note that the VA does not face some of the regulatory challenges that are barriers to other telehealth programs. 

Natural Experiments to Address Prescription Drug Misuse

With almost 19,000 U.S. deaths associated with opioid pain relievers in 2014, prescription drug misuse and illicit use are one of today’s most pressing public health challenges. Laws intended to reduce prescription opioid misuse, addiction, and overdose are rapidly proliferating, and have given rise to a series of natural experiments in the United States. 

End-of-Life Issues: A Public Health Challenge 

The aging of baby boomers has brought about a renewed focus on end-of-life issues, including advance care directives, palliative care, hospice, and aid in dying (AID). End-of-life decisions are ultimately personal. Most options are supported by both state and federal laws, but AID remains an option that’s legal in only a few states. 

New Resources

Issue Brief: Addressing Social Determinants of Health through Accountable Health Communities

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced a funding opportunity for a new payment and service delivery model designed to address some of the social determinants of health: The Accountable Health Communities (AHC) Model. This issue brief provides detail on the components of the AHC Model and how organizations can submit proposals for funding to support their work on these components.

Upcoming Webinars

Public Health Data in the Courts: Gobeille v. Liberty Mutual and its Implications

States have recognized all-payer claims databases (APCDs) as useful tools for collecting public health data. With the recent Supreme Court decision in Gobeille v. Liberty Mutual, states with mandatory APCDs are facing changes to their reporting statutes. This webinar will explore the legal issues surrounding Gobeille v. Liberty Mutual, the public health and healthcare considerations of all-payer claims databases, and alternative approaches states can take to continue to use these databases effectively. The webinar takes place on Thursday, November 17 from 1pm – 2:30pm ET.

Ask the Experts

Ebola Virus: Legal Authority to Quarantine Animals  

In 2014, an outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in West Africa was traced to a young boy in Guinea who had contact with an infected bat.  The virus traveled overseas and subsequent cases in the United States spurred many health agencies to review laws regarding quarantine and emergency legal preparedness. A health educator from Michigan recently contacted the Network for information about legal authority to quarantine animals in the event of an outbreak of EVD. The Network reviewed relevant state and local laws regarding animal quarantine, as well as guidance from the American Veterinary Medical Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

New Online Tool

Test the New Online Legal Technical Assistance Knowledge Base

We are excited to announce the beta version of our online new tool, the Legal Technical Assistance Knowledge Base, which allows users to access a limited number of records from our extensive database of legal technical assistance. We are inviting Network Joiners to take a few minutes to explore the Knowledge Base and give us your feedback through an online survey (you’ll be entered into a prize drawing for completing the survey). Search and get helpful legal insights on topics such as overdose prevention, emergency legal preparedness, public health data sharing and more. Your input will help us improve and expand on this new public health law tool!

Worth Sharing

Marijuana and Soda Taxes Win Big, but Cigarette Taxes Fail in Several State Votes

Voters in several states approved and rejected a number of public health-related ballot measures in Tuesday’s election. This article lists results for ballots on recreational and medical marijuana, cigarette taxes, soda taxes, assisted suicide and other issues.

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