Network Report


Public Health Law and Policy Perspectives

Medicaid and the “Free Care” Policy: Relief for Schools, Benefits for Kids

Schools can provide a number of health care services for children, including screenings and immunizations. For years schools were not allowed Medicaid reimbursement for these services because of a federal policy known as the free care rule. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) reversed this long standing rule in 2014 ― a move that will improve access to school-based health services for kids who need them the most.

Federal Food Safety Regulation: The Catfish Conundrum

Hundreds of millions of pounds of catfish are sold in the United States each year. In March, the USDA mandatory inspection program for Siluriformes (the order of fish that includes catfish) went into effect. The program has been a focus of intense debate and international attention ever since its mandate in the 2008 Farm Bill. Proponents of the program argue that this move is all about food safety, while opponents believe that economics is the catalyst.


Survey of Newborn Screening DBS Laws

Newborn screening is a vital public health program that detects serious medical conditions that can cause devastating effects. The testing process involves the collection of a few drops of blood from a newborn's heel, and after testing has been completed, some of the residual dried blood samples (DBS) are retained for use in program evaluation, developing new tests, and other applications. This online tool provides a survey of laws related to the retention and use of DBS in each state, and can be used by policymakers and newborn screening programs seeking guidance on policies related to the retention and secondary use of DBS.


Today: Medicaid Managed Care: Practical Guidance for Public Health Departments

Nearly three quarters of Medicaid beneficiaries are enrolled in managed care plans and that proportion continues to grow. This means that in most states, local health departments and other providers serving Medicaid beneficiaries are or will be affected by managed care. This webinar will discuss how local health departments can and do fit in to a Medicaid managed care system, and provide an overview of a forthcoming survey of Medicaid managed care contracts and their coverage of local health department services.

March 18: Zika Preparedness and Response: A Public Health and Legal Perspective

It is critical that health care and public health practitioners and providers, and their legal counsel, begin to consider the role of law and policy in Zika preparedness and response efforts. This webinar will provide an overview of the public health problem posed by Zika, discuss the domestic legal framework for addressing the virus, including a discussion of executive powers for mosquito abatement, and highlight ways to coordinate health care and public health legal preparedness efforts.

Ask the Experts

How Can Standing Orders be used in Drug Overdose Prevention?

Many states have taken action to make naloxone, a medication that reverses the effects of opioid drugs, more available to the public as well as first responders. Twenty-seven states permit naloxone to be dispensed via standing order to make it easier for medical professionals to prescribe naloxone and for laypeople to receive naloxone to use in overdose situations.

Worth Sharing

County Health Rankings & Roadmaps

The annual County Health Rankings measure vital health factors including high school graduation rates, obesity, smoking, unemployment, access to healthy foods, air quality and more. These annual Rankings provide a snapshot of how health is influenced by where we live, learn, work and play, and provide a starting point for communities to move from education to action. The newly released 2016 County Health Rankings provides an easy to use picture comparing the overall health of nearly every county in the nation.

Zika Virus Podcast

In this special episode of the podcast Public Health Behind the Scenes, James Hodge, Director of the Network’s Western Region Office, and Gene Matthews, Director of the Network’s Southeastern Region Office, discuss efforts related to Zika virus planning and response. Take a listen!

Career Opportunity

Public Health Analyst – Healthy People 2020 Law and Health Policy Project

The HHS Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP) based in Rockville, Maryland is seeking to fill a Public Health Analyst position for its Healthy People 2020 (HP2020) Law and Health Policy project. The Public Health Analyst will support national subject matter experts and partners in reviewing the evidence on the effectiveness of public health law in promoting health and provide analysis on how law and policy can advance national Healthy People 2020 goals.

Network People

Colleen Healy

Join us in welcoming Colleen Healy, J.D., to the Network! Colleen is staff attorney at the Network’s Mid-States Region Office at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. As staff attorney, Colleen will provide legal technical assistance and develop resources to address public health issues in the region. Prior to joining the Network, Colleen worked at the Michigan Primary Care Association, where she was involved in state and federal legislative and administrative advocacy on behalf of Michigan’s federally qualified health centers.

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