Network Report


The future of key provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Medicaid expansion were both important issues in campaigns throughout the country in November. Women’s access to reproductive health services was also in question and candidates in some races voiced support for efforts to exclude Planned Parenthood from receiving Medicaid reimbursements. Join us for a discussion of the midterm election results and their potential impact on these important public health issues.


Law and Policy Perspectives:

Medicaid Managed Care and Social Determinants of Health

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.


Federal Court Recognizes State Employment Protections for Medical Cannabis Patients

In previous cases, courts have ruled against medical cannabis patients who claimed employment discrimination, and even held that employers could terminate cannabis patients for off-work use. Recently, a federal district court in Connecticut broke with previous cases by ruling on behalf of an employee who claimed that a job offer they received was later rescinded because of their medical cannabis use.  


Public Health Law News Round-Up November 2018

Some of the public health law and policy stories that made headlines in November include states' initiatives to combat premature births; Medicaid expansion in key states; childhood trauma as a public health crisis; FDA crackdown on menthol in tobacco; changes to the SNAP program and food insecurity; a major chickenpox outbreak in North Carolina; and one city’s success in lowering their overdose rate by 50 percent.  



Fact Sheet: State Laws and Policies Affecting Broadband Access

Broadband, which generally refers to high-speed internet access that is always on and faster than dial-up access, is being recognized as an important social determinant of health. Despite progress in expanding connectivity, as of 2017, approximately 31 million people in the United States still lacked fixed broadband access. States are increasingly turning to legal and policy approaches to support the expansion of broadband in underserved areas. This fact sheet provides an overview of broadband access across eight states: ID, IA, MN, MT, ND, SD, WI, WY.


Public Health Lawyer Directory

This online directory helps those in the public health community connect with lawyers who can provide legal technical assistance and other services. Users can search on a health topic and get a list of legal experts who can help them with legal or policy questions. The Directory contains attorneys from the Network, the CDC Public Health Law Program, the Public Health Law Center, Public Health Law Research, ChangeLab Solutions, ASTHO and NACCHO, as well as a number of city and state health departments.   



Key Public Health Initiatives: A Year in Review

December 13, 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. EST

Among the most pressing public health issues of 2018, access to healthcare, electronic nicotine delivery systems, injury prevention, and food insecurity saw significant legislation and policy impacts. In this webinar, subject matter experts will recap how four important public health initiatives—expansion of scope of practice; regulation of electronic nicotine delivery systems; traumatic brain injury prevention; and food insecurity and SNAP—were impacted in 2018.


Legal Technical Assistance Highlight:

Mandatory Reporting of Attempted Suicides

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. In 2016 alone there were close to 45,000 deaths from suicide, roughly one death every 12 minutes. In an effort to better measure the full impact of this significant public health issue, many jurisdictions require mandatory reporting of both suicides and attempted suicides. A health officer whose state was considering mandatory reporting of attempted suicides recently contacted the Network for assistance in finding examples of other states or jurisdictions where such mandatory reporting is required.

Worth Sharing:

Climate Change, Public Health, and the Law

Network attorneys Jill Krueger and Colleen Healy Boufides co-authored a chapter in the recently published book, Climate Change, Public Health, and the Law. The chapter, “The Public Health Sector’s Challenges and Responses” provides an overview of the significant public health challenges associated with climate change and discusses conceptual frameworks for developing and spreading effective public health legal interventions.

Call for Papers: Public Health Reports

Public Health Reports (PHR), a peer-reviewed journal of public health research and practice and the official journal of the Office of the Surgeon General and US Public Health Service, is inviting submissions for a supplement on policy approaches to reduce the morbidity, mortality, and incidence of HIV, viral hepatitis, sexually transmitted diseases, and tuberculosis in the United States. The deadline for submitting an abstract for review is January 4, 2019.

Call for Abstracts: National Conference on Tobacco or Health

The 2019 National Conference on Tobacco or Health will be held August 27-29, 2019 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Practitioners working in the field of tobacco control are invited to submit their work to be considered for inclusion at the conference. Abstracts are sought under 10 Program Areas in multiple session formats. The deadline to submit is Wednesday, December 12, 2018.

Webinar: Using Law and Policy as Tools to Support Healthy Aging in Healthy Communities

Join the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion on Tuesday, December 11 at 1:00 p.m. ET to learn about using laws and policies as tools to create communities that are supportive and connected environments for older adults. Presenters will discuss policies and services that can help older adults thrive in their homes and communities, including strategies to support and encourage healthy homes and aging in place. Panelists will also talk about how disability laws and protections, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (which applies to a large percentage of older adults), can support older adults’ participation in community life. Community examples will demonstrate innovative efforts that help older adults live independently as well as create healthy living environments for all.

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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.