Network Report
Thursday, April 11, 2019

New York City's Public Health Emergency Order on Mandatory Measles Vaccinations - FAQs

This week, New York City declared a public health emergency in response to a measles outbreak which has infected hundreds of residents, mostly children. The emergency declaration includes an order for mandatory MMR vaccinations affecting residents in select areas of Williamsburg and Brooklyn where most of the existing infections have arisen. Some see the order as an unusual exercise of public health authority. Our FAQs breaks down the key components of the mandate and the legal requirements.

 

Law and Policy Perspectives:

Gaps in Federal and State Laws Leave Private Well Users Vulnerable to Drinking Water Contamination

There are distinct differences in how U.S. laws do (or don’t) protect individuals from drinking water contamination. While a landmark federal law, the Safe Drinking Water Act, generally protects individuals who use a public water supply from exposure to unsafe levels of regulated contaminants, there is no similar protection for the approximately 45 million U.S. residents who rely on private wells for water. This gap in regulatory oversight increasingly burdens rural households, where the risk of exposure to nitrate contaminates is highest.

 
Privacy Officers and Data Sharing: A Q&A with Network Attorney Sallie Milam

Building healthy communities requires access to relevant data from multiple sectors, including public health, health care, schools, human services, housing and law enforcement. Because they can be complex to navigate, federal and state laws governing data collection, use, and sharing can act as barriers to data use. With specialized knowledge in the use of data, privacy officers can help reduce this complexity, making data more accessible to the agencies they serve.

Resource:

Policy Frameworks Supporting School-Based Dental Sealant Programs and Their Application in Minnesota

Despite strong evidence of the effectiveness of school-based dental sealant programs, most states are not taking full advantage of this significant opportunity to improve children’s health. This issue brief identifies innovative laws and policies for more widespread consideration, adoption and implementation of these programs at the state level and examines the current state of the law in Minnesota.

Webinar:

Immigrant Health: The Role and Impact of Medicaid, HIPAA, and the Public Charge Doctrine

April 25, 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. EST

The high cost of health care and the increasing decline in health insurance coverage are a concern for all people living in America. But for immigrants, who have extremely low rates of insurance coverage compared to citizens, the situation is even more precarious. This webinar examines a few of the laws that may interfere with immigrants’ access to care.

Legal Technical Assistance Highlight:

Improving Access to Oral Health Services

In addition to exploring policy frameworks in support of school-based sealants, the Network has explored additional policy options for increasing access to oral health care, including expansion of the oral health workforce through changes in scope of practice laws. Network law and policy experts are available to provide free technical assistance to state and local departments of health and other organizations interested in exploring legal mechanisms aimed at improving access to needed oral health services.

Announcements:

Explore a Legal Bibliography of 100+ Resources to Support Data Sharing Partnerships for Health

Sharing data across sectors helps decision-makers better understand and address community health issues, but there are many laws to consider pertaining to the use, storage, and disclosure of data. To help lawyers and community data practitioners overcome legal challenges to data sharing, the Network and Data Across Sectors for Health have developed an online collection of papers, toolkits, and other materials focused on privacy, consent, and policy documentation, hosted at Community Commons. Users can search by sector, law, or type of resource, and each resource is rated based on its value to addressing barriers and the depth of its legal and data discussion.

Worth Sharing:

Supervised Injection Facilities: Legal and Policy Reforms

In this article, published in JAMA, James G. Hodge Jr., Director of the Network’s Western Region Office and co-authors, Lawrence Gostin and Chelsea Gulinson, highlight the law and policy barriers to the use of supervised injection facilities, despite significant evidence of their effectiveness in reducing drug-related mortality, morbidity, and needle-borne infections.

Thank You!

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.