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Declarations of Public Health Emergency

posted on Fri, Jan 4 2013 3:42 pm by The Network

Recently the Network received a request on the varied implications that declarations of a public health emergency may have on regulations in different states and localities. The requestor asked in specific reference to a difference he observed in the regulations surrounding vaccines in an emergency in different states.

The Network responded by informing the requestor that the effects of an emergency declaration can vary greatly among different states and localities. The types of public health powers and waivers of authority that are authorized by an emergency declaration depend not only on the declaration itself, but also how specific issues are addressed via real-time policies and procedures. For example, some emergency declarations allow for waiver of key laws, but require explicit executive orders to effectuate such waivers.

The Network also referred the requestor to a table available on the Network’s website which describes laws in states that have adopted some portion of the Model State Emergency Health Powers Act (MSEHPA). MSEHPA was developed originally in 2001 to guide state, tribal and local governments considering public health law reforms to improve their emergency preparedness and response efforts. The Network’s table summarizes key differences in legal authorities among states that have passed laws related to MSEHPA since its inception.

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