Public Health Law Blog

Spotlight on Heroin Epidemic Leaves Many Victims in the Dark

posted on Thu, Apr 17 2014 12:00 am by Cristina Meneses

In February, the New York Times reported on a young woman’s tragic drug overdose in Heroin’s Small-Town Toll, and a Mother’s Grief. The article’s focus on how the faces of heroin overdose “are getting younger and whiter” speaks directly to my concern: do we care now because the color of those dying from overdose is changing? Drug addiction and related deaths are needless and heartbreaking in any community, yet these issues have faced communities of color for decades, but one has to wonder if any of those deaths received as much front page coverage as we’ve seen in the past few months.

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HIPAA Privacy Questions Answered

posted on Thu, Apr 10 2014 3:18 pm by The Network National Coordinating Center

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) protects the privacy of individually identifiable health information and sets national standards to ensure the security of electronic health data. For public health agencies and health care providers, ensuring compliance with HIPAA rules can be daunting. In this Q&A, Network Attorney Jennifer Bernstein addresses a number of grey areas in HIPAA privacy.

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The ABCs of Restaurant Inspections: Online Disclosure and Grading Systems

posted on Fri, Apr 4 2014 2:02 pm by Andy Baker-White

Inspecting restaurants to ensure food safety is a well-known practice and responsibility of public health agencies. Many health departments and local governments have implemented grading systems for restaurant inspections, and have made these grades available to the public -- but do the grading systems help increase food safety?

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Coverage for Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services: Improved Equity, But Gaps Remain

posted on Wed, Apr 2 2014 11:58 am by Elizabeth Edwards

Historically, services for mental health and substance use disorder have not been covered by most insurance plans. Two significant pieces of legislation have worked to reduce this inequity.

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Creating Accountable Communities for Health

posted on Thu, Mar 20 2014 9:41 am by Julie Ralston Aoki and Jamie Harvie

A number of provisions in Affordable Care Act (ACA) promote investments in public health and transformative changes to the health insurance system. The law also prescribes modifications to the health care delivery system that have the potential to make significant and lasting impact on how our country supports new strategies to improve population health outcomes.

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E-Cigarettes and County Jails — Toxic Relationship?

posted on Wed, Mar 19 2014 4:45 pm by Gregory Measer and Kim Weidenaar

Smoking is banned in federal prisons and the majority of state-run facilities have enacted similar restrictions due to health and safety concerns, but some county jails are turning to e-cigarettes to supplement limited resources and purportedly calm inmates.

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Topics in Public Health Law — Q&A with James G. Hodge, Jr.

posted on Wed, Mar 19 2014 1:18 pm by The Network for Public Health Law

In this Q&A, James G. Hodge, Jr., J.D., LL.M., Director of the Network’s Western Region Office and Planning Committee Chair for the 2014 Public Health Law Conference, discusses the role of law in prevention.

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The Year in Gun Violence Prevention and the Law

posted on Tue, Mar 4 2014 11:40 am by Jon S. Vernick

Gun violence is a public health problem that claims more than 30,000 lives and causes 70,000 to 80,000 serious non-fatal injuries in the United States each year. How did our nation do in meeting the challenge of gun violence through legal approaches in 2013? It’s a mixed report card.  

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Driverless Cars: Public Health Law Implications

posted on Tue, Mar 4 2014 10:10 am by Song Choi Betzler

Technological advances have made driverless cars seem like a possibility in the not so distant future. Several states already have laws that specifically allow and regulate autonomous vehicles. How will the technology change vehicle and traffic safety laws? And how will the cars impact efforts to increase healthier modes of transportation like walking, biking and public transportation?

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Community Health Needs Assessments Q&A

posted on Thu, Feb 20 2014 9:30 am by The Network for Public Health Law

In this Q&A, Mary Crossley, Professor of Law and former Dean at the University of Pittsburgh, School of Law helps us understand the Affordable Care Act’s community health needs assessment (CHNA) requirement and how it might foster collaboration between local health departments and hospitals.

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