Network Report

11/25/14

Current Issues in Public Health Law

States’ Response to Ebola Can Undermine Public Health Authority

States have the legal authority to isolate or quarantine those exposed or already ill with a dangerous disease like Ebola. The U.S. Constitution, however, requires that the use of that power to protect the general population must be balanced against the individual’s rights to autonomy and liberty. Restrictions on liberty in the name of public health that are not based on science will undermine the credibility and ability of public health authority.

More on public health authority and Ebola response.

Protecting Victims of Domestic Violence: Court Watch Programs Q&A

Many victims of domestic violence can encounter additional challenges once in the court system. The fear of facing their abuser, as well as the biases and personal opinions of courtroom staff, add to the difficulty of their situation. Court watch programs can help ensure that the judicial process is fair and consistent, and prioritize the victim’s safety.

More on court watch programs and victims of domestic violence.

New Resources: Dental Auxiliary Scope of Practice Laws

Limited access to oral health services remains a barrier for many communities across America. While many strategies may be employed to improve oral health, states may want to consider whether legal barriers unnecessarily hamper licensed dentists and allied dental providers from delivering more services to more patients. The Network’s Dental Auxiliary Scope of Practice Fact Sheets provide data on oral health and describe the laws governing the respective services provided by members of the dental workforce in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

View Dental Auxiliary Scope of Practice Face Sheets.

Upcoming Webinar: The Ebola Crisis and Global Health Law

Lawrence O. Gostin, Professor of Global Health Law and Faculty Director of the O’Neill Institute for National & Global Health Law at Georgetown University, has led major law reform initiatives in the U.S., including the drafting of the Model Emergency Health Powers Act (MEHPA) to combat bioterrorism and the “Turning Point” Model State Public Health Act. He is also leading a drafting team on developing a Model Public Health Law for the World Health Organization. In this webinar, Professor Gostin will discuss international and U.S. response to the Ebola crisis, and examine the gaps and challenges currently existing in a global preparedness and response system. Webinar takes place on December 11 at 3 p.m.  ET.

Learn more and register for webinar.

Ask the Experts

Lock Boxes for Take-Home Methadone

The Network recently received an inquiry about regulations on the dispensing of methadone by licensed methadone treatment centers. The requestor had been informed patients receiving take-home methadone from these centers are required in some circumstances to place the methadone in a locked box, even though patients receiving the same amount of methadone from a primary care clinic for pain treatment do not.

More on federal and state regulation of take-home methadone.

Public Health Law Research

Under short-term emergency commitment, psychiatric facilities may accept patients for a predetermined amount of time without their consent, or a court order, if someone is considered a danger to themselves or others while suffering from a mental illness, when they are gravely disabled or when they are unable to meet their basic needs. Every state has laws regulating short-term emergency commitment, which vary on how a person may be committed, the duration of the commitment, and the rights that must be provided to a committed person.

View Short-Term Emergency Commitment Laws Map.

Network Employment Opportunity

The Network is seeking an experienced operations and organizational development manager for the position of Deputy Director at our National Coordinating Center, located in St. Paul, Minnesota. The Deputy Director will be responsible for identifying goals, processes, and procedures, and coordinating logistics and deliverables ensuring alignment with the mission and vision of the operations of the Network.

View job details and application instructions.

BUILD Health Challenge Grants

The BUILD Health Challenge is a national award program designed to support community collaborations that are working to give everyone a fair chance to be healthy. Up to $7.5 million in grants, low-interest loans, and program-related investments over two years will be awarded to up to 14 community-driven efforts addressing health-shaping factors that individuals can’t control – such as neighborhood safety, so kids can go out and play, or whether there’s a grocery store in the area, so residents have the opportunity to buy healthy food.

View details and call for applications.