Network Report


Current Issues in Public Health Law

Community Health Needs Assessments

The Affordable Care Act requires that nonprofit hospitals conduct a community health needs assessment (CHNA), report on the needs identified, and develop a strategy for responding to them. The requirement is implemented by the IRS. Professor Mary Crossley, a Network Scholar in Residence Fellow, examined IRS regulations to determine whether they encourage collaboration between hospitals and public health departments.

Read about CHNAs and health departments.


Legal Interventions to Reduce Overdose Mortality

In 2010, there were over 19,000 overdose deaths from heroin and prescription painkillers (opioids).  Deaths from opioid overdose are preventable, and states have recently amended laws to increase access to emergency care. These resources provide information on those laws:

• Survey of State Naloxone Access and Good Samaritan Laws.
• Webinar on laws and policies impacting overdose education and naloxone access.

Public Health Law Fact Sheets

The Network recently developed a number of resources on behalf of the Partnership for Public Health Law, a collaboration of APHA, ASTHO, NACCHO and NALBOH. The following fact sheets cover a number of important areas in public health law:

• What is Public Health Law?
• Due Process and Public Health
• Federal Protection of Personal Health Information
• Overview of Food Safety
• Overview of Nuisance Law
• Regulation of Synthetic Drugs

Webinar: Fracking, Water Quality and Public Health -- Examining Current Laws and Regulations

Hydraulic fracturing – commonly known as “fracking” involves pumping pressurized water, sand and chemicals down wells to crack bedrock and release petroleum and natural gas. Wastewater discharges, hydraulic fracturing fluid releases, and other accidental spills pose potential water quality risks, sparking concerns for public health. This webinar will examine the laws and regulations governing water quality issues related to fracking, recent state court decisions affecting regulations, and implications for public health. This webinar is free and will take place on Thursday, March 20 at 1 p.m. (ET).

Learn more and register for webinar.

Ask the Experts:

Laws and Regulatory Information Governing Scarification as Body Art

The Network was contacted by a program manager at a state health department who was interested in how states across the country are addressing the practice of scarification. Scarification is a process in which the skin is cut, etched, burned or branded into a design. There can be severe health risks like hemorrhaging and exposure to infection, and states have laws and regulations governing this practice.

View information on state scarification laws provided by the Network.

Public Health Law Research

A new study by a Public Health Law Research grantee examines the education component in Washington State’s concussion law implementation requirement. The study, published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine, found that high school football and soccer coaches are receiving substantial concussion education and have good concussion knowledge. The study also revealed that concussion knowledge is more limited among student athletes and parents, and that football players receive more extensive concussion education than soccer players.

Read the abstract and access a full version of the paper.


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