Network Report

8/7/14

Emergency Legal Preparedness: Ebola Outbreak

In response to the Ebola outbreak in Africa and the subsequent return of two infected American aid workers for care in the U.S., the Network and our partners have developed the following resources to help public health practitioners, attorneys and others stay informed about the public health and legal issues related to emergency preparedness concerning the disease.

Primer: Emergency Legal Preparedness Concerning Ebola Virus Disease

This resource provides an overview of the Ebola outbreak in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria, and how these and other countries in Europe and Asia, as well as the World Health Organization, are responding to stop the potential spread of the disease. The resource also examines emerging emergency legal preparedness issues in the U.S. as federal, state and local health officials consider measures to protect the public’s health in the event of the further spread of Ebola. Included are links to information on travel restrictions, emergency declarations, vaccine development, and isolation and quarantine measures.

View Ebola emergency legal preparedness resource.

Webinar: Ebola and Public Health Law — What You Need to Know

In July, two American aid workers infected with Ebola were medically evacuated to the U.S. for care at a high-security isolation unit at Emory University Hospital. These events raise questions and concerns for public health and health care attorneys related to legal preparedness for potential infectious disease outbreaks, and highlight a need to explore the role of law in preparing for this and similar potential public health emergencies. This webinar, co-sponsored by the Network, the CDC’s Public Health Law Program and the American Health Lawyers Association, will describe the recent outbreak of the Ebola virus in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria, discuss legal issues that arise when infected patients enter the U.S., and explore legal powers and duties of health department personnel if an Ebola outbreak occurs in the U.S. Webinar takes place August 12 at 1 p.m. ET.

Learn more and register for Ebola webinar.

Current Issues in Public Health Law

Proposed Produce Safety Standards: Big Benefits, Big Costs, and Big Concerns

The FDA’s proposed Produce Safety Standards address a wide spectrum of food safety issues including food safety training, personnel health and hygiene, agricultural water standards, and use of soil amendments. The standards have important public health and economic implications, and understanding the proposed regulations is critical for state and local authorities.

More on Produce Safety Standards.

Court Decision on Mandatory Disclosure Could be Big Win for Public Health

A recent ruling in a case concerning mandatory disclosures to consumers could have significant implications for tobacco control and many other areas of public health. Mandatory disclosure laws play a crucial role in protecting public health as they allow consumers to make informed choices by requiring industry to disclose essential information. The case, which involved a challenge to the USDA requirement for detailed county-of-origin labeling for meat products sold in the United States, asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to decide on whether mandated disclosure should to be subjected to stricter First Amendment review.

Read more about the case and implications for public health.

Resource: Standards for Produce Safety

Section 105 of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) creates minimum science-based safety standards for produce. As required by FSMA, the FDA has proposed regulations for the safe growing, harvesting, packing, and holding of produce on farms. The FSMA Section 105 Primer will help public health practitioners understand the issues surrounding the proposed produce regulations and the potential impacts.

Learn more and view this resource.

Public Health Law Research

Trends in U.S. State and Federal Minimum Wage Laws

A new Law Atlas map charts the federal and state minimum wage laws dating back to 1980. Since establishing a standard minimum wage rate for qualified employees in 1938, the federal minimum wage has been increased 22 times - from 25 cents per hour to the current rate of $7.25, which was established in July 2009. The current rate equates to roughly $15,000 per year for a 40-hour work week.

View the Minimum Wage Laws Map.

Upcoming Webinar

Advancing Infant Health: Addressing Disparities and Identifying Legal Strategies to Promote Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is proven to have significant health benefits for infants, providing nutrients and antibodies that promote health and fight illness. But for many mothers, social, political and economic challenges impede opportunities to breastfeed. This upcoming webinar will examine racial inequalities and their impact on breastfeeding support, and highlight legal and policy strategies to strengthen systems to support breastfeeding initiation and success. The webinar takes place on Thursday, August 21 at 1 p.m. (ET).

Learn more and register for the webinar.

Ask the Experts:

Health Information Data Sharing: Balancing Public Health Needs and Patient Privacy

The Privacy Rule of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) seeks to balance the need of public health agencies to access health data with the desire of patients for health care privacy. Often, data sharing is key to preventing communicable diseases from spreading, but it may also be useful for investigating possible environmental hazards or carcinogenic risks. The Network was recently asked whether local health departments can request and obtain hospital medical records for investigating a cancer or environmental disease cluster.

More about the Privacy Rule and public health request.

2014 Public Health Law Conference

Conference Agenda Posted

The full agenda for the 2014 Public Health Law Conference has been posted. In addition to the 40 sessions covering issues such as Affordable Care Act implementation, drug overdose prevention, health data privacy, emergency preparedness and marijuana regulation, the conference offers two pre-conference workshops and three plenary sessions.

View agenda and other conference information.

Student Network Pre-Conference Workshop

The Student Network is holding a pre-conference workshop for students and young professionals in conjunction with the 2014 Public Health Law Conference on October 15 from 12:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. This free workshop will provide attendees a unique opportunity to learn about the field of public health law through a variety of sessions and interactive activities. Attendees will connect with experienced public health law professionals throughout the workshop and during the networking reception immediately following.

Learn more about the pre-conference workshop and sign up.

Join the Network.