Network Report


Measles and the Law

Measles Control: Stronger Laws Equals Less Disease

The measles outbreak that originated in California in January has so far affected 102 people from 14 states and Mexico. In 2014, there were 644 measles infections in 27 states — the most cases since measles was declared eliminated from the U.S. in 2000. Many in public health see the need to strengthen immunization laws to combat measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases.

More on the 2015 measles outbreak and immunization laws.

Webinar – The 2015 Measles Outbreak: Exploring the Role of Public Health Law

From January 1 to January 28, 102 people from 14 states have contracted measles — a highly contagious disease that was declared eliminated in the U.S. in 2000. This webinar will examine the current measles outbreak in the U.S. and associated legal issues, including immunization laws and exemptions. The webinar will take place on February 19 from 1 – 2:30 p.m. (ET).

Register for Measles and Role of Public Health Law webinar.

Exemptions from School Immunization Requirements

This resource provides information regarding statutory and regulatory provisions on school immunization requirements for the 11 states of the Western Region of the Network (Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Washington). Specifically, the resource lists laws that allow exemptions from mandatory primary school immunization requirements.

View/download the resource.

Immunization Waiver Requirements

All 50 states have adopted compulsory immunization laws for school children and also established some type of waiver, or exemption, for the immunizations. The types of waivers include medical, religious, and philosophical or personal belief waivers. This issue brief examines the elements of immunization waivers and provides detail on requirements related to requesting an obtaining a waiver.

View/download issue brief.

Other Issues in Public Health Law

Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs – Why Don’t We Actually Utilize Them?

Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs) are state-run databases used to prevent and uncover prescription drug abuse. PDMPs allow prescribers to identify patients who “doctor shop,” and law enforcement to identify inappropriate prescribing and dispensing.  Despite their widespread adoption, only 26 states require or recommend prescribers access PDMP databases.

More on PDMPs and initiatives aimed at increasing their use.

State Regulation of Raw Milk

Raw milk, or milk that has not undergone pasteurization, poses increased health risks of foodborne illness from harmful bacteria like Campylobacter. The federal government prohibits sales of raw milk and transportation across state lines; however states have different legal approaches to regulating the product within their borders, and these approaches have effects beyond their borders.

Learn more about health risks of raw milk.

Public Health Law Resources

Raw Milk: State Regulation of Sales

Proponents of raw milk believe that pasteurization removes nutrients from milk, but consuming unpasteurized milk comes with higher risks of foodborne illnesses. States fall along a continuum when it comes to raw milk regulation: many ban the sale of raw milk altogether (27 states and Washington, D.C.), others limit the sale of raw milk to the farm only (11 states), and others allow for the sale of raw milk in retail stores (10 states). Our updated resources provide information on the laws and regulations of raw milk in each state and Washington D.C.

View State Regulation of Raw Milk Resources.


TODAY at 1 p.m. ET - When Public Health Goes to Court: Judicial Structure and Functions

The judicial system plays a critical role in advancing public health goals, and it’s helpful for those in public health to understand how the court system works and how courts are involved in public health matters.  Join us today for a webinar examining the structure and functions of state and federal court systems, as well as the role of court watch programs in addressing public health issues.

Learn more and register for Judicial Structure and Functions webinar.

Ask the Experts

Regulation of Medicaid Providers

Medicaid provides much-needed access to health care for millions of low-income Americans. Medicaid is a joint federal-state program administrated at the state level. Health care providers who service Medicaid recipients receive funds from the program. The Network was recently contacted for information regarding the termination of a Medicaid provider in cases of Medicaid fraud.

Read about federal regulation related to termination of a Medicaid provider.

Public Health Law Research

Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs ) digitally store dispensing information and make the data accessible to prescribers, pharmacies, and law enforcement officials. PDMPs are designed to curb opioid overprescribing, but prescriber utilization is low. Currently, 22 of 49 states with PDMPs mandate by law that prescribers to query the system before writing a prescription. A recently released study examines whether mandates are an effective way to increase PDMP use and improve prescribing outcomes.

Learn more about the study.

Call for Abstracts: Law Topics at 143rd APHA Annual Meeting

Submission Deadline: Wednesday, February 11, 2015
The Law Section sessions provide an opportunity for presentations on new and emerging research and analysis of topics related to public health law and policy, health law, international health law, and human rights law. The Law Section encourages submission of abstracts related to this year's APHA Annual Meeting theme - Health in All Policies - as well other timely topics related to public health law and policy.

Get details on submitting abstracts.

Join the Network to receive the Network Report.