Network Report

12/8/2016

Public Health Law and Policy Perspectives

Federal Efforts to Improve Access to Treatment for Individuals with Substance Use Disorders

Federal efforts to combat the opioid epidemic recently shifted from a focus on law enforcement to improving access to treatment. The mental health and substance use parity rule, which requires health insurance plans to treat mental health and substance use disorders on par with medical and surgical benefits, plays a key role in these efforts.

Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act: A New Era for LGBT Nondiscrimination

LGBT people face numerous barriers to accessing health care. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently finalized new regulations under the Affordable Care Act to prohibit discrimination against LGBT people. The scope of the rule is significant and has the potential to dramatically improve LGBT health equity.

Public Health Legal Resources

Issue Brief: Consent for Care and Confidential Health Information

Under the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), parents and guardians are typically treated as a minor patient’s personal representatives and are entitled to view and control a minor’s protected health information. However, there are exceptions. This issue brief summarizes the rights of minors in Michigan to consent to medical care without the consent or knowledge of their parents or guardians. Though the details of this document apply only to Michigan, the legal provisions likely have counterparts in other states.

Ask the Experts

County Health Department Authority

A requestor from Illinois recently asked the Network if a county or multi-county health department in that state has the legal authority to lease a portion of its building to another entity. Under Illinois law, a county health department has only those powers specifically granted to it by law or necessarily implied by an express grant of authority. There are several grants of authority relevant to the requestor’s question.

Public Health Law Research

Promising Strategies to Remove Inexpensive Sweet Tobacco Products from Retail Stores

A new article in Public Health Reports reviews Boston's 2012 cigar packaging regulation and its impact on young people's access to inexpensive flavored cigars. In the article, published by Public Health Law Research program grantees, the authors suggest that Boston's successful experience enacting and enforcing this regulation highlights the possibilities of local public health laws without waiting for state and/or federal regulatory action.

Worth Sharing

HUD’s Rule to Restrict Smoking in Public Housing: An Overview

On November 30, 2016, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced a final rule to restrict smoking in public housing. This helpful fact sheet from the Tobacco Control Legal Consortium provides an overview of the rule’s smoking restrictions.

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