List of recent legal technical assistance requests and answers.

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Minnesota Law Regarding the Use of Cannabidiol (Hemp) Oil for Medical Purposes

A medical practitioner contacted the Network with a question regarding whether hemp oil was legal in Minnesota and if he could have it available in his clinic for his patients.

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Authority to Prescribe the Overdose Reversal Medication Naloxone in Wisconsin

A requester recently contacted the Network for guidance and clarification on who is permitted to prescribe naloxone directly or via standing order in Wisconsin. Specifically, the requester wanted to know the prescriber authority and criminal liability for advanced practice nurses versus registered or licensed nurse practitioners.  

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Plastic Bag Regulations and Preemption

A climate and health specialist contacted the Network for information about resources related to preemption of local laws by states, specifically state-level preemption of bans on the use of plastic bags by grocery stores, convenience stores and other establishments.

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“Over the Counter” Naloxone Access

All 50 states and the District of Columbia have now modified their laws to increase access to naloxone, a drug that can reverse the effects of an overdose to heroin or other opioid painkillers. The Network was recently asked about the number of states in which naloxone can be purchased “over the counter”.  While there are a wide variety of steps that states, localities, and private businesses can take to increase access to naloxone, they cannot make it available “over the counter” or “without a prescription.”

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Resources, Tools, and Ordinances to Create Incentives for Bike Facilities

The Network was recently contacted by a policy analyst at a state health department about whether there were known best-practices or resources that focus on zoning ordinances, requirements, or incentives for developers that encourage biking through the creation of bikes lanes, the installation of bike racks and similar initiatives in new housing developments. The Network provided the requester with information on several resources, evaluative tools and sample ordinances on biking.

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Animal Control Enforcement

A requestor in Michigan recently contacted the Network with concerns regarding animal control management since stray and wild animals can pose a public health threat. Animal bites can spread rabies and some animals can cause injuries. Because the county in which the requester lived lacked funding for an animal control agency, the requester wanted to know who is responsible for providing animal control and animal quarantine services.

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Legal Efforts to Reduce Barriers to Accessing the Anti-overdose Medication Naloxone

Opioid overdose is at epidemic levels in the United States. It is estimated that over 33,000 Americans lose their lives from opioid overdose. Opioid overdose mortality is preventable with the timely administration of naloxone and the provision of emergency medical care. Naloxone is a prescription medication, making it difficult for the drug to be readily available by those who need it. In response, many states have made an effort to reduce barriers to accessing naloxone.

A requestor recently contacted the Network with several questions regarding naloxone access.

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Regulations on the use of Human Waste as a Fertilizer

A requester recently contacted the Network to ask how states regulate the use of human waste as a fertilizer. Both federal and state law allow for the use of human waste as an agricultural fertilizer. The land application of biosolids, sewage sludge, and/or domestic septage provides considerable nutrient benefits for the soil, but also presents a range of health and environmental challenges.

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Syringe Laws and the Overdose Medication Naloxone

Naloxone blocks or reverses the effects of opioids and can save the life of someone overdosing if given in a timely manner. A public health professional recently asked the Network if it is legal for a layperson to distribute naloxone injection equipment in Texas. And whether pharmacists in Texas are liable for selling injection equipment if they suspect the person will use it to inject drugs.

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Pesticide Use on Cannabis Plants

The use of pesticides on cannabis plants has increasingly become a health concern in states that have legalized marijuana, and regulations can be murky. The Network recently received a request from an individual looking for information on state regulations related to pesticide application on cannabis plants.

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California Law Regarding the Presence of Live Animals in Retail Food Facilities

A requestor in Simi Valley, California recently asked the Network whether pet animals, such as dogs, were allowed in retail food facilities, such as grocery stores and restaurants. The Network researched the issue and provided the requestor with two resources.

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Marijuana Use among Youth and Medical Marijuana Laws

The Network recently received a request from a county health officer for information about youth marijuana use rates, and specifically about whether youth use rates were higher in states with medical marijuana laws (MMLs) than states where marijuana use remained illegal.

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Vaccines for Children Program

The Vaccines for Children Program (VFC) is a federally-funded program in the United States providing no-cost vaccines to children who lack health insurance or who cannot otherwise afford the cost of vaccination. A public health worker from Arizona recently contacted the Network asking several questions about the VFC Program and insurance coverage.

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Student Immunization Records and Health Data Privacy Laws

A healthcare administrator recently contacted the Network asking for resources on the applicability and requirements of the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) in relation to the sharing of students’ immunization information.

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Excluding Unvaccinated Children from School during a Disease Outbreak

A Michigan requestor recently asked the Network for resources and court opinions pertaining to the exclusion of unvaccinated children from school during a disease outbreak. The Network found two cases and one state Attorney General opinion relevant to the issue.

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Health Data Privacy in a School Setting

A physician who participates on an asthma workgroup recently contacted the Network about potential legal issues related to keeping and distributing lists of students with health concerns in a school setting. Specifically, the requestor wanted to know the considerations involved in having schools create lists of students who suffer from asthma to distribute to teachers, coaches, bus drivers and other staff. This list would help staff be prepared to respond in case of an asthma attack.

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Privacy Protections and Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs

A healthcare provider from Rhode Island recently contacted the Network for information on the differences, if any, between privacy protections for pharmacy records and prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) records in law enforcement investigations.

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Buprenorphine Prescribing Limitations for Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants

A requestor from Washington state recently asked the Network for information on the conditions under which Nurse Practitioners (NPs) and Physician Assistants (PAs) can prescribe buprenorphine for treatment of opioid use disorder (OUD).

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Firearm Access and Domestic Violence Convictions

A trauma prevention specialist at a major Massachusetts hospital recently contacted the Network looking for information on law in their state regarding firearm access by those convicted of domestic violence. Specifically, the requestor asked for information regarding the so-called “boyfriend loophole,” a result of the legal definition of a “domestic” relationship in many states that does not include dating partners—that is, couples who never married, never cohabitated, or do not have children.

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Regulation of Pain Clinics versus Medical Marijuana (Marihuana) Dispensaries

A requestor recently contacted the Network for information about the differences and similarities in the regulation of pain clinics and marijuana dispensaries in Michigan. The Network  located guidelines for pain treatment and reporting requirements for opioids and other controlled substances, and identified the Michigan statutes and laws that govern the use and distribution of medical marijuana as well as the licensing and regulation of medical marijuana facilities.

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Regulating Pain Clinics

The Network was recently contacted by a requester who asked for information about effective state approaches for regulating pain clinics. Pain clinics that frequently provide inappropriately large quantities of prescriptions are often called “pill mills,” and these facilities have been implicated in the proliferation of both prescription opioid and heroin overdose deaths. States have primary responsibility for regulating prescription drug practice and pain clinics.

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Federal Laws Regarding Lobbying and Advocacy

Federal laws restrict the use of federal funds for lobbying activities. The Network was recently contacted by a public health officer asking for clarification on the distinction between lobbying and advocacy. Broadly, the use of federal funding cannot “…influence an officer or employee of any agency or Congressional member/staff regarding federal awards.” But a more accurate answer is more complex. The Network provided the public health officer with several additional resources to provide clarification on the issue.

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HIV Testing and Consent Laws in Arizona

A requestor from Arizona contacted the Network for information on the legality of testing an individual suspected of being HIV positive without his or her consent. Health care providers in Arizona must obtain informed consent prior to testing individuals for HIV, unless an exception applies.

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Preemption and Restricting Tobacco Sales to Minors

A local health department in Maryland recently asked the Network for guidance on whether state law preempted a local ordinance restricting the sale of tobacco products to minors. The issue isn’t simple or clear. While the State has the authority to preempt or preclude local jurisdictions from enacting local laws dealing with the same issue, this does not mean that counties cannot regulate in an area just because the State already has enacted a law on that issue. 

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Legal Authority of State of Illinois County or Multi-County Health Departments to Lease Property

A requestor from Illinois recently contacted the Network asking 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. Illinois law provides that a county or multi-county board of health may lease county property with the approval of the County Board or if authorized by ordinance or resolution.

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Ebola Virus and Animal Quarantine

What tools does the law provide to protect the public's health when pets and other animals could be carriers of Ebola virus?

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Disclosure of Individual Health Information – HIPAA Requirements

Under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), a health provider or other covered entity may be required or allowed to disclose protected health information to third parties without the authorization or agreement of the patient - but what are the patient's rights?

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States with Drug Overdose Review Panels

A health scientist at a national public health organization recently contacted the Network for information about states that have instituted drug overdose review teams. A number of states have committees at the state or local level to review child drug fatalities, but only four states have legislation authorizing overdose fatality review panels.

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Vitamin K Shots for Newborns - State Statutes and Codes

Vitamin K shots are recommended for newborns to protect them from Vitamin K Deficiency Bleeding. A public health analyst recently contacted the Network for information about Oregon’s and other states’ statutes and codes addressing administration of vitamin K to newborns.

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Opioid Overdose Prevention: Immunity for Nurses in Administering Naloxone

Does Colorado law provide liability protection for a registered nurse (RN) to administer naloxone when “off the clock” – that is to say, when not administering naloxone as part of the RN’s job duties?

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County Government Authority to Pass Sales Taxes in Support of Public Health

Do county governments have the authority to pass a sales tax to be used in support of public health operations? In Illinois, some counties are granted general authority with limitations on what can be taxed; other counties have limited authority to impose a sales tax, but only if the tax is approved by voters.

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HIV and States’ Communicable Disease Reporting Requirements

A requestor contacted the Network for information on how HIV reporting is included in states’ communicable disease reporting rules, specifically those states that do not have standalone rules specific to HIV reporting, but instead include HIV reporting in general disease reporting requirements. The Network provided the requestor with two resources related to HIV reporting laws across the United States.

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Opioid Overdose Prevention ― Protections for Responders

Opioid overdoses are typically reversible through the timely administration of the medication naloxone and the provision of emergency care. The Network was recently contacted by a requestor who asked about liability for the administration of naloxone by law enforcement officers in Louisiana.

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Blood Testing, Health Surveillance, and Privacy

Public health surveillance is the ongoing systematic collection, analysis and interpretation of health and other data to inform public health efforts. The Network was recently contacted by a requestor from a state health department planning to conduct blood testing for health surveillance purposes. The requestor had several questions about informed consent related to the testing and associated questionnaires for participants, as well as retention and storage of the health information collected.

 

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Legal Authority of Government to Abate Public Health Nuisances

The Network was contacted by a public health official in Arizona about the legal authority that state (or local) government has to abate public health nuisances, specifically related to potential breeding sites for disease-carrying mosquitoes. In Arizona, health authorities can order the removal or destruction of a public health nuisance in two primary ways, and specific abatement powers and processes may be altered pursuant to formal declarations of emergency or public health emergency.

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States' Laws and Regulations Related to Body Art

A county health department in the process of updating its regulations on body art ― piercings, tattoos, scarification ― contacted the Network for information about regulations in other jurisdictions that define, prohibit, or allow for more unusual forms of body art such as tongue bifurcation (in which the tongue is permanently altered by cutting it centrally from its tip), suspension (hoisting a person into the air via body piercings), and subdermal implants (the insertion of foreign objects under the skin to achieve artistic effects).

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Dispensing Naloxone via Standing Order

A drug overdose prevention advocate contacted the Network with a question about the overdose prevention trainings their organization conducts in Florida. The requestor wanted to know if, at the end of the training session, they could dispense naloxone under a recently passed state law that permits naloxone to be prescribed via standing order.

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Public Nuisance Laws and Public Health

A community in Wisconsin raised concerns about a brewpub that was emitting exhaust so foul that some neighbors were not able to use their back yards. The Network was asked if the problem with the exhaust could be considered a public health concern, and what laws might be relevant to the situation.

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HIPAA Privacy Rule and De-Identification of Health Information

The Network received a request from a health researcher working on anonymizing health data to comply with the Privacy Rule of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). The researcher asked the Network if failing to de-identify the health care provider could be seen as a violation of privacy under HIPAA.

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Zika Virus Emergency Legal Preparedness

The Network was contacted recently by a requestor who wanted more general information about Zika as well as information about emergency legal preparedness around a possible U.S. outbreak of the virus. The Network is working in real-time on these specific issues and was able to provide several helpful resources.

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Immunity for Administration of Epinephrine

Epinephrine auto-injectors, also known as adrenaline, are often sold under the brand name EpiPen. It is used to treat a number of conditions, including anaphylaxis (severe allergic reaction). A requestor recently asked the Network if the state of Illinois provides immunity for those who administer epinephrine in emergency situations.

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How Can Standing Orders be used in Drug Overdose Prevention?

Many states have taken action to make naloxone, a medication that reverses the effects of opioid drugs, more available to the public as well as first responders. The laws regarding the prescribing and dispensing of naloxone vary by state, but most states have made efforts to make it easier for medical professionals to prescribe naloxone and for laypeople to receive naloxone for use in overdose reversal. Maine is one of the 27 states that permits naloxone to be dispensed via standing order. The Network was recently contacted by a nonprofit employee who asked for help finding the specific language of Maine’s standing order law.

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Laws Establishing Health in All Policies Commissions

"Health in all policies” (HiAP) refers to a movement within public health to consider the implications on the public’s health from all sectors of public policy, including transportation, education, agriculture, and housing. The Maryland legislature is currently considering Senate Bill 304, which would establish a Health in All Policies Commission in the state.

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Access to Dental Health Care: Dental Hygienist Scope of Practice

A requestor contacted the Network for information on the scope of practice for dental hygienists in Nebraska. The Network provided the requestor with a fact sheet for Nebraska that details the clinical dental health services as well as the public health related services dental hygienists provide.

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Parental Consent and Notification Laws: Prenatal Care for Minors

The Network was contacted by an Indiana health care facility that provides services to pregnant women and girls. The facility has an ultrasound machine and wanted to know whether Indiana law prohibits providers from performing an ultrasound procedure on a minor without parental knowledge or consent.

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Immigration Laws and Infectious Disease Reporting

Individuals seeking to become permanent residents of the United States must submit a Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record, or I-693 Form. The form must be completed by a federally designated civil surgeon based on the surgeon’s medical examination. The Network was recently asked if the results of an I-693 exam can be reported to local health departments.

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Youth Sports Concussion and Return to Play Laws

The Network was contacted by a requester seeking information about Michigan’s return-to-play law. The requester wanted to know what sort of provision the law has for enforcing the requirements and dealing with possible violations.

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Do Vaccination Laws Apply to Private Schools?

State laws establish vaccination requirements for children attending public schools and often to those attending private schools. A requestor recently contacted the Network asking for clarification on the application of vaccination laws to private schools in Arizona.

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Food and Drug Administration’s Guidance on Generic Medications

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released guidance for generic pharmaceutical manufacturers, which recommends that generic medications have a similar appearance to the reference drug (the brand name drug of which the generic is a version). The FDA believes this practice will help decrease medication errors and increase adherence.

The Network was asked whether this guidance is legally binding, and if not, whether the FDA could make a rule on the matter, or if making the guidance legally binding would require legislation.

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How Insurance and Privacy Laws Treat Genetic Information

The Network recently received an inquiry about how privacy and insurance laws treat information derived from genetic testing.

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Dental Hygienist Scope of Practice and Access to Oral Health

The Network received a request from an individual in North Carolina who asked a number of questions regarding dental hygienists and the laws governing their scope of practice in that state. The questions related to state laws governing the direct supervision of dental hygienists, practice arrangements where indirect supervision is permitted, as well as rules dealing with the operation of dental practices.

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Alcohol Breath Analyzer Tests in the Employment Context

The Network was recently asked for information on the legality of refusing a breath analyzer (commonly referred to by the brand name Breathalyzer) test in Georgia when asked to submit to one.

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Employment Discrimination and Alcohol and Drug Use

The Network was recently contacted for information on how the use of alcohol and the use of drugs are treated differently under employment and anti-discrimination laws.

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Child Car Seat Law in Missouri

The Network was recently contacted for information on child car safety law in Missouri — specifically, about requirements related to allowing a child to ride in the front seat of a pickup truck.

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Emergency Legal Preparedness: Isolation and Quarantine Procedures

The Network was contacted by the director of a local health department in Arizona who asked for information, including model policies, regarding isolation and quarantine procedures. The Network provided the requestor with a number of resources, both general and specific to Arizona.

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Addressing Vision and Hearing Problems in Low-Income Children

The Network was contacted by a public health practitioner looking for research on vision and hearing problems in low-income children, and access to screening and other services.

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Medical Record Privacy and Drug Addiction Disclosure

The Network was contacted by a state health department drug and alcohol program about whether medical record privacy rules permit or forbid an employer to ask a job applicant to disclose his or her history with drug addiction.

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Regulation of Open Burning

 “Open burning,” the practice of burning refuse – often trash, leaves, or scrap wood – in the open air, is a common method of disposal but can have serious consequences for environmental safety and the public’s health. Open burning ordinances and model laws are available from several jurisdictions.

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Unaccompanied Children in Emergency Situations

The Network was contacted for guidance on the legal and health concerns related to unaccompanied children in emergency situations. With some exceptions, under normal circumstances health care workers (HCWs) must obtain consent from parents or legal guardians in order to provide treatment to minors. However, in an emergency situation, minors may become separated from their parents or legal guardians, or health facilities may become overwhelmed and lack the resources to obtain proper consent.

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Texting as a Public Health Tool: Policies and Practice

The Network was recently contacted by a local health department for information — specifically examples of policy and practice from other jurisdictions — on using text messaging to communicate on matters such as immunization and appointment reminders, emergency notifications, and client care.

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Drunk Driving Laws: A Maryland Case Study

A requester in Maryland wanted to know if there had been any significant legislative changes to the Maryland Drunk Driving Reduction Act since its passage in 2011, or whether there had been other legislative changes in the state relevant to the issue of drunk driving.

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Overdose Prevention: Naloxone Access in Michigan

The Network was contacted by a public health advocate in Michigan who asked if Michigan House Bill 5404, regarding naloxone, requires emergency medical technicians (EMTs) to carry naloxone when on the job.

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Health Information Data Sharing: Privacy Issues for Minors and Young Adults

Many minors and young adults have health insurance coverage through their parents’ plans as dependents. The Network was recently contacted by a public health researcher who asked about the tension between health information privacy for dependents and explanations of benefits (EOBs) provided by health insurers.

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Health Care Workers in Infectious Disease Response

A public health professional recently contacted the Network for resources on how to respond to situations in which a health care worker wishes to abdicate responsibility for care of an Ebola patient or any other patient with  an infectious disease.

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Disclosure of Infectious Disease to Law Enforcement

An Arizona county public health administrator recently contacted the Network with a question regarding law enforcement and communicable diseases. Specifically, does a law enforcement agent interacting with an individual have a statutory right to know if that person poses a risk for disease transmission?

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Prosecutorial Practices that Impact Public Health

A public health advocate recently contacted the Network, concerned that a local prosecutor’s office was using possession of a condom as evidence of prostitution. The requestor was interested in working with the prosecutor’s office to change the practice and asked the Network if other areas of the country had faced similar issues.

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Mandatory Influenza Vaccination for Healthcare Workers

A requester from a local health department recently contacted the Network asking whether there is any legal basis for mandatory flu vaccination for healthcare workers policies to be challenged.

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Regulation of Medicaid Providers

For many low-income Americans, Medicaid provides much-needed access to health care. The Network was recently contacted by a requestor who asked for information regarding the termination of a Medicaid provider by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in cases of Medicaid fraud, and the consequences of that termination at the state level.

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Video Directly Observed Therapy in Rural Minnesota

Adherence to a drug regimen is critical for the treatment of tuberculosis and directly observed therapy is a method in which a health care worker or other designated individual observes a patient swallow each dose of the prescribed medication. Video directly observed therapy is a similar practice facilitated through video technology, allowing the treatment provider to observe the medication administration remotely.

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Newborn Screening Saves Lives Reauthorization Act Restricts Use of Residual Newborn Screening Blood Spots for Research

Newborn screening is an important public health program that detects rare but serious genetic and metabolic disorders before symptoms appear. The Newborn Screening Saves Lives Reauthorization Act of 2014 amends the Public Health Service Act to revise and extend a grant program for screening, counseling, and other services related to heritable disorders that can be detected in newborns.

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Health Information Data Sharing: Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

The Network was recently asked whether a school district can specifically request that parents provide details regarding their child’s absence for illness under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), and if so, what logistics would be implied in legally collecting and protecting that information.

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Requirements for Lock Box Use for Methadone

The Network was recently contacted by a clinician in Colorado about state laws requiring the use of lock boxes for patients on methadone in licensed methadone treatment centers.

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The ACA and Disproportional Share Hospital Payments

Federal law requires that state Medicaid programs make Disproportional Share Hospital (DSH) payments to hospitals that serve a large number of Medicaid and uninsured individuals. Since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would reduce the number of uninsured, the law mandated that DSH allotments be reduced.

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Health Information Data Sharing: Use of Disease Outbreak Detection Systems across Jurisdictions

The Network was recently contacted by a requestor who asked for a general overview of statutory authority for the use of syndromic surveillance across jurisdictions.

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Ebola Emergency Legal Preparedness: Quarantine of Ill Travelers

Aid workers exposed to the Ebola virus have returned to the United States from West Africa, prompting questions about the enforcement of quarantines.

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Laws Impacting Use of Video Direct Observed Therapy for Tuberculosis Patients

Video direct observed therapy (VDOT) is a technique in which a medical professional observes a patient taking their treatment drugs remotely through video technology. The Network was recently contacted by a county public health department considering the practice as a way to care for tuberculosis patients. The health department wanted to know about laws that might impact the use of VDOT.

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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. The Network was recently asked whether local health departments can request and obtain hospital medical records for investigating a cancer or environmental disease cluster.

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Extending Medicaid for Mothers Postpartum

The Network was recently contacted by an advocate for child and maternal health who said organizations in her state are considering proposing a bill to extend Medicaid coverage for postpartum mothers up to one year after birth.

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Emergency Medical Responders and Administering Naloxone

A state representative recently contacted the Network to ask what states allow police and basic emergency medical technicians (EMTs) to carry and administer naloxone. The Network researched the issue and found that all 53 jurisdictions licensed or certified emergency medical service (EMS) personnel at the paramedic level, and all permitted paramedics to administer naloxone.

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Registered Nurses Prescribing Non-Controlled Substances

The Network was recently contacted by a local health department in Michigan about whether registered nurses can prescribe non-controlled substances under a delegation by a physician and in accordance with the physician’s standing order. The health department also asked if physicians need to personally countersign written prescriptions. Current common practice is for a registered nurse to sign and include the delegating physician’s name on the prescription.

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Preventing a Pertussis Outbreak

A local health department recently contacted its state health department for guidance regarding a nanny who was exposed to pertussis, or whooping cough, while providing child care for one family, then may have exposed a second family to the disease. The nanny refuses to identify the second family and the local health department is unable to take steps to stop the spread of the disease. The Network researched the issue and provided three options for the local health department to pursue in compelling the nanny to identify the family at risk.

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Regulating Well Water

The Network was recently contacted by the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES). The department is interested in helping local authorities regulate well water quality in New Hampshire – specifically through local ordinances requiring water quality testing for new private wells. The DES wondered if it would be better to recommend that locals pass the ordinance based on the local health officer’s nuisance authority, or if it should recommend using the state’s building code as the basis for the ordinance.

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Motorcycle Helmet Laws

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, helmets are about 37 percent effective in preventing motorcycle deaths and about 67 percent effective in preventing brain injuries. The Network recently received a request for information on motorcycle safety helmet laws in all 50 states.

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Food Handler Training for Food Safety

The Network received an inquiry from a county local health department director about whether food handler training is an evidence-based public health intervention for food safety. Food handler trainings are educational programs designed to reduce the instances of food-borne illness and other food safety issues. Food training requirements differ widely by jurisdiction.

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Appointment Process for Boards of Health

A requestor recently asked the Network for information about Ohio law and the nomination and appointment process of general health district boards of health. Boards of health are an important link between public health services and a healthy community, and laws governing board structure vary from state to state.

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Budgetary Limits for Nonprofit Lobbying

To determine how much lobbying a 501(c)(3) can engage in, nonprofits first need to determine how they will measure their lobbying.

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Bed Bugs in the Workplace

The Network was asked about workers’ rights in dealing with bed bugs in their workplace and in homes provided by their employer. The Network researched the issue and found that in the requestor’s state, there is no law that addresses bed bugs. However, there are a number of useful resources on bed bugs, and specifically, bed bugs in the workplace.

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Homeless Youth and the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act

The McKinney-Vento Act is a federal law that provides federal funding for homeless shelter programs and stipulates protections for homeless children in the area of public education. The Network was asked how the law impacts a homeless youth’s access to school-based health services.

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Laws and Regulations Governing Scarification

The Network was contacted by a program manager at a state health department, who was interested in the how states across the country are addressing the practice of scarification.

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ACA's Individual Mandate and Released Prisoners

The Network was contacted by a requestor who asked how the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and specifically the individual mandate, affects people who are released from prison.

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Legal Requirements and Services Available to Immigrant Populations

The Network was contacted by a city official in Maryland who wanted to know what medical housing services are available for immigrants – including undocumented individuals – in her state.

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Good Samaritan Food Donation Law

The Ohio Public Health Association contacted the Network for information about regulations that govern the donation of unused food by hotels and event centers to homeless shelters and other social service programs in need.

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Public Health Department Accreditation

The Network was contacted by a local public health department seeking accreditation through the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB). The department was looking for tools to help fulfill a requirement of the accreditation process.

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Emergency Legal Response to Meningitis Outbreak at Princeton University

The Network was recently contacted by a requestor with two questions regarding response to a recent outbreak of meningitis at Princeton University. Learn more about this request and see the Network's response.

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Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Authority to Regulate Personal Care Products

The Network was contacted by a public health practitioner with questions about the authority of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to regulate personal care products, particularly soap. See how the Network responded.

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Home Brewing and Bootlegging Alcohol

The Network was contacted by a public health practitioner working with a state to reform alcohol control laws to reduce alcohol abuse.

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Federally Qualified Health Centers and Local Health Departments

A public health official asked the Network for further policy information on a federal health regulation, specifically whether a local health department could qualify as a community health center by the regulations of the Health Resources and Services Administration.

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Pesticide, Herbicide and Synthetic Fertilizer use in Cities

A city council member seeking to address use of pesticide, herbicides, and synthetic fertilizers in the context of a comprehensive city planning process  recently contacted the local health officer, who came to the Network for more information.

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Medicaid Expansion under the ACA

The Network received a question from a local health official on Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), specifically if any measures are being taken to incentivize providers to accept Medicaid.

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Statewide Bicycle Laws

The Network received a question from a health official who asked if the Network could refer her to resources on statewide bicycle laws.

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Health Disparities

The Network received a request from a research center studying sexuality-related health disparities. The requester wanted information on how to use research information to develop an advocacy strategy that would effect legal change to benefit the health of LGBT youth.

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Affordable Care Act Menu Labeling Standards

The Network received an inquiry about federal standards for menu labeling and how they impact policies implemented by local governments.

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Provisions of Sports Concussion Laws

The Network recently received a request related to state adoption of specific provisions of sports concussion laws.

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Licensure for Recreational Therapists

The Network received a request from a public health practitioner working on policy that would establish a licensure system for recreational therapists in her state.

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HIPAA Business Associate Agreement Provisions

Resources related to the recent changes to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) that were part of the Omnibus Final Rule.

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Training Public Health Professionals on the Affordable Care Act

The Network received a request from a public health official for training resources related to the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

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Pursuing a Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Tax

The Network recently received a request from a state official for any relevant resources on implementing a sugar-sweetened beverage tax. The official hoped to gather information about what legislation other states have implemented to better inform the pursuit of such legislation in her state.

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Frac Sand Mining and Public Health

The Network recently received an inquiry from a health official about whether local government zoning permits to engage in frac sand mining can include conditions or contemplate modifications that would protect public health.

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Utilizing Legal and Policy Tools to Improve Local Public Health

The Network received a request from a local health official in California who asked for more information on how local health departments can utilize legal and policy tools to achieve public health goals within their communities.

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Reducing Drug Overdose Through Law

The Network received a request from a health advocate in North Carolina who had questions on provisions of SB 20, a recently passed overdose prevention law.

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Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act

The Network was contacted by a state official about recent changes to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) that were part of the HIPAA omnibus final rule, and how the changes applied to her state's health department.

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Declarations of Public Health Emergency

The Network received a request on the varied implications that declarations of a public health emergency may have on regulations in different states and localities.

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Regulation of Midwifery

The Network received a request from a health official who asked how other states regulate the practice of midwifery. Midwives are health professionals who provide care to women during pregnancy and childbirth.

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Voluntary Surrender of a Health Department-Issued License

The Network received a request for assistance from a state health official on a question related to voluntary surrender of a health department-issued license.

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Collective Bargaining Rights and Smoke-Free Workplace Laws

The Network received a request from a public health advocate who was concerned about the impact of a state ballot proposal on current smoke-free workplace laws.

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Safe Routes to School Program

The Network received a request from a state health official working on the Safe Routes to School initiative within his state.

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Closed Points of Distribution Issues

The Network received a request from a local health official working on emergency preparedness issues. The official was developing plans to utilize Closed Points of Distribution (Closed PODS) during emergencies.

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Liability Issues for Hospitals in Emergency Response

A requestor asked the Network to help identify any existing research or resources on liability issues for hospitals that engage in emergency response efforts.

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Seniors and the ACA

One question came from a state public health official who asked about the applicability of the Affordable Care Act to individuals over the age of 65.

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Examining Health Impact Assessments

The Network has received a number of requests from local organizations and individuals asking for assistance in utilizing legal or policy tools to promote a public health project within their community.

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Examining Health Impact Assessments

The Network received a request from a public health official asking how local and state health departments might be impacted by Section 503 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2012.

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Scientific Research on Hunger, Food Insecurity and Obesity

A public health official from the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) recently contacted the Network requesting general resources and scientific research on the relationship between hunger and food insecurity and obesity.

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First Responder Liability Protection

The Network received a request from a public health practitioner regarding liability issues for first responders during emergencies.

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PHAB Standards Relating to Compliance

A state health official inquired about specific aspects of the national accreditation process for public health agencies administered by the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB).

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Lab Services in Emergencies

A state attorney asked the Network about what legal protections would apply to mutual aid agreements between state laboratories created to meet the increased demand of laboratory services during a public health emergency. The Network responded...

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Model Policies for Emergency Preparedness Planning

An official with a county health department recently contacted the Network with a question about emergency preparedness planning.

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Marriage and Public Health

The Network was contacted by the leader of a local nonprofit group who had questions regarding the impact of the marriage equality law recently passed in Maryland.

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Sharing Health Data

The Network responded to a request from a local health official on policies for sharing health data. The requestor hoped to identify best practices for sharing data that has been collected, analyzed or reported by a health department. 

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Encouraging Breastfeeding

A local health official contacted the Network with a question about California’s Hospital Infant Feeding Act. Signed into law in October 2011, the Act requires California’s Department of Public Health to promote breastfeeding and develop model training for California hospitals.

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Creating and Protecting Community Outdoor Spaces

The Network received a series of requests from a public health practitioner regarding how best to pursue an open space plan and a joint use agreement in a local community.

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Cross-Borders Liability Protection for Emergency Health Care Providers

A request was made for information about liability protections and license reciprocity for health care providers responding to emergencies across state lines and the Uniform Emergency Volunteer Health Practitioners Act (UEVHPA).

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Maternal and Child Health Services

 A state official consulted with the Network in preparation for a public rulemaking hearing to determine the responsibilities of local public health agencies in the official’s state. A local public health agency expressed concern that the proposed rules did not address maternal and child health services as a stand-alone core service, but rather included maternal-child services under other categories of services.

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Sale of Items with BPA

A county health department that was considering a ban on the sale of products that contain the industrial chemical Bisphenol A, or BPA, requested guidance on the topic.

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Outbreaks and Raw Milk

A health official investigating an outbreak of a bacterial infection in his region contacted the Network for help to determine the statutory authority of his local government to address the cause of the outbreak.

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ACA Community Health Assessments for Nonprofit Hospitals

A public health practitioner with a local health department recently contacted the Network with questions regarding the responsibility of non-profit hospitals to perform community health assessments that are filed with the state health department

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HIPAA, Privacy Rules and Communicable Diseases

A public health practitioner at a state health department contacted the Network because of concerns about effectively carrying out the department’s public health surveillance and investigations while still applying HIPAA privacy regulations.

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Enforcement of Bans on Trans Fats

The Network responded to a request from a public health practitioner regarding the enforcement of a ban on trans fats in her community.

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Newborn Screening and Health Insurance Laws

The Network was contacted over concern that an Arizona bill, if enacted, would affect the screening and potential treatment of newborns under the state newborn screening law for congenital metabolic disorders and hearing loss.

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Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act and Federal Funding

The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) recently contacted the Network regarding the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, which reauthorized the National School Lunch Act and the Child Nutrition Act.

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Tobacco Control Definition of Tobacco Products

A county public health director and a public health nurse asked the Network for assistance updating a county tobacco retail ordinance to reflect changes to a statewide tobacco control law.

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Funding Alternatives for Accreditation Programs

The Network has received several requests from local, state and tribal public health officials navigating the process of their health agency receiving national accreditation.

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Immigrants and Immunizations

A general counsel with a state department of health contacted the Network requesting information on whether federal law requires that immigrants entering the United States have specific immunizations.

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Alcohol Labeling

An official with a state department of health contacted the Network requesting information on whether existing federal law preempts a state legislature from adding labels warning about negative health consequences of alcohol products for human consumption.

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Consolidation and Shared Services

A local public health official and a member of a local board of health from Wisconsin contacted the Network for Public Health Law about a potential merger of public health services.

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Distributing Information on Food Borne Illness Outbreaks

An official from a county public health department recently asked the Network for information on how to properly distribute the results of epidemiological investigations on food borne illness outbreaks to local restaurants and patrons.

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