February 2014—Public Health Law News
From the Public Health Law Program
Office for State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Office for State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- CDC Public Health Law Program Externship. The CDC Externship in Public Health Law consists of 9–14 weeks of professional work experience, for academic credit, with CDC’s Public Health Law Program in Atlanta, Georgia. The program features rolling start and completion dates throughout the academic year. It exposes law students to the public health field, allowing for exploration of the critical role law plays in advancing public health goals. The unpaid externship is open to second and third year law students who are interested in exploring careers in public health law. Participants must receive academic credit. Applications for the summer 2014 program must be submitted by February 28, 2014; fall 2014 applications must be submitted by May 31, 2014; and spring 2014 applications must be submitted by November 1, 2014. Find more information and apply for the externship program.
- Job Opening. The Hopi Health Care Center, Administrative Services Division, is recruiting for a health system administrator (COO). This is a permanent, full-time position located in Polacca, Arizona. The COO will serve as a member of the healthcare delivery system’s management group to effectively meet clinical standards and achieve the best patient care possible. The application period closes on Friday, February 21, 2013. Find more information and apply for the position.
- National Association of County and City Health Officials 2014 Preparedness Summit.The 2014 Preparedness Summit will take place April 1–4, 2014, in Atlanta, Georgia. The event will provide one of the only cross-disciplinary learning opportunities in the field. The diverse range of attendees will include professionals working in all levels of government (local, state, and federal), emergency management, volunteer organizations, and healthcare coalitions. Find more information and register for the 2014 Preparedness Summit.
- Webinar: Update on Nurse Triage Line Project. On January 22, 2014, the National Association of County and City Health Officials hosted a webinar 1) explaining how a coordinated network of telephone triage lines may be useful during a severe pandemic; 2) identifying legal issues and concerns that may be associated with using such a triage network in an emergency; and 3) discussing possible solutions for resolving issues and concerns. Find more information and access the archived webinar.
- 2014 Public Health Law Conference. The 2014 Public Health Law Conference will take place October 16–17, 2014, in Atlanta, Georgia. The conference will gather public health and legal experts from across the country to examine and discuss today’s critical challenges in public health law. Find more information about the conference and learn how to get the early bird registration rate.
- Menus assessing state prescription drug overdose laws. The CDC Public Health Law Program is pleased to release several menus assessing state prescription drug overdose laws: Menu of State Prescription Drug Identification Laws [PDF 332KB]; Menu of Pain Management Clinic Regulation [PDF 235KB]; and Menu of State Laws Related to Prescription Drug Overdose Emergencies [PDF 176KB]. These resources are designed to provide a picture of some of the legal and regulatory strategies states have used to address prescription drug misuse, abuse, and overdose. These menus were created through a partnership between CDC's Public Health Law Program and National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.
- ERISA issue brief. This issue brief is a summary of responses to technical assistance requests received by the CDC Public Health Law Program regarding the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) and its relationship to health benefit plans and state laws that address health system transformation. Find more information and read the ERISA Issue Brief [PDF - 272KB].
- State diabetes costs report. The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) released States Address the Costs of Diabetes: a 50-State Budget Survey for Fiscal Year 2013, updating NCSL’s 50-state analysis of state diabetes budgets, tracking state and federal spending and appropriations on diabetes activities. Find more information and access the report [PDF - 188KB].
- LawAtlas maps. LawAtlas, part of Public Health Law Research, a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation based at Temple University, has published four new interactive LawAtlas maps: Medical Marijuana Laws for Patients; Communicable Disease Intervention Protocol; Insurance Billing Practices for Sensitive Health Services: Provider Immunity; and Insurance Billing for Sensitive Health Services: Limits on 3rd Party Billing. Find more information about LawAtlas and access other Public Health Law Research publications.
- Two new modules of the Model Aquatic Health Code. Two new modules of the Model Aquatic Health Code (MAHC) have been revised following public comment. MAHC is a science-based guidance document to help health departments reduce risk of drowning, chemical poisoning, and outbreaks at pools and other aquatic venues in their jurisdictions. The full version of the MAHC will be available for a final round of public comment in spring 2014. Interested stakeholders are encouraged to start compiling comments on the revised modules now. Find more information and access the new modules.
- Medical Countermeasures Authorities Q&A. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act of 2013 (PAHPRA) Medical Countermeasure Authorities: FDA Questions and Answer for Public Health Preparedness and Response to Stakeholders to respond to questions raised by public health stakeholders about PAHPRA’s amendments to the emergency use authorization authority and establishment of new authorities related to the emergency use of medical countermeasures during chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear emergencies. Find more information and access the FDA’s MCM Q&A [PDF - 762KB].
- Free e-learning resource on environmental public health. The National Association of County and City Health Officials has developed an Environmental Health Primer, a free e-learning resource that provides an overview of environmental public health, as well as modules on climate change, community environmental health assessments, the Environmental Public Health Performance Standards, and working with the media. Find more information and access the free e-learning resource.
- ASTHO 2014 State Legislative and Regulatory Prospectus. The Association of State and Territorial Health Officers (ASTHO) has released the 2014 State Legislative and Regulatory Prospectus. To provide an overview of the issues affecting state health agencies and public health, ASTHO reviewed available pre-filed bills and surveyed the state health agency legislative liaisons regarding priorities and issues they expect their legislatures to address in the coming year. The prospectus summarizes ASTHO’s findings and outlines emerging and ongoing public health issues to watch in the state legislatures for 2014. Find more information and download the 2014 State Legislative and Regulatory Prospectus.
- Navajo Nation: Navajo Nation hikes sales taxes on ‘junk foods,’ makes healthy food choices tax-free
Food Safety News (02/03/2014) Dan FlynnOn January 30, 2014, the Navajo Nation Council passed a law restructuring the Navajo Nation’s food sales tax system in efforts to encourage healthier food choices. Previously, all foods were subject to a five percent sales tax. Under the new law, nutritious foods such as seeds, nuts, fresh fruits, and vegetables carry no sales tax, but so called “junk foods” and all sugar-sweetened beverages will be taxed at seven percent, two percentage points higher than before.The higher tax rate applies to all snacks which are high in fat, sugar, and sodium but low in essential nutrient. Cookies, chips, candy, and pastries will all be subject to the higher tax rate.“Each one of us here has a relative that’s diabetic, and we face that fact every single day,” said Council Delegate Danny Simpson. Diabetes is about 2.3 times more common within the Navajo Nation than in areas outside of the Navajo Nation.The additional tax revenue is earmarked for a Community Wellness Development Project Fund, which will finance a variety of wellness-related venues including parks, swimming pools, walking, running, and bike trails, and community gardens.[Editor’s note: Find more information about the Navajo Nation’s Healthy Diné Nation Act of 2013 [PDF - 262KB].]
- West Virginia: One month after toxic spill, West Virginians face ‘crisis of confidence’
New York Times (02/09/2014) Trip GabrielOn January 9, 2014, up to 5,000 gallons of an industrial chemical used in coal processing seeped from a ruptured storage take into the Elk River, near Charleston, West Virginia. The spill contaminated the drinking water of 300,000 people across several counties.The chemical, 4-methylcylohexane methanol, or MCHM, was released from a 35,000-gallon tank owned by Freedom Industries. According to the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists, MCHM smells like licorice; it can cause headaches, eye and skin irritation, and difficulty breathing from prolonged exposure at high concentrations.Since the spill was identified, a ban was placed on the water and then lifted, only to have schools closed when the chemical was suspected in water again. Currently, MCHM levels in the water are reportedly safe, but citizens, frustrated and confused by the bans, are demanding answers and requesting legislation to prevent such spills in the future.“If one smells the odor, people know the chemical is in the water. It’s difficult for a lot of people to drink it even if they agree with the science behind it,” said Dr. Rahul Gupta, director of the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department.Policy analysts are hopeful that the crisis will lead to positive changes in West Virginia’s environmental regulations laws. “Typical regulatory legislation in West Virginia looks for a good headline, but when you read through it, there are all these loopholes,” said Marybeth Beller, a political scientist at Marshall University in Hunting, West Virginia. Beller also noted that the current situation is different because there is a “sustained outrage,” and the spill occurred in the state’s largest city during an election year.[Editor’s note: Find more information about the January 9, 2014, Chemical spill in West Virginia and MCHM.]
- Colorado: Concerns about tracking instances of driving under influence of marijuanaColorado marijuana legalization’s impact on stoned driving unknown
Denver Post (02/10/2014) John Ingold
- Connecticut: Parents of children with special needs petition legislature for assistanceParents to lawmakers: Where will our children live when we die?
CT News Junkie (02/07/2014) Christine Stuart
- Florida: Legislature looks at creating statewide telemedicine standards
Florida lawmakers to explore telemedicine
Tampa Bay Times (02/09/2014) Kathleen McGrory
- New York: Concerns that SAFE Act reporting requirements will discourage treatment
Catholic bishops: NY Safe Act gun reporting rules threaten services for mentally ill
Times Union (02/06/2014) Casey Seiler
[Editor’s note: Find more information and read New York’s SAFE Act.]
- Oregon: Bill would create limited legal immunity for underage drinkers
Bill would give immunity to underage drinkers seeking medical help
Statesman Journal (02/06/2014) Carol McAlice Currie
[Editor’s note: Find more information and read Oregon House Bill 4094.]
- National: Tribes to prosecute crimes committed in Indian Country by non-Indians
New law offers protection to abused Native American women
Washington Post (02/08/2014) Sari Horwitz
[Editor’s note: Find more information about the Violence Against Woman Act Reauthorization 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Tribes’ Pilot Projectimplementing the new law on three pilot reservations.]
- California: Employer did not owe a preconception legal duty to employee’s childElsheref v. Applied Materials, Inc.
Court of Appeals of California, Sixth District
Case No. H038333
Opinion by Justice Eugene M. Premo
- Federal: No qualified immunity for lab supervisor in falsified drug testing caseJones v. Han
United States District Court, District of Massachusetts
Case No. 13-11196FDS
Opinion by District Judge F. Dennis Saylor
- Federal: Red Cross not liable for nerve damage allegedly sustained while giving bloodRoss v. American Red Cross
United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit
Case No. 12-4312
Opinion by Judge Julia Smith Gibbons
- Federal: California’s law on sexual orientation change efforts does not violate First AmendmentPickup v. Brown
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
Case Nos. 12-17681, 13-15023
Opinion by Judge Susan Graber
“Each one of us here has a relative that’s diabetic, and we face that fact every single day,” said Navajo Nation Council Delegate Danny Simpson on the Navajo Nation’s new tax on unhealthy foods.
About Public Health Law News
The Public Health Law News is published the third Thursday of each month except holidays, plus special issues when warranted. It is distributed only in electronic form and is free of charge.
The News is published by the Public Health Law Program in the Office for State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support.
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