May 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 fall 2014 program must be submitted by May 31, 2014, and spring 2015 applications must be submitted by November 1, 2014. Find more information and apply for the externship program.
- Health Law & Policy Summer Institute at American University Washington College of Law. The Seventh Annual Health Law & Policy Summer Institute will run from June 16–28, 2014, at American University Washington College of Law in Washington, DC. The flexible curriculum offers day and evening courses on health care law and bioethics. In addition, the university is offering a partially online course on the intersection between epidemiology and the law that will run June 14–July 25. Many of the courses are open to non-attorneys. Register by June 1. Find more information by contacting Matt Pierce by email or phone at 202-895-4518, or by visiting the Washington College of Law website.
- O’Neill Institute summer programs. The O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University will present two summer 2014 programs: 1) Emerging Issues in Food and Drug Law and 2) U.S. Health Reform—The Affordable Care Act. The summer programs convene leading practitioners, policymakers, advocates and academics in food and drug law, and U.S. healthcare reform for a series of interactive lectures, panel discussions, and case studies. Held during consecutive weeks, July 14–18 (Emerging Issues in Food and Drug Law) and July 21–25 (U.S. Health Reform—The Affordable Care Act), interested participants may attend one or both programs. The final registration deadline is June 15, 2014. Find more information and apply for the summer 2014 programs.
- 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.
The Public Health Law Program, in partnership with the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, has created menus summarizing some legal strategies states have used to address prescription drug misuse, abuse, and overdose. The Public Health Law Program has added the following new menu to its prescription drug menu library:
- Menu of Tamper-Resistant Prescription Form Requirements: An inventory of various state laws aimed at inhibiting diversion of prescription drugs by establishing requirements for tamper-resistant prescription forms [PDF 506KB]
Social impact bonds (SIBs) are pay-for-success arrangements that can be used to address public health issues such as asthma and infant mortality. SIBs are used as financing mechanisms to raise upfront funding from private investors for social and public health preventative interventions. The Public Health Law Program has released the SIBs Resource Package to provide public health practitioners and individuals interested in healthcare finance with an overview of SIBs and how they can be used to promote public health.
- Social Impact Bonds Issue Brief. A descriptive overview of social impact bonds, new financing mechanisms used to attract private investment for public health initiatives. Find more information and download Public Health Law and Policy Innovations: Social Impact Bonds.
- Research Anthology. This Public Health Law Program Research Anthology is intended to provide a starting point for further exploration of SIBs. The Research Anthology includes articles, technical guides, and other materials selected to account for the different perspectives, roles, and responsibilities of parties involved in SIBs, existing and potential applications of SIBs, and issues raised by SIBs. Find more information and download the SIBs research anthology [PDF 299KB].
- Presentation on Social Impact Bonds. This presentation provides a detailed introduction of SIBs. It includes an explanation of social impact bond structure and function, an outline of important considerations involved in SIB programs, examples of existing SIB applications for issues such as recidivism, homelessness, asthma, and early childhood outcomes, and a selection of current and proposed laws related to social impact bonds or other pay-for-success programs. Find more information and download the SIBs presentation.
- Webinar on tribal public health law resources. Public Health Law Program and the Network for Public Health Law will co-host “Advancing Tribal Public Health Through Law: Legal Technical Assistance and Resources for Tribes and Tribal-Serving Organizations,” a webinar on tribal public health law resources on Thursday, May 29, 2014, 2:00–3:00 p.m. (EDT). The speakers include staff from the National Indian Health Board, CDC’s Public Health Law Program, the Network for Public Health Law, and the National Congress for American Indians. Participants will be able to ask questions of the speakers about public health law-related issues and needs of tribal communities. Find more information andregister for the webinar.
- Selected federal legal authorities pertinent to public health emergencies. The Selected Federal Legal Authorities Pertinent to Public Health, originally published in 2009, has been updated to reflect the legislative and regulatory changes of the past five years. Public health professionals can use this document as a brief overview of the types of legal authorities granted to the federal government to prepare for and respond to public health emergencies. Find more information and read Selected Federal Legal Authorities Pertinent to Public Health Emergencies [PDF 362KB].
- Affordable Care Act website for local health departments. The National Association of County and City Health Officials has launched a new health reform Website for local health departments (LHDs) to help LHD leaders and staff better understand exactly how changes resulting from the Affordable Care Act will impact them and their work. Find more information and access the website.
- Webinar on law enforcement exceptions to HIPAA privacy. Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists will host a webinar led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) titled Joint Law Enforcement—Public Health Investigations: The HIPAA Privacy Rule and Law Enforcement Exceptions to the Rule. The webinar will take place on Tuesday, May 20, 2014, from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. (EDT). The webinar will describe FBI roles and responsibilities for investigating the possibility of a criminal or terrorism nexus for patients with unusual diagnoses (e.g., anthrax, plague, brucellosis). The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule protects patient information; however the Department of Health and Human Services specifies certain law enforcement exceptions to the Rule. An overview of the law enforcement exceptions to HIPAA will be provided as well as discussion about when it is appropriate to contact law enforcement and who to contact. Find more information and register for the webinar.
- New Community Guide toolbox. A new toolbox is available to help public health practitioners and community-based organizations apply evidence-based intervention strategies from the Community Preventive Services Task Force. The Community Guide Toolbox contains more than twenty tools for putting the recommendations found in The Community Guide into practice. These tools can help public health professionals conduct assessments and evaluations, engage stakeholders, execute a project plan, and create successful community-based programs. Find more information and download the toolbox.
- Tennessee: Tennessee enacts law to incarcerate pregnant women
Huffington Post (04/30/2014) Laura BassettBeginning July 1, 2014, Tennessee may bring criminal charges against women who use drugs during pregnancy, if the drugs cause harm to their babies.The law is intended to encourage mothers to seek treatment; mothers who seek treatment from one of the state’s treatment programs would avoid criminal charges. While Tennessee has 177 addiction treatment facilities, it is unclear how many are equipped to provide prenatal care.The bill incited national outcry from advocates for pregnant women. “Today the Tennessee governor has made it a crime to carry a pregnancy to term if you struggle with addiction or substance abuse. This deeply misguided law will force those women who need health care the most into the shadows. Pregnant women with addictions need better access to health care, not jail,” said Alexa Kolbi-Molinas, a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union Reproductive Freedom Project.Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam says the effects of the law will be closely monitored. I understand the concerns about this bill, and I will be monitoring the impact of the law through regular updates with the court system and health professionals,” said Haslam.[Editor’s note: Find more information about Tennessee’s SB 1391 [PDF 34KB].]
- Minnesota: Minn. House passes newborn-blood sample bill
CBS (05/01/2014)The Minnesota House passed a bill allowing the state to retain infant blood samples that are collected at birth to test for more than fifty-six illnesses, including congenital heart disease and sickle cell anemia. Until 2011, the blood samples were stored pursuant Minnesota Screening Program.In 2011, the Minnesota Supreme Court found that the state’s policy of keeping newborn blood samples violated the state’s genetic privacy act because parent’s had not given permission for the state to retain their child’s genetic material. More than one million blood samples stored under the Minnesota screening program were destroyed in adherence with that court opinion and a derivative settlement.Under the proposed law, which passed the Minnesota House 69–58, sale of the genetic data is prohibited and parents would be allowed to opt-out of the program.Patient privacy advocates fear the proposed law is not protective enough. “This is about who owns a baby’s DNA; who has first dibs on it; who has primary control over it. Our genetic privacy hangs in the balance,” said Twila Brase, co-founder of Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom and registered nurse specializing in public health.Dr. Robert M. Jacobson, president of the Minnesota Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and a pediatrician at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, feels the bill is critical to public health and patient care. “This bill positions Minnesota to save as many lives as possible while upholding parents’ rights to refuse testing, request destruction of test results, or both,” Jacobson said. “Restoring the program protects the health of children born now and in the future.”
- National: Justices back rule limiting coal pollution
New York Times (04/29/2014) Coral DavenportOn April 29, 2014, the United States Supreme Court upheld the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) authority to regulate coal plant smog that drifts across twenty-eight state lines to the East Coast in EPA v. EME Homer City Generation, LP.The ruling, written by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, bolsters President Obama’s efforts to reduce pollution from coal-fired power plants and is one in a series of legal opinions affecting the coal industry. Also on April 29, 2014, another federal court ordered the EPA to produce a new nationwide regulation to lower smog pollution from coal-fired power plants and other sources of large-scale pollution.The EPA is expected to release proposed changes to the Clean Air Act regulation to cut emissions of carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas scientists have linked to global climate change. In the United States, coal plants release the majority of greenhouse gas emissions.The opinion received criticism from some representatives. “This is just the latest blow to jobs and affordable energy,” Representative Fred Upton, of Michigan and the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Representative Edward Whitfield, of Kentucky, said in a statement.Others are more hopeful for the opinion’s precedent and effect on the environment. “Today’s Supreme Court decision is a resounding victory for public health and a key component of EPA’s efforts to make sure all Americans have clean air to breathe. The Court’s finding also underscores the importance of basing the agency’s efforts on strong legal foundations and sound science.” Gina McCarthy, the EPA administrator, said.[Editor’s note: Find more information and read EPA v. EME Homer City Generation, LP [PDF 266KB] (U.S. Apr. 29, 2014).]
- Arizona: State changes definition of “breech birth” allowing midwives’ attendanceRole of Arizona’s midwives expanding, with some controversy, under new rules
Cronkite News (05/02/2014) Rachel Leingang
[Editor’s note: Find more information and read Arizona’s HB 2247 [PDF 21KB].]
- California: Woman’s fifty-nine homelessness-related arrests call law into questionShe’s homeless and likes it that way
Los Angeles Times (04/29/2014) Gale Holland
- Florida: New law requires children under five must ride in safety seatFollowing years of debate, Senate approves car seat bill; awaits governor’s signature
Miami Herald (04/29/2014) Mary Ellen Klas
[Editor’s note: Read Florida’s House Bill 225.]
- Iowa: New HIV law would create tiered criminal sentencing for HIV transmissionIowa Legislature passes repeal of law criminalizing HIV
RH Reality Check (05/02/2014) Teddy Wilson
[Editor’s note: Read Iowa’s SF 2297.]
- Massachusetts: State seeks to make new prescription drug illegalMassachusetts cannot ban FDA-approved painkiller, judge rules
Washington Post (04/15/2014) Brady Dennis
[Editor’s note: Find more information and read Zogenix, Inc. v. Patrick [PDF 17KB], CIV.A. 14-11689-RWZ, (D. Mass. Apr. 15, 2014) (holding state cannot ban drug deemed safe and effective by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration).]
- West Virginia: EPA investigates inhalation precautions after chemical spillEPA to gauge safety of inhaling WVa spill chemical
Intelligence News-Register (05/01/2014)
- National: FDA releases proposed e-cigarette rulesWhere there’s smoke
The Economist (05/03/2014)
[Editor’s note: Find more information and read the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s proposed rules for electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes). On May 5, 2014, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) released Alternative nicotine products: electronic cigarettes, reporting that thirty-three states have banned the sale of e-cigarettes to minors. Find more information and read NCSL’s report.]
- National: FDA approves new test for detecting cervical human papilloma virusAlternative to pap test is approved by FDA
New York Times (04/24/2014) Andrew Pollack
- Illinois: Operation of feral cat colonies allowed within Cook County, IllinoisCounty of Cook v. Village of Bridgeview
Appellate Court of Illinois, First District, Sixth Division
Case No. 1-12-2164
Opinion by Justice Shelvin Louise Marie Hall
- New York: No rational basis for $0.06 per taxi fare tax to navigate health actAhmed v. City of New York
Supreme Court, New Your County
Case Nos. 101692/13, 101762/13, 100019/14, Motion Seq. No 001
Opinion by Judge Margaret A. Chan
- Pennsylvania: ‘Sewage sludge’ not necessarily ‘normal agricultural operations’Gilbert v. Synagro Central, LLC
Superior Court of Pennsylvania
Case No. 119 MDA 2013
Opinion by. Judge Christine L. Donohue
- Tennessee: State regulatory authority can order self divestment of water utilityLaurel Hills Condominiums Prop. Owners Assoc. v. Tennessee Regulatory Authority
Court of Appeals of Tennessee, at Nashville
Case No. M2013-01392-COA-R12-CV
Opinion by Judge Andy D. Bennett
- Federal: Farm’s safety auditors may owe duty to listeria outbreak victimsGilbert v. Frontera Produce, Ltd.
United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Shreveport Division
Case No. 12-2754
Opinion by Judge Tom Stagg