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August 2012 - CDC Public Health Law News

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Hungry for School Lunch! Back to School Special Edition

Thursday, August 16, 2012

From the Public Health Law Program,
Office for State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support,
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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  1. Public Health Law and Ethics Course, August 27–December 5, 2012. The University of Vermont is offering a 3-hour online course examining the government's authority, at various jurisdictional levels, to improve the health of the general population within societal limits and norms. Professor William E. Wargo will teach the course from August 27 through December 5, 2012. The course is open to graduate, post-baccalaureate, continuing education students and professionals. Those interested in registering for the course should request instructor permission via e-mail at The last day to register for the course is August 31, 2012. For more information, registration assistance, and the course syllabus, please visit the Public Health Law and Ethics course page.
  2. Call for Nominations: Foundations of Health Law. The American Society of Law, Medicine & Ethics (ASLME) and the Association of American Law Schools Section of Law, Medicine & Health Care seeks nominations of foundational works of scholarship in health law, very broadly defined, published in English before December 31, 2010. ASLME intends to publish an edited volume in an academic press. Nominations must be accompanied by a brief description, not to exceed 300 words, of the importance of the scholarly work, addressed to: Ted Hutchinson, Executive Director, American Society of Law, Medicine & Ethics, 765 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02445. The first round of nominations will close on December 31, 2012. Find more information about the call for nominations.
  3. Job Opening: ChangeLab Solutions seeks an attorney/vice president to lead its tobacco control programs. Applicants must be a have a JD and be a current member of a state bar in good standing, preferably in California. To apply please send a cover letter, resume, list of three references, and a pertinent writing sample via e-mail to Include "Attorney/VP—Tobacco Control Programs" in the subject line of the e-mail. Applications must be received by August 27, 2012. Find more information about ChangeLab Solutions and the Attorney/Vice President position.
  4. Job Opening: The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation seeks an in-house attorney. The attorney will provide legal counsel for the Foundation in all of its charitable activities, including the childhood health portfolio [PDF - 143KB]. Applicants must have a bachelor's degree and JD from a US-accredited college or university and be admitted to practice in at least one US jurisdiction. The position is located in Austin, Texas. Find more information about the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and apply for the position.
  5. Detailed agenda available for the 2012 Public Health Law Conference. The detailed agenda for the 2012 Public Health Law Conference is now available. The Network for Public Health Law is hosting "2012 Public Health Law Conference: Practical Approaches to Critical Challenges," October 10–12, 2012 at the Loews Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia. Early registration at a discounted rate is open through September 12, 2012. The conference will include several concurrent sessions focusing on different public health law topics, such as prevention and promotion at the community level, changes and challenges to public health legal infrastructure, challenges to public health authority, and others. Find more information, read the agenda [PDF - 369KB] and register for the conference.

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Legal Tools

  1. The CDC Public Health Law Program is proud to announce the release of A Menu of Selected Provisions in Healthcare-Associated Infection Laws [PDF - 2.33MB], a resource for lawyers on state statutory provisions related to healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). The menu is released in tandem with The Emergence of Law to Address Healthcare-Associated Infections [PDF - 243KB], an overview for health lawyers who seek to understand the landscape of HAI laws and policies in order to advise healthcare clients, public health departments, and consumers regarding their responsibilities for HAI prevention. The article and menu were created through a partnership between CDC's Public Health Law Program and Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion, within CDC's National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases.
  2. The Fluoride Legislative User Information Database (FLUID) is a comprehensive database cataloguing historical information about legal cases and policies in US courts and jurisdictions regarding community water fluoridation. FLUID was initiated and is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Division of Oral Health. The database was completed by and is maintained through collaboration between the Health Law and Policy Program on Law and Government at the American University's Washington College of Law. Project staff research pertinent case law via Westlaw and other online legal search engines, and state and local policies are cataloged via various individual state policy databases and Municode. FLUID is updated regularly. Find more information and access FLUID.
  3. The Council of State Governments has released its 2012 almanac of information about the states "The Book of the States." The book is available online and includes articles on topics such as state constitutional developments in 2011, Governors' state of the state addresses, and healthcare reform. Find more information and order a copy.

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Top Stories

  1. Massachusetts: Schools slow to provide head-injury records

    The Boston Globe (08/05/2012) Lisa Kocain

    Pursuant to a regulation passed in 2011, Massachusetts schools are required to report the number of students who sustained, or are suspected of sustaining, a head injury during a school athletic activity. While schools are required to report the number of concussions for the 2011-2012 school year, only 40 districts of about 430 have reported their numbers.

    The reporting requirement is part of a larger program to track, reduce, and prevent brain injuries among youth. Failure to report could potentially undermine such efforts. Neal McGrath, a neuropsychologist and the clinical director of Sports Concussion New England described the need for reporting, saying "It's certainly a concern if schools are not following the law to report their numbers because that data is extremely important to us from a public health perspective, for us to understand the number of concussions schools are dealing with." McGrath's Brookline, Massachusetts practice provides concussion consulting to schools.

    School administrators and officials have described various reasons for the lack of reporting, the primary reason being confusion about when the data is due, since the regulation has no fixed deadline. "The lack of a firm stated and enforced deadline is a concern to the [Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association] MIAA. All of our regulations for instance, as you probably could guess, have strict deadlines," said Paul Wetzel, the MIAA's spokesperson.

    Coaches and public health officials, however, remain hopeful for the regulation's success; "I think it will be useful in the sense that it might have coaches look at how they're conducting practices, how they're having equipment fitted," said athletic director and head football coach of Marshfield High School in Marshfield, MA, Lou Silva.

    Lauren Smith, medical director for the Massachusetts Department of Health, is also optimistic. "I think we have to be prepared that over the next several years we might actually see an increase in the number of concussions that are reported. That doesn't mean that all of our hard work isn't paying off. It may just mean people are much more aware of what concussions are and how potentially life threatening they can be," said Smith.

    [Editor's note: Read the Massachusetts regulation [PDF - 203KB] and Head Strong: Guidance for implementing the Massachusetts Regulations on head injuries and concussions in school athletics [PDF - 848KB], which was promulgated by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Public Health in January, 2012.]

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Briefly Noted

  1. California: Cease and desist orders allege non-doctors made medical decisions
    Administrators ordered to stop making patient care decisions
    California Watch (08/06/2012) Christina Jewett
  2. Minnesota: Department of health releases alert for pertussis epidemic
    Whooping cough cases on the rise
    Detroit Lakes Online (08/06/2012) Anna Erikson
  3. Ohio: Swine flu keeps some counties from going 'whole hog'
    Swine flu concerns: Cuyahoga County Fair keeps pigs away for first time in history (08/06/2012) Brandon Blackwell
  4. Ohio: Injured woman challenges state's definition of 'spectator at equine event'
    Woman injured by horse fights state law limiting lawsuits (08/05/2012)
  5. National: American Bakers Association opposes proposed sugar reporting
    Bakers oppose FDA research into labeling of added sugars
    Food Navigator USA (08/03/2012) Caroline Scott-Thomas
  6. National: Aurora shooting brings questions of therapists' duty to report patients
    Therapists walk fine line in reporting violent plans
    CNN (08/02/2012) Danielle Dellorto
  7. National: Medical tech charged, potentially infected patients await tests
    Thousands await testing for hepatitis by 'infector'
    New York Times (08/01/2012) Katharine Q. Seelye
  8. National: Tax loopholes for cigars may drive shift in smoking habits
    Tobacco companies profit from loophole, market small cigars
    USA Today (08/06/2012) Liz Szabo
  9. China: Authorities detain nearly 2,000 in national counterfeit drug sting
    China's fake drugs crackdown results in arrests of nearly 2,000
    Huffington Post (08/05/2012)

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Court Opinions

  1. New Jersey: State Board of Mortuary Science has authority to amend rules
    In the matter of Challenge of New Jersey State Funeral Directors Association
    Docket No. A-0177-11T2
    Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division
    Decided July 26, 2012
    Opinion by Judge Jane Grall
  2. Federal: Complaint dismissed in case of alleged defamation in medical journal
    Harkonen v. Fleming
    Case No. C 12-1267 SI
    United States District Court for the Northern District of California
    Decided July 24, 2012
    Opinion by District Judge Susan Illston
  3. Federal: Preliminary injunction granted in private business' ACA women's coverage challenge
    Newland v. Sebelius
    Civil Action No. 1:12-cv-1123-JLK
    United States District Court, District of Colorado
    Filed July 27, 2012
    Order by District Judge John L. Kane
  4. Federal: Board of health off the hook in seafood condemnation case
    Comeau v. Town of Webster
    Civil Action No. 11-40208-TSH
    United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts
    Decided July 24, 2012
    Opinion by District Judge Timothy S. Hillman
  5. Federal: Summary Judgment upheld for destruction of blood and saliva samples case
    On-Site Screening, Inc. v. United States
    Civil Action No. 11-2895
    United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
    Decided July 25, 2012 Opinion by Judge John Daniel Tinder

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Quotation of the Month: Tim Fowler, President of the Cuyahoga County Fair Board, Berea, Ohio

"We do regret the decision, but we definitely think it is in the best interest...There are other animals here. There's still plenty to see at the county fair," Tim Fowler said of the Cuyahoga County Fair Board's proactive decision to ban pigs from the county fair.

About Public Health Law News

The CDC 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 CDC Public Health Law Program in the Office for State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support.


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News content is selected solely on the basis of newsworthiness and potential interest to readers. CDC and HHS assume no responsibility for the factual accuracy of the items presented from other sources. The selection, omission, or content of items does not imply any endorsement or other position taken by CDC or HHS. Opinions expressed by the original authors of items included in the News, or persons quoted therein, are strictly their own and are in no way meant to represent the opinion or views of CDC or HHS. References to products, trade names, publications, news sources, and non-CDC Web sites are provided solely for informational purposes and do not imply endorsement by CDC or HHS. Legal cases are presented for educational purposes only, and are not meant to represent the current state of the law. The findings and conclusions reported in this document are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of CDC or HHS. The News is in the public domain and may be freely forwarded and reproduced without permission. The original news sources and the CDC Public Health Law News should be cited as sources. Readers should contact the cited news sources for the full text of the articles.

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