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November 2014—Public Health Law News

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

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In This Edition

Announcements—Webinars, Award, Journal Articles

Webinar—Shifting Paradigms: Medical Ethics, Public Health Ethics . The American Health Lawyers Association and the Public Health Law Program are co-hosting a three-part webinar series that will give an overview of medical ethics, public health ethics, and the law and highlight ethical issues around patient safety and healthcare-associated infections. An interactive roundtable will enable participants to join in the discussion. The third webinar in the series will take place Tuesday, December 16, 2014, from 2:00 to 3:30 pm (EST) and will offer CLE credit.

Lifetime Achievement Award for Public Health Law Research Program Director. Scott Burris, JD, has been named the first recipient of the American Public Health Association (APHA) Law Section’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Public Health Law. Burris and his accomplishments were recognized at the annual Law Section reception on Monday, November 17, 2014, at the APHA Annual Meeting being held in New Orleans.

Journal article on graduated driver licensing decals. “Long-Term Changes in Crash Rates After Introduction of a Graduated Driver Licensing Decal Provision” was published November 2, 2014, in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. The article reports the results of an investigation of New Jersey’s Graduated Driver Licensing decal provision, passed in May 2010. The study found that the provision was associated with a sustained decline in intermediate driver crashes.

Aggressive Policing and the Mental Health of Young Urban Men, a study released October 16, 2014, in the American Journal of Public Health, found that young men in New York City who reported they were stopped and questioned by police also reported higher levels of trauma and stress associated with those experiences. The study also found disparities across races.

Tribal Code-writing Clinic. William Mitchell College of Law provides free code-writing and revision services for tribal nations. Students in the clinic work in teams of two or three under the supervision of a full-time Indian law professor to respond to specific requests pertaining to tribal codes (statutes), regulations, court rules, and other documents. Each project is custom-designed for the needs of the tribal nation. The clinic has a special emphasis on criminal law, but welcomes projects on any subject area. For more information about the Tribal Development Clinic, contact Professor Sarah Deer at

Legal Tools—Tribal Disease control, Hospital Presumptive Eligibility, Social Impact Bonds, More...

Tribal Infectious Disease Control Menu. [PDF 294KB] CDC’s Public Health Law Program has published an inventory of select tribal laws related to infectious disease control. The menu informs tribal public health practitioners, policy makers, and attorneys about tribes’ use of law as a tool to address infectious disease control.

Hospital presumptive eligibility resources. Hospital presumptive eligibility (hospital PE) is a policy option that allows hospitals to provide temporary Medicaid coverage to individuals likely to qualify for Medicaid. Effective January 2014, the Affordable Care Act expanded the scope of the policy to allow hospitals to make presumptive eligibility determinations in every state for all Medicaid-eligible populations. These resources summarize Medicaid hospital PE programs and can help public health practitioners and attorneys practicing in a hospital setting understand state hospital PE implementation options and how hospitals can expand presumptive eligibility to new populations.

Social Impact Bonds Issue Brief. [PDF 312KB] Following a wave of states turning to social impact bonds (SIBs) to help finance innovative public health initiatives, bills recently introduced in the US House of Representatives and the Senate, with bipartisan support, would authorize greater federal participation in states’ efforts to use SIBs to promote public health. As part of PHLP’s ongoing efforts to monitor the development and use of these innovative public health financing tools, PHLP created this issue brief to outline key provisions and authorities of the Social Impact Bond Act (HR 4885) and the Pay for Performance Act (S.2691).

Health reform FAQs. The Kaiser Family Foundation has released an interactive tool responding to frequently asked questions about health reform. Notable sections of the tool include marketplace eligibility, individual mandate, cost-sharing reductions, and renewing marketplace coverage for 2015.

Ebola Resources and Stories—CDC Updates/Advisories, Emergency Authorities, Ebola News Stories, More...

CDC Ebola updates. CDC offers current Ebola information for healthcare practitioners and civilians. Topics include signs and symptoms, transmission, risk of exposure, past and current outbreaks, diagnosis, and treatment information for Ebola.

CDC Health Advisory: Ebola. CDC released an official health advisory, Evaluating Patients for Possible Ebola Disease: Recommendations for Healthcare Personnel and Health Officials. Sign up for HAN email updates.

Selected federal legal authorities pertinent to public health emergencies. [PDF 282KB] Originally published in 2009, this document 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.

FAQ: Ebola Public Health Emergency Legal Preparedness and Response. The Network for Public Health Law has released a resource that provides answers to frequently asked questions about legal preparedness and response concerning Ebola, including screening and quarantine measures; federal, state and local powers; as well as legal protections for affected individuals and hospital workers.

Personal protective equipment training. On October 21, 2014, the Greater New York Hospital Association/1199SEIU Healthcare Education Project and the Partnership for Quality Care hosted an Ebola educational session for healthcare workers—both clinical and non-clinical—that included a personal protective equipment training video and other Ebola response-related resources.

Connecticut: Lawsuit alleged discrimination for perceived Ebola contamination
Girl, 7, barred from a Connecticut school over Ebola concerns goes back to class
New York Times   (10/31/2014)   Ariel Kaminer
[Editor’s note: Learn more about the suit’s settlement in School ‘Ebola Ban’ lawsuit settled; 3rd grader returns to class, from (11/4/2014) Brett Snider.]

Maine: Nurse’s monitoring period for Ebola ends. 
Maine Ebola nurse Kaci Hickox, free of monitoring says we must ‘get over this fear’
NBC News   (11/11/2014)   Erin McClam
[Editor’s note: The Maine Judicial Branch created a web page with information in the case of State of Maine Department of Health and Human Services v. Kaci Hickox, FORDC-CV-2014-36, including the Department of Health and Human Services’ petition and subsequent orders.]

New York: Protections and financial guarantees for Ebola outbreak aid workers
In New York, protections offered for medical workers joining Ebola fight
New York Times   (10/30/2014)   Marc Santora and Anemona Hartocollis

Texas: Settlement between family of deceased Ebola patient and hospital
Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan’s family has settled with Dallas hospital
Washington Post   (11/12/2014)   Justin Moyer

National: Pentagon instates strict Ebola monitoring for military personnel
Soldier or civilian, Ebola protocols not the same
Wall Street Journal   (10/31/2014)  
[Editor’s note: Read about the US Department of Defense’s Ebola response and guidelines for protecting military personnel assisting with the outbreak response.]

National: Civil liberties and public health overlap in Ebola response questions
The flu, TB and now Ebola: a rare legal remedy returns
New York Times   (10/26/2014)   Benjamin Weiser and J. David Goodman

Briefly Noted—Soda Tax, Nicotine Prohibition, Social Impact Bonds, More...

California: Berkeley passes one cent per ounce soda tax
Berkeley’s soda tax a sweet victory
Los Angeles Times   (11/6/2014)   Robin Abcarian
[Editor’s note: Read Berkeley, California’s Ballot Measure D, Imposing a General Tax on the Distribution of Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Products. [PDF 66KB]]

Massachusetts: Board proposed prohibition on tobacco and nicotine product sales
Local town may be first in nation to prohibit tobacco sales
MyFoxBoston   (10/28/2014)  
[Editor’s note: Read the Draft Regulation of the Westminster, Massachusetts Board of Health Prohibiting the Sale of Tobacco Products. [PDF 321KB]]

Massachusetts: State law requires insurers to make prices public in advance
How much is that MRI, really? Massachusetts shines a light
NPR   (11/05/2014)   Martha Bebinger
[Editor’s note: Read Massachusetts’s Act Improving the Quality of Health Care and Reducing Costs through Increased Transparency, Efficiency, and Innovation.]

South Carolina: Using social impact bonds to reduce premature births
Social impact bonds matter a lot in public health
Governing   (11/10/2014)   Michael Ollove
[Editor’s note: Read more about Social Impact Bonds (SIBs) [PDF 353KB] and recent federal SIBs legislation. [PDF 315KB]]

Texas: Town is first to ban hydraulic fracturing or ‘fracking’
Town in Texas becomes first to ban fracking
Salon   (11/05/2014)   Joanna Rothkopf
[Editor’s note: Read more about fracking on the US Environmental Protection Agency’s website.]

National: Interactive report shows Affordable Care Act largely successful
Is the Affordable Care Act working?
New York Times   (10/26/2014)

Feature Profile in Public Health Law-Interview with Professor Sarah Deer, William Mitchell College of Law

Interview with Sarah Deer

Professor of Law, William Mitchell College of Law

JD, University of Kansas School of Law; BA, University of Kansas

Tribe citizenship: 
Muscogee (Creek) Nation of Oklahoma

PHLN: Please describe your career path. 

Deer:  After law school, I worked for several years at the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Office on Violence Against Women. After leaving DOJ, I worked for six years for the Tribal Law and Policy Institute. I was offered a teaching job at William Mitchell in fall of 2009 and have been here ever since.

PHLN: What drew you to public health law practice, specifically your focus on violent crime against women and in Indian Country?

Deer: I have always been interested in women’s issues, and became particularly interested in gender violence as an undergraduate. I began to find an intersection with Indian law in law school, and when I learned about the high rate of sexual assault experienced by Native women, I decided that I wanted to devote my career to addressing the inequities in the legal system that leave many Native women without protection of law.

PHLN: As a group, why are American Indian and Alaska Native women particularly vulnerable?

Deer: There are many answers to this question, but at the core of the problem is a broken legal system. When people aren’t held accountable for their crimes, they feel free to commit more crimes.  Victims learn that the system won’t protect them, so they don’t report the crimes they experience. All of these factors lead to the high rate of sexual violence.

PHLN: What are your day-to-day job responsibilities?

Deer: My primary responsibility as a law professor is to teach. Each semester I teach at least two classes. I teach a class on tribal law every spring. I’ve also had the opportunity to teach feminist jurisprudence, a class that focuses on gender inequality. In addition, my responsibilities include scholarship (written articles and books) and service to the community.

PHLN: Do you perceive yourself as working in public health?

Deer: To some degree. As someone focused on the criminal justice system, I know how important physical evidence can be for a prosecutor building a case. I have learned so much from the forensic nursing community—particularly professionals who have developed victim-centered response protocols for responding to victims of sexual assault. The forensic exams often result in evidence that can be used in prosecution. While I’m not a healthcare professional, I believe sexual violence is a public health crisis—so while I’m a lawyer, I am seeking to address a public health crisis.

PHLN: You are the chairperson of the DOJ’s National Coordination Committee on the American Indian/Alaska Native Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner-Sexual Assault Response Team. Can you describe the committee and its purpose?

Deer: Created in 2011, the committee was tasked with developing recommendations for Attorney General Holder on improving the federal government’s response to adult and child victims of sexual violence in tribal nations. The committee consists of representatives from national tribal organizations five federal agencies, and experts in Alaska Native issues and medical forensic exams.

PHLN: What is your role within the committee?

Deer: I am the chair of the committee, so I convene the meetings in collaboration with DOJ’s Office of Victim’s of Crimes staff, and I help develop the agenda for each of our meetings. I also have taken the lead on some of the report writing itself. Thankfully, I have been working with a number of wonderful DOJ staff who have helped me along the way.

PHLN: On November 14, 2014, you will meet with US Attorney General Eric Holder to give the committee’s recommendations regarding the DOJ’s response to rape and sexual assault in Indian Country. What are some of those recommendations?

Deer: We are encouraging the DOJ to improve federal agency coordination and collaboration at the local level. Specifically, we recommend that each DOJ district establish written guidelines for sexual violence response and ensure that federal agencies participate in Multi-Disciplinary Teams and Sexual Assault Response Teams. 

PHLN: Why do the recommendations mention other federal entities than the DOJ?

Deer: The recommendations are directed at the DOJ, but at least two other agencies play a critical role in the response to sexual violence in Indian country. The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), housed in the Department of the Interior, provides numerous services and funding to tribal nations. The Indian Health Service (IHS), housed in the Department of Health and Human Services, provides health care or funding for health care in tribal communities. As such, we have at least three types of federal employees who might be tasked with responding to sexual assault in a particular community. We recommend better collaboration and coordination among the DOJ, BIA, and IHS. Some of this coordination is already happening, but we recommend that the collaborative approach be implemented across the country.

PHLN: Can you give an example of how interagency cooperation might improve circumstances for victims of sexual and domestic violence in Indian Country?

Deer: Surviving sexual violence is a traumatic experience. It is important that victims do not fall through the cracks of the system. If different agencies have different kinds of protocols, the victim might experience gaps or inconsistencies in the system’s response. If there is more coordination and communication across disciplines, we are hopeful that victims will feel more confident and secure in coming forward and receiving the support and care they deserve.

PHLN: What is forensic health care, and why is it important?

Deer: Forensic health care in the context of sexual assault is critical. Forensic nurses and physicians bridge the healthcare system and the criminal justice system. Sexual Assault Forensic Exams (SAFEs) provide more than just the collection of evidence to be used in a criminal case. The examiners are also trained to provide patient-centered care, which means that patients who report sexual violence are treated with compassion and respect. It is a highly specialized field that requires specialized training and testing to become certified.

PHLN: You were recently named a 2014 MacArthur Foundation fellow. Because the nominations are anonymous, and you didn’t know you were even being considered, what was your reaction when the MacArthur Foundation contacted you?

Deer: I was overwhelmed and emotional. I never expected anything like this to happen to me, so it took a while to sink in. 

PHLN: The fellowship comes with a no-strings-attached $625,000 stipend. Do you have any ideas on how you’ll use the stipend?

Deer: I will continue to address the issue of sexual assault in Indian country—that will remain my focus. But I’m also interested in focusing more directly on tribal law, specifically how tribal governments craft their own sexual assault laws so that cases can be prosecuted in tribal court. The stipend will allow me to do more research on tribal laws and help tribes that want to improve their existing laws.

PHLN: What other projects are you currently working on?

Deer: I am finishing a book manuscript about violence against Native women, and I’m spending more time in Oklahoma (where my tribe is) to learn more about the language and culture.

PHLN: How can individuals learn more about preventing and responding to sexual and domestic violence in Indian Country?

Deer: A national organization with a plethora of information is the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center. The women who work there have been at the forefront of local, national, and international activism to stop violence against Native women.

PHLN: If you weren’t working in public health law, what would you likely be doing?

Deer: That’s a hard question, because I think I would still be doing criminal law, which invariably links to public health law. But I also have a fascination with the fields of linguistics and criminology. If I were to go back to school, I would want to study linguistics. I’m fascinated by the wide variety of languages in our world and how different languages reveal different ways of thinking about the world around us.

PHLN: Have you read any good books lately?

Deer: Therapeutic Nations by Dian Million. 

PHLN: What are your hobbies?

Deer: I cross-stitch, I’m a Netflix binger. I enjoy watching documentaries, but I love some of the new shows like Orange is the New Black and House of Cards.

PHLN: Is there anything you would like to add?

Deer: Thank you for this opportunity. We should have more dialogue between lawyers and healthcare workers!

Public Health Law News Quiz

The first reader to correctly answer the Quiz question will be given a mini-public health law profile in the December 2014 edition of the News. Entries should be emailed to with “PHL Quiz” as the subject heading. Entries without the heading will not be considered. Good luck!

Public Health Law News Quiz Question: November 2014

According to the November 2014 Announcements, when are applications for the Public Health Law Program spring 2015 internships and externships due?

Public Health Law News Quiz Question October 2014 Winner!

Martin “Marty” Maynard

September Question: According to the October 2014 Announcements, when are applications for the Public Health Law Program spring 2015 internships and externships due?

Winning response: 

November 1, 2014

Employment organization and job title:
Risk Manager for the Town of Windsor and the Windsor Public Schools, Windsor, Connecticut

A brief explanation of your job:
I am responsible for the insured (liability and property) and self-insured (worker compensation) programs for the Town of Windsor, Connecticut. I provide information and resources to our first responders including Emergency Medical Services (EMS), fire, police, and health departments from a regulatory perspective as well as a liability assessment. I assist with safety training for those and all other departments.

Master of science in industrial safety, University of Central Missouri

Bachelor of science in fire science, University of Central Missouri

Favorite section of the News:
I enjoy the “Briefly Noted” section to review articles that might pertain to my organization’s departments. I also like reviewing “Court Opinions” for the same interest. Any resources I can use for our departments are helpful.

Why are you interested in public health law?
My interests lie in assisting my internal town departments meet state and federal requirements to mitigate exposure to risks and to ensure compliance from a legal and safety standpoint. I also enjoy reading about legal aspects of emergency response. Case studies provide a wealth of information.   

Do you have any hobbies?
In the past, my wife and I crewed for a hot air balloon, worked to set up the balloon, chase and assist in taking it down. I also read and love taking photographs, which I also scrapbook.

Court Opinions—Deadly Amoeba, Firearms Card Denial, Tribal Drinking Water, More...

Minnesota: Viable claims, no duties to decedent in deadly amoeba case against city
Ariola v. City of Still Water, Minn.
Court of Appeals of Minnesota
Case No. A14-0181
Filed 10/27/2014
Opinion by Judge Lawrence B. Stauber, Jr.

New Jersey: Denial of firearms card for ‘danger to public health’ upheld
In re the denial of an application for a New Jersey Firearms Purchaser Identification Card by L.H.
Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division
Case No. A-5244-12T3
Decided 10/28/2014
Case before Judge Susan L. Reisner and Judge Ellen L. Koblitz

Federal: Toxic levels of lead in molasses case, jury to decide reasonable time notice
American Licorice Co. v. Total Sweeteners, Inc.
United States District Court for the Northern District of California
Case No. C-13-1929 EMC
Decided 10/22/2014
Opinion by District Judge Edward M. Chen

Federal: Consent decree in National Primary Drinking Water Reg. case against tribe
United States v. Omaha Tribe of Nebraska
United States District Court for the District of Nebraska
Civil Action No. 8:14-cv-255
Decided 10/27/2014
Consent decree by District Judge John M. Gerrard

Federal: Target’s common law duty does not include providing AED for customers
Verdugo v. Target Corp.
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
Case No. 10-57008
Filed 10/28/2014
Opinion Per Curiam

Quotation of the Month: Kelly Brownell, Dean of Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy

Kelly Brownell, Dean of Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy

"This is absolutely historic, and I think it portends what you will later see happening across the country. It mirrors what happened with tobacco taxes, when the industry spent a huge amount of money and won the initial skirmishes before losing in places like Berkeley,” Kelly Bronell, Dean of Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy and an expert on obesity, said of Berkeley California’s soda tax.

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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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 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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