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Network for Public Health Law Update

Monday, August 24, 2015  
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Network for Public Health Law Report
August 20, 2015

Public Health Law and Policy Perspectives

·        School Vaccination Laws — Legislative Roundup.  It’s been a big year for vaccination laws. In the wake of a measles outbreak, California’s governor repealed a law allowing personal belief exemptions from mandatory school vaccinations. Legislators in numerous other states have also re-examined their vaccination exemption laws and requirements.

·        Pill Bottles and Prescription Drug Poisonings.  Deaths by poisoning surpassed both guns and cars to become the leading source of injury-related death in the U.S., and the fastest growing type of poisoning death came from overdoses of prescription drugs. The Poison Prevention Packaging Act allowed for child-resistant pill bottles, but this preventive measure doesn’t deter older children and adults from taking drugs not prescribed for them.

·        Movement to Certify Community Health Workers.  At their core, community health workers (CHWs) share the language, socioeconomic status, and cultural experiences of the populations they serve. CHWs fill a vital role in increasing access to health care. The Affordable Care Act recognizes CHWs as a critical component of the health care workforce, but only a few states have enacted laws to establish certification programs for CHWs.

Public Health Legal Resources

·        Model Medicaid Managed Care Contract Provisions: EPSDT Vision and Hearing Services.  Children enrolled in Medicaid are entitled to a comprehensive array of preventive and ameliorative care through the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment (EPSDT) benefit. As states have increasingly turned to managed care entities to fulfill their Medicaid administrative obligations, these companies are charged with ensuring that children receive EPSDT benefits. This resource suggests model contract provisions for coverage of vision and hearing services in Medicaid managed care.

·        MOU Template for Cross-Jurisdictional Sharing of Immunization Data.  The Network and the Partnership for Public Health Law, in consultation with the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, have developed a template for a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for secure, electronic exchange of immunization information among governmental entities that operate Immunization Information Systems. Data exchange allows immunization providers to work more efficiently and supports public health’s mission to protect the public from vaccine-preventable diseases through timely and appropriate vaccination of individuals, and reduces instances of over vaccination due to the lack of vaccination records.