Public health law is a central instrument that plays a decisive role in reducing poor health and untimely death. Public health law examines the influence of the administration at diverse jurisdiction levels to advance the health of the common inhabitants within collective social confines and norms (CDC Home, 2011). This paper aims to observe two public health laws taken from Center for Disease Control and Prevention website, their impact in protection of the public health; and barriers, if any, to their enforcements, and suggestions to overcome them.
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Assessment of the public health laws. Section 319 of the Public Health Service Act: Public Health Emergencies 42 U.S.C. § 247d. This section gives power to the Secretary of Health and Human Services to establish that a municipal health crisis exists if an infection or disorder presents a public health tragedy; or major outbreaks of transmittable diseases or bioterrorist assault exists. The Secretary may subsequently take suitable measures, and exploit Public Health Emergency fund. The state of crisis exists until the Secretary declares that there is no risk, or expiration of 90 days, whichever occurs earlier. He may refurbish the provision for next 90 days, if the emergency persists (CDC Home, 2010). The impact is noteworthy as it helps the government to monitor the crisis and assist preparedness to meet the challenges (NPHPSP Home, 2010). Three months is a sufficient time to bring the emergency conditions under control, authorizing the government to compel community to act sensibly during the health emergencies. The chaos resulting out of emergencies, say an earthquake, then a flooding and spread of diseases may present a barrier to enforcement of such legislation (CDC, 2008; CDC Podcasts, 2008). An ethical, responsible and rapid outbreak response team formed can prevent total disarray of such regulations (MMWR Home, 2011).
Health Information Portability and Accountability Act of 1996: Privacy Rule Pub. L. No. 104-191. The law protects certain patient facts like health proceedings, billing and insurance information from being revealed by covered entities such as health care providers, insurance agencies, for reasons other than that of shielding public wellbeing, or exposing necessary information to the police. Information cannot be disclosed without the patient’s written approval. Covered entities must have barriers in place to protect patient health information to guarantee that it is not maltreated (CDC Home, 2010). The impact is that the patient is convinced of the security of the confidential records, as the leakage may trouble the patient and the family. The empowered regime has to protect private health records in the current internet era, where the patient records are maintained in storage devices and made available online (Committee on the Judiciary, 2011). The barrier may come from the breach of the online available data records by hackers, and also can be mistreated by covered entities for their earnings (Health Care Renewal, 2009). The barriers may be overcome by bringing stricter regulation in upholding of online health records and forcing healthcare providers to be ethically responsible for the protection of patient healthcare records.
The Public Health Law system empowers the government to defend public health by enforcing regulatory laws during the emergency and non-emergency periods. The maintenance of privacy of the patient records is a significant challenge in an online age, but can be overwhelmed through persistent, competent and ethical alliance between different stakeholders and participants in healthcare management and law.
CDC (2008). Other Information Sources. Web.
CDC Home. (2011). Public Health Law Program. Web.
CDC Home. (2010). Federal Legal Authority. Web.
CDC Home. (2010). Frequently asked questions about Federal Public Health Emergency Law. Web.
CDC Home. (2010). Multi-Sector Coordination. Web.
CDC Podcasts. (2008). CDC Emergency Preparedness and You. Web.
Committee on the Judiciary. (2011). Stop Online Piracy Act. Web.
Health Care Renewal. (2009). Medical Cyber Piracy: Are National Electronic Health Records Plans Premature? Web.
MMWR Home. (2011). Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). Web.
NPHPSP Home. (2010). 10 Essential Public Health Services. Web.