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Checklists on legal preparedness for public health emergencies.

Legal preparedness is an integral part of comprehensive preparedness for public health emergencies. To assess existing legal preparedness, state health departments have made extensive use of the draft Model State Emergency Health Powers Act (MSEHPA), researched and written in December 2001 by the Center for Law and the Public's Health at Georgetown and John Hopkins universities in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other national public health partners. Although MSEHPA has been widely introduced and passed in states, state and local public health agencies need additional tools to assess public health emergency legal preparedness. Following consultation with the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials and the National Association of County and City Health Officials, CDC requested the Center for Law and the Public's Health to prepare checklists on three critical topics in public health emergency legal preparedness:

* Interjurisdictional Legal Coordination for Public Health Emergency Preparedness.

* Local Government Public Health Emergency Legal Preparedness and Response, and

* Civil Legal Liability Issues and Public Health Emergencies.

These checklists are intended for voluntary use by public health agencies (at all levels of government) in assessing their legal preparedness for public health emergencies. Each checklist includes opening commentary on the background, methods, organization, and suggested uses for each document, and features two principal sections: 1) a "Quick Reference" that lists relevant questions and 2) a detailed checklist with explanatory comments provided for each question. Content is macro-organized according to the four phases of incident management addressed in the National Response Plan: Prevention, Preparedness, Response, and Recovery.

Center personnel prepared the checklists through a deliberative process that included legal research and analysis of agencies' functional roles in public health emergencies, review of public health emergency preparedness plans, and communication with public health practitioners and legal counsel. The principal authors are Jason W. Sapsin, J.D., M.P.H., James G. Hodge, Jr., J.D., L.L.M., and Lance A. Gable, J.D., M.P.H.

All three checklists are accessible through the center's Web site at The checklists are in the public domain and may be duplicated and disseminated freely.

The center welcomes information and feedback on the checklists and their application. For additional information, please contact James G. Hodge, Jr., J.D., L.L.M., the center's executive director, at
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Title Annotation:Products & Services
Publication:Journal of Environmental Health
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 1, 2005
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