Bioterrorism, Public Health and the Law 
Law 801: Health Care Law Seminar
Professor Vernellia R. Randall

Paper Requirement


Lesson Schedule
00: Intro to the Course
01: Intro to the Problem
02: Public Health System
03: Real Threat?
04: Public Health Law
05: Disease-Reporting
06: Quarantine
07: Model Act
08: Military Presence
09: Health Law Revisited
 Overview. You paper is an analysis of  Public health law and bio-terrorism preparedness of your assigned state.  Essentially, your paper should be divided into the following: 
bulletPublic Health Structure
bulletEmergency Response (particularly bioterrorism)
bulletPublic health law (Statutes, Regulation, cases)


Specific Questions that should be address include:

Public Health Structure

How is the state public health system organized? Consider the interaction between Local (Public Health, Police, Fire, EMS), State (Public Health Department, Disaster Management, National Guard) and the federal government (CDC, FBI, FEMA, Department of Defense).

Has the state changed or modified its public health infrastructure as a reaction of a bio-terrorism threat? How? Has the change strengthen, weaken or likely to have no effect on public health efforts?

Is the state undertaking any long term or reorganization of its public health infrastructure?


Bioterrorism /Disaster Response

How is the state organized to address a biological epidemic? What can your state do to manage a public health emergency? What changes have they made specifically related to bio-terrorism?

What are the issues posed by bioterrorism and how do they differ from other public health bioemergencies? How does bioterrorism fit into general public health, the state and federal powers available to manage public health emergencies?

Does the state have a plan for response and followup? Does the state have sufficient expert personnel as first responders? effective command and control structures for directing first response and follow-up personnel?

Does the State emergency public health response primarily focus on high frequency day-to-day public health events rather low frequency bioterrorism?

What is the states "smallpox" plan?


Public Health Law

How does state constitution impact the ability of public health authorities to carry out police powers? Are there state constitutional law constraints? How has the state courts interpreted the exercise police power in the state?

What laws and regulations has your state enacted to enable public health authorities to carry out constitutional police powers? How do the laws and regulations limit the public health authorities? Are they to broad, too narrow? What, if any, change would you recommend?

In your state has the Model State Emergency Health Powers Act (MSEHPA) been enacted in whole or in part? What was the reasoning about the states decision with regard to MSEHPA? Do you think ought to implement the MSEHPA? Why? What alternatives would you propose if your state was reluctant to enact the entire MSEHPA?

What changes need to be made in state public health laws and the public health system to better prepare the United States to manage a bioterrorism incident and to avoid other unnecessary deaths? Why?

If a state has made a change in its laws are they likely to have long term effect and avoid other public health unnecessary deaths?

What weaknesses exist in state law? Are there area where lines of authority are blurred? Have traditional police powers weakened through post-911 legislation? What corrective legislation is needed?