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In states that have passed mandatory flu immunization for children between six months and five years of age, deaths and hospitalization due to flu have declined. In June, the New York Court of Appeals upheld a New York City Health Code requiring annual flu vaccination for children (ages of six – 59 months) who attend city-regulated child care or school-based programs. The ruling is a significant victory for public health in light of the ongoing legal challenges to mandatory vaccination requirements and childhood vaccination rates.

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Access to broadband is increasingly being recognized as an important social determinant of health. However, despite progress in expanding connectivity, approximately 34 million people in the United States still lack broadband access. The “digital divide” is particularly acute in rural communities, where 23 million residents lack broadband access. Law and policy directly affect the availability and cost of broadband services. Federal and state policies, including the funding of broadband infrastructure in rural areas, can facilitate expansion of broadband access.

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More women in the United States die from pregnancy complications than in any other developed country, and the rate of maternal deaths continues to rise. Recent legislation passed by Congress establishes a shared responsibility between States and the Federal Government to identify opportunities to improve maternal health. The legislation supports the development of a model for States to operate maternal mortality reviews, assess the various factors that may have contributed to maternal mortality, and develop appropriate interventions to reduce and prevent such deaths.

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Public Health Law Blog by The Network For Public Health Law - 1M ago

Some of the public health law and policy stories that made headlines recently include a Justice Department declaration that key provisions of the Affordable Care Act are unconstitutional; a proposed change to a Medicaid rule to address the opioid crisis; rising suicide rates in the U.S.; the multi-state hepatitis A virus outbreak; studies showing the effectiveness of certain gun laws; and Virginia’s decision to expand its Medicaid programs.

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Local health departments often seek additional funding to support health care and public health programs within their jurisdictions. A requester in Arizona recently contacted the Network about forming special taxing districts, which can impose secondary property taxes for the development and maintenance of health care and public health programs. 

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Public Health Law Blog by The Network For Public Health Law - 1M ago

Some of the public health law and policy stories that made headlines recently include a Justice Department declaration that key provisions of the Affordable Care Act are unconstitutional; a proposed change to a Medicaid rule to address the opioid crisis; rising suicide rates in the U.S.; the multi-state hepatitis A virus outbreak; studies showing the effectiveness of certain gun laws; and Virginia’s decision to expand its Medicaid programs.

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The U.S. is experiencing its worst outbreak of hepatitis A in over 20 years. The outbreak has primarily affected people experiencing homelessness (PEH) due to their lack of access to sanitation and hygiene facilities. In Los Angeles alone, one study found only nine public toilets for every 1,777 PEH. As a result, the city has initiated community and local government interventions designed to address this shortfall.

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Extension programs connect land grant universities and the larger public, bringing academic research to communities that can apply it. Programming at the recently held National Health Outreach Conference, sponsored by the Cooperative Extension System, focused on engaging in a culture of health and highlighted ways in which Extension programs are collaborating with others to advance community health.

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Tax exemptions can be used effectively to encourage the purchase of consumer goods that support public health and safety by reducing the rate of injury or death. A few states have passed sales tax exemptions that fit the bill for public health, including exemptions for child car seats, bicycle helmets, and fire-safety equipment for homes. But these types of tax exemptions are often underutilized.   

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Many of us use smartphones every day to send text messages, share videos, get from point A to point B, and even share our location with another person. While these services are of particular value during an emergency, they are not available to many 911 dispatch centers and emergency services around the country. In Maryland, legislation was passed to advance Next Generation 911 in the state.

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