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Federal Powers to Control Communicable Conditions: Call for Reforms to Assure National Preparedness and Promote Global Security

4 Pages Posted: 19 Dec 2016 Last revised: 20 Mar 2017

James G. Hodge Jr.

Arizona State University (ASU) - Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law

Lawrence O. Gostin

Georgetown University - Law Center - O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law

Wendy E. Parmet

Northeastern University - School of Law

Jennifer Nuzzo

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Alexandra Phelan

Georgetown University, Law Center, Students

Date Written: December 19, 2016

Abstract

Despite increasing and significant global risks from emerging infectious diseases, federal powers to conduct accurate surveillance and non-therapeutic countermeasures are antiquated and, at times, ineffectual. After several prior attempts to modernize its rules over the past decade, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) on August 15, 2016 to modernize its powers to control communicable diseases pursuant to the Public Health Service Act (PHSA).

Intended largely for emergencies, CDC’s proposed regulations specify its authority to assess, test, examine, apprehend, isolate, quarantine, and monitor individuals with potentially infectious conditions arriving to, or travelling within, the U.S. CDC is reportedly expediting the process for a final regulation before the end of President Obama’s Administration.

Modernizing federal powers could strengthen disease preparedness within the U.S. and globally. Still, the proposed regulations must respect constitutional rights while being effective and evidence-based. We examine major legal, ethical, and policy aspects of the proposed regulations that will require revision to be fair and effective.

Keywords: Quarantine, Legal aspects, Communicable disease

Suggested Citation

Hodge, James G. and Gostin, Lawrence O. and Parmet, Wendy E. and Nuzzo, Jennifer and Phelan, Alexandra, Federal Powers to Control Communicable Conditions: Call for Reforms to Assure National Preparedness and Promote Global Security (December 19, 2016). Health Security 2017; 15(1): 1-4.; Northeastern University School of Law Research Paper No. 284-2016. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2887579

James G. Hodge Jr. (Contact Author)

Arizona State University (ASU) - Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law ( email )

Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law
111 E. Taylor Street
Phoenix, AZ 85004-4467
United States
480-727-8576 (Phone)

Lawrence O. Gostin

Georgetown University - Law Center - O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law ( email )

600 New Jersey Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001
United States
202-662-9038 (Phone)
202-662-9055 (Fax)

Wendy E. Parmet

Northeastern University - School of Law ( email )

416 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
United States
(617) 373-2019 (Phone)
(617) 373-5056 (Fax)

Jennifer Nuzzo

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health ( email )

615 North Wolfe Street
Baltimore, MD 21205
United States

Alexandra Phelan

Georgetown University, Law Center, Students ( email )

Washington, DC
United States

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