Public Health Emergency Law

Preparing for Pandemic and Public Heath Emergencies

Citizens depend on the stability of the operational foundation provided by their governmental, non-profit and private institutions. But if a major pandemic or disaster occurs which seriously affects our critical public health systems, it can threaten this foundation.

Recognizing this fact, federal and state governments over the years have enacted a series of measures designed to enable our society to cope with a major public health emergency. Some of these measures, such as quarantines and restrictions on public assemblies, have many practical and legal implications that must be considered by state and municipal governments.

A Pandemic—Where Public Health and the Law Intersect

A pandemic or other serious public health emergency has many legal and regulatory aspects which must considered by those responsible for preparing for such an event. For example, most governmental authorities can handle a limited quarantine. But how do you prepare for a mass quarantine if one should be needed?

The recent SARS epidemic required over 30,000 people in the Toronto area to go under quarantine. The current H1N1 pandemic could result in mandatory quarantine areas across the nation. Could your organization handle such an emergency?

Baker Donelson’s Disaster Recovery Team provides legal and regulatory consulting services to governmental units, non-profits and other organizations in the area of public health emergency preparedness. Our lead attorney, Ernest B. Abbott, has served as a consultant to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and therefore has relevant experience in this specific area.