While we turn to science and laws to guide our response to matters in the healthcare industry, the entrance of the Ebola virus into our lives here in the U.S. has challenged our abilities, both from a medical and legal perspective.
Providers and health professionals face many challenges in the shifting sands of the Ebola response, including the extent of their duties to each other and their patients and their obligations under a myriad of laws, including OSHA, ADA, FMLA, EMTALA, Title VII and similar state laws.
Of all the complex legal issues raised by the recent cases of Ebola in the U.S., those concerning the delicate balance between preserving patients’ privacy rights and the need to disseminate information to protect public health may be overlooked by providers.
As public health officials accelerate their efforts to develop a vaccine to combat Ebola—one that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not yet approved for use—some may ask if there is ever an option for critically ill patients to gain access to unapproved drugs.
As we have been discussing, the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) requires all health plans to cover preventive health services for women, including all Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”)-approved contraceptives, at no cost (i.e. no deductibles, coinsurance, or co-payments).
People concerned about the ebola quarantines of health workers returning from Africa might be interested in how quarantines issued during animal disease outbreaks have helped save lives.
The U.S. is not alone in having an escalating drug problem. The Guardian reported this month that 1 in 3 Brits, or 69%, have taken an illegal drug in their lifetime, and 21% still do.
The response to Ebola continues to evolve as additional resources for providers and the public have been made available over the last several days.
In response to the development of alternative payment systems, provider networks are forming at a frenetic pace.
As expected, there is talk of legal action by nurse Kaci Hickox, who was quarantined in New Jersey after allegedly having a fever upon her homecoming to the U.S. during her screening upon entry at Newark airport. Hickox claims she did not have a fever, and that her quarantine was “not scientifically or constitutionally just,” as CNN reported.