The health of the populace is a primary ongoing concern at all levels of government. Therefore, it’s only natural that law and health care frequently intersect. Such instances have become especially clear of late at the state and federal levels, as there are continuing attempts to curb the scope of the COVID-19 pandemic through new emergency laws.
Types of Public Health Law
Since the concept of public health law is wide-ranging, it can pay to break the field down into several discrete categories. For example, emergency preparedness and response parameters are set by local and federal laws – these have been tested to their limits during the COVID crisis.
Also highly relevant have been laws around the use of telehealth technology for remote patient consultation. While there are clear benefits to doctors offering advice and aid to patients via video chat, existing rules around matters such as state licensure and insurance will have to evolve.
Public health laws are also responsible for the everyday well-being of the populace. Regulations designed to ensure food safety and encourage better nutrition are highly relevant to people of all ages, while vaccination laws exist to ensure populations can resist diseases that have historically caused untold damage around the world.
One fast-evolving field of public health law encompasses the regulations around substance use and abuse. Lawmakers at all levels are seeking to create legal frameworks that will help counteract negative trends such as rising levels of opioid abuse.
Some areas of public health law are governed by special relationships such as the U.S. government’s interaction with Native American groups. Tribal public health law is dedicated to improving conditions for members of the 573 sovereign tribes and villages recognized at the federal level.
Opportunities in Public Health Law
Due to the widespread intersection between legislation and medical care, it’s possible to find a compelling professional role that combines these topics. Legislative and lobbying positions are closely associated with public health law, while certain law firms are dedicated to this branch of legal practice. Furthermore, today’s large care provider organizations need specialized legal knowledge among their staff members.
The Online Master of Laws in Health Law and Policy degree program at Hofstra University’s Maurice A. Deane School of Law can deepen your knowledge of the ways the law and modern health care go together. Check out our infographic for a quick breakdown of public health law topics and visit the program page to learn whether this is the right educational move for your career.