Communicable Diseases & Pandemic Preparedness Ad Hoc Task Force


    The Communicable Diseases and Pandemic Preparedness Task Force is a volunteer group established by the Health Care Law Section, State Bar of Michigan. Its mission includes researching and preparing resources regarding federal and state legal requirements in handling communicable disease and pandemic events, such as Ebola and Zika. Ideally, the resources will contain citations, recommendations, and useful links for various aspects with disease progression and management. Topics covered could include: detection, isolation and quarantine; treatment of condition; supplies and equipment requirements; waste disposal; handling patient discharge/death; and privacy and confidentiality. Task force members will be requested to focus on certain aspects of law and regulation. Task force leadership will work to edit the product for flow and consistency. The end product will be made available to health section members.

Publications & Reports

Pandemic Legal Preparedness: A Brief Overview
By Devin Schindler, Gregory Ripple, Melissa Markey, Jesse DePauw, Laura Miron Napiewocki, & Sangeeta Ghosh

    Zika. Ebola. Bird flu. SARS. The list of potentially catastrophic diseases that could lead to a pandemic seems to grow daily. The potential legal issues facing healthcare providers, hospitals, state agencies, and local health authorities in treating individuals with highly communicable diseases are legion and generally not well developed. For this reason, the Communicable Diseases and Pandemic Preparedness Ad Hoc Task Force of the State Bar of Michigan spent the last two years studying those legal issues and compiled resources available to help both private and public health organizations prepare for a pandemic outbreak. Read More PDF

Ebola: A Public Health and Legal Perspective
By Melissa Markey, Montrece M. Ransom, & Gregory Sunshine

    The 2014 Ebola epidemic is the largest epidemic of Ebola virus disease in history, with current widespread transmission in three countries in West Africa: Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. As of this writing, there have been four confirmed cases of Ebola in the United States. Public health and healthcare lawyers are addressing complicated legal issues, including concerns related to states’ authority to quarantine individuals who are infected with or have been exposed to Ebola, along with issues related to the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, the privacy and security of information, and vaccine liability. Read More PDF

Protecting the Public: A Guide for Physicians, Healthcare Providers, & Attorneys on Quarantining & Isolating Patients with Communicable Diseases
By Devin Schindler, Professor, WMU-Cooley Law School

    The authority to isolate, treat, and quarantine individuals with communicable diseases stands at a crowded intersection of federal law, state law, and constitutional law. A healthcare provider’s duty when contending with patients who suffer from highly communicable, potentially deadly diseases is likewise not subject to any easy answer. Read More PDF


A downloadable PDF with Internet links, including resources from the Centers for Disease Control and OSHA, outbreak-specific information, articles on ethics, legal checklists, and other information. Read More PDF

Related Events

    The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a final rule "Medicare and Medicaid Programs; Emergency Preparedness Requirements for Medicare and Medicaid Participating Providers and Suppliers" in the past fall. The effective date was November 15, 2016 but the implementation deadline is November 15, 2017. This rule establishes national emergency preparedness requirements for Medicare- and Medicaid-participating providers and suppliers to plan adequately for both natural and man-made disasters, and coordinate with federal, state, tribal, regional, and local emergency preparedness systems. It will also assist providers and suppliers to the needs of patients, residents, clients, and participants during disasters and emergency situations.


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    1. The Health Care Law Section (HCLS) does NOT offer legal advice. These materials are offered for information purposes only. DO NOT ACT OR RELY upon any of the resources and information available in or from the Health Law Section without seeking professional legal advice.
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