Communicable Diseases & Pandemic Preparedness Ad Hoc Task Force


Updated to include COVID-19 Response Resources

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.

Law Firm's COVID-19 Resources Websites

Dickinson Wright


Health Law Partners, P.C. 

According to Robert S. Iwrey, Esq. of The Health Law Partners, P.C., the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a recent onslaught of both Michigan and Federal laws, regulations, executive orders, and guidance related to COVID-19’s impact on the health care industry.  The attorneys at The Health Law Partners, P.C. have devoted significant resources in providing near-daily updates on such matters.  Please feel free to peruse the blog located at 

Honigman LLP

Jackson Lewis P.C.’s

The resource page includes access to daily webinars on COVID-19, including this one that was specifically geared towards Healthcare employers -

McGuireWoods LLP

Miller Johnson
Webinars and corresponding PowerPoints

Varnum LLP


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 March 2020 PDF

Publications & Reports

Informed Consent and the COVID-19 Pandemic

By:  Julie Janeway, MSA, JD

Obtaining informed consent has become more complicated than usual during the coronavirus pandemic. This publication seeks to provide insight, suggestions, and resources, including analysis specific to Michigan law, as healthcare practitioners and organizations move through the ever-changing landscape of treating patients, operating businesses, and protecting healthcare workers while knowledge about COVID-19 evolves and public health directives change. Read more  Aug 2020 PDF

Care in the Time of COVID: How the Pandemic Has Moved Telemedicine Forward

By:  Kate Flewelling, Assistant General Counsel, Munson Medical Center & Emily Klatt, Associate General Counsel, University of Michigan

Telemedicine, in a matter of weeks, became likely the predominant means of delivering outpatient care for the foreseeable future. With a vaccine for COVID-19 likely months or even years away, telemedicine is a modality of service delivery for which we will have a continuing need. Even when the dangers of this pandemic have faded, there is a myriad of reasons why telemedicine will persist. Virtual care can eliminate the fear of disease transmission, it can save patients time and money, for providers it can even allow them to decrease overhead costs by reducing their space needs. While clearly all care cannot be done via telemedicine, there is a segment of patients and a distinct set of health problems for which telemedicine will offer the most efficient and satisfactory means of delivering care. It will not go away because patients will continue to demand that it be an option. 

Telemedicine's explosive growth in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, however, was permitted by a series of temporary emergency restrictions at the federal and state levels-restrictions we must assume will sunset or be removed as the immediate threat of COVID-19 wanes. What, then, are the structural changes to our legal framework that needs to happen to allow telemedicine to take the position in our healthcare delivery system that it can and should occupy in the future? Read more  July 2020 PDF

Michigan Executive Order 2020-21 Exceptions 

By: Matthew J. Turchyn, Esq., Partner, Hertz Schram

To combat the spread of COVID-19, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-21, the "Stay Home, Stay Safe" executive order (the "Order"), on March 23, 2020. The stated purposes of the Order are "[t]o suppress the spread of COVID-19, to prevent the state's health care system from being overwhelmed, to allow time for the production of critical test kits, ventilators, and personal protective equipment, and to avoid needless deaths."   The Order went into effect at 12:01 a.m. on March 24, 2020, and requires that Michiganders generally stay at home through April 14, 2020, at 11:59 p.m.  Read more  March 2020 PDF

Management of Mass Fatalities in Pandemic and Mass Casualty Situations 
By: Jesse DePauw, Esq., Senior Associate, Kitch, Amanda Hart law student, University of Michigan Law School, Sangeeta Ghosh, Esq., Assistant Corporate Counsel, Kent County, Melissa Markey, Esq., EMT-P, CISSP, Shareholder, Hall Render, Killian, Heath & Lyman, Laura Napiewocki, Esq., MHSA, Associate General Counsel, University of Michigan

In light of recent events, the HCLS decided to release a draft version of this publication to assist our members in responding to issues that their clients and organizations may face in the coming weeks and months.  In the near future, the HCLS will publish a final version of this paper and will notify all section members of the update.

In the ordinary course of business, there is a well-understood process for the disposition of bodies in the State of Michigan. There are clear criteria for determining when the decedent needs to be transferred to the Medical Examiner for evaluation of the cause of death, and when the body may simply be released to the funeral director. However, there are times that ordinary practices cannot be followed—when there is a pandemic or a major disaster that results in an overwhelming number of fatalities. Understanding the standard, ordinary course of business processes, and considering modifications to those processes based on the recommendations of expert public health associations will help Michigan's healthcare providers and their counsel prepare for, and respond to, such crises in a manner that promotes public health and meets legal requirements. This publication also helps legal counsel provide structure and guidance to facility staff regarding the disposition of bodies during high-fatality events. Read more  March 2020 PDF

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 the 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

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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