Public Health Committee
JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT
AN ACT CONCERNING HEALTH EMERGENCY RESPONSE OPERATIONS.
Joint Favorable Substitute
SPONSORS OF BILL: Public Health Committee
REASONS FOR BILL: This bill requires the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner to maintain full accreditation from the national association of medical examiners by January 1, 2018.
RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY: NONE
NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:
Ryan Bokyo: One of the two doctoral candidates quarantined in October of 2014 during the West African Ebola outbreak. The quarantine was disruptive on his life as it kept him from seeing his young son and then girlfriend. The Hero Act will prevent unjustified quarantines and give individuals the responsible public health policy they deserve.
Connecticut State Medical Society: This legislation balances the rights of the individuals with the needs of the public. The changes address the potential arbitrariness of any action by a public official. It also provides an evidence-based approach to decision making and a two-level procedural determination. This bill offers a greater degree of specificity and scientific input.
Dr. Thomas Balcezak, Yale New Haven Health: Supports the legislation with amendments to Sections 19a-221, 19a-131 and related subsections ensuring that all public health orders are grounded in scientific evidence and will allow state and local officials to better tailor their response to future public health crises. Under current law and state policy Yale New Haven Health was forced to expend hospital resources that were medically unnecessary.
Mary Jane Williams, Connecticut Nurses Association: This legislation requires the State to develop guidelines proactively to address isolation, Quarantine and other possible public health issues that may need specific health guidelines. In order to protect citizens of Connecticut it is important that the state becomes more proactive in emergency situations.
Laura Skrip: One of the Doctoral candidates that was involuntarily quarantined in October of 2014 during the West African Ebola outbreak. The involuntarily quarantine was disruptive and damaging to her lifestyle. The lack of communication between the authorities and her was incredibly confusing and frustrating as well. Passage of the HERO Act will ensure that future quarantines are implemented in a responsible manner and only when medically necessary.
Paul Cleary, Yale School of Public of Health: Supports SB 37 as it ensures all public health orders are grounded in scientific evidence and will allow state officials as well as other health professionals to better develop effective response to public health emergencies. This bill will provide the state necessary provisions for protecting the health of Connecticut residents without impeding the provision of public health and medical research and services to areas in need.
D'Laney Gielow: Connecticut's current law falls short in 3 specific areas. The Ebola crisis demonstrated that procedural protections it affords are insufficient. Secondly there is a lack of judicial oversight prior to the imposition of quarantine. Lastly, there is an issue with the burden of proof for upholding an order of isolation or quarantine at hearing. The modifications proposed in the HERO Act are not unprecedented nationwide and would address CT state laws current shortcomings.
Megha Ram: The bill authorizes officials to implement a broader array of public health measures than just quarantine and isolation. Secondly the bill increases procedural protections for those subject to public health orders. Third it adopts a bifurcated structure that provides separate procedures for emergency and non-emergency scenarios. Lastly the Act requires public health authorities to show by “clear and convincing evidence” that an order is the least restrictive means to protect and preserve the public health.
Dr. James L. Hadler: Supports amending sections 19a-221, 19a-131, and related subsections to expand the legal tools available to public health authorities to manage a public health emergency, enable the subjects of public health orders including quarantine to assure the orders are fully justified and that the measures taken to limit their potential to spread infection or contamination are the least restrictive possible based on the scientific data available at the time and improve communication when such orders are given.
Paige Baum: The Hero Act ensures that the appropriate and least restrictive means used in public health interventions are indisputably supported by scientific evidence. Additionally the bill will provide a protective amendment for all travelers.
Bishop Harmon Yalartai: The Hero Act will go a long way toward removing fear and stigma in regards to public health crisis. The bill will ground the states quarantine policy in science that is fair just and reasoned.
NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION: NONE
Reported by: Walter L. Morton IV