It is not possible to predict the next public health emergency, but it is possible, and necessary, to prepare for one. State and local governments and public health professionals will respond more effectively and efficiently in the event of such emergency if they understand the lines of authority and the diverse roles that governments and individuals play, and the governing laws that affect their actions.
The New York State Public Health Legal Manual, a timely and important resource for dealing with public health disasters, clarifies these issues. It is the result of a collaboration between the New York State Unified Court System, the New York State Bar Association, the New York State Department of Health and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
The Manual covers the laws governing the control of the spread of communicable diseases and the laws concerning the abatement of nuisances that may cause public health emergencies, as well as the constitutional rights of those affected. The authors also include “commentary” sections to address gaps or constitutional discrepancies that may not be covered completely by the law. Recognizing that many of the Public Health Law provisions do not apply to New York City, the Manual contains extensive review of relevant sections of New York City Health Code, the New York City Charter and the New York City Administrative Code provisions.
The Manual contains a foreword by Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman and New York State Bar Association Past President Stephen P. Younger.
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