Final Rule on Control of Communicable Diseases Published

January 23rd, 2017 by Trudy Henson

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By Trudy Henson, Public Health Program Manager

As the new year gets under way, and a new President takes office, health and transportation officials are turning their attention to a new rule, finalized January 19th, by the Centers for Disease Control. The rule, originally proposed in August 2016, deals with Control of Communicable Disease for Interstate and Foreign Travel. The CDC states that the rule seeks to create greater transparency in disease response, as well as updating certain regulations based on lessons learned from recent outbreaks, such as Ebola.

The final rule, officially published yesterday, is similar to the proposed rule, with a few key changes made based on public comments. These changes in general seek to “clarify various safeguards to prevent the importation and spread of communicable diseases affecting human health into the United States and interstate.” Of note, certain definitions, such as the one for “non-invasive procedures,” have been modified from the proposed rule. In addition, the rule includes greater due process protections for those persons subject to a federal order, including “requiring that HHS/CDC explain the reasons for issuing the order, administrative processes for appealing the order, and a mandatory reassessment of the order.”

Although most of the rule focuses on federal response efforts during an outbreak, it will likely impact numerous policies and procedures for state and local health and transportation agencies who have a short time to study the rule and its potential implications—the rule takes effect in just one month: February 21st, 2017.

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