Maryland DHMH Preparedness Handbook
CHHS writes and revises the Maryland Public Health Emergency Preparedness Handbook for the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
In 2005, CHHS worked with the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) to produce the Maryland Public Health Emergency Preparedness Handbook, which provided information and guidance to public health officials, hospital administrators, and county attorneys regarding the legal issues associated with a public health emergency. The document was tailored to address Maryland state and local law, Maryland procedures, and Maryland state and local governmental structure. In the summer of 2009, DHMH asked CHHS to revise the handbook to address new issues and concerns of public health officials.
As part of the revision process, CHHS, along with DHMH, organized and presented a symposium entitled “Legal Issues Concerning Public Health Emergencies 2009.” The symposium included presentations from CHHS staffers on the Governor’s emergency powers, other public health emergency powers, liability and immunity during an emergency, and the ethical issues of resource allocation, in addition to a panel discussion of experts to conclude the symposium. CHHS then incorporated questions from the panel discussion into the handbook revision.
Issues addressed in the 2009 revised handbook include quarantine and isolation; liability and immunity of medical professionals, volunteers, and private sector players; compulsory medical examination, testing, vaccination, and treatment; privacy of information and communicable disease reporting; property and contracts issues; professional licensing and compelled service of health professionals; and enforcement and adjudication of orders. In addition, the handbook addresses federal, state, and local emergency authorities and the interaction between them.
The revised handbook is designed to present relevant information in a clear and concise manner. To assist the reader in finding an answer to his or her question quickly, the handbook includes several tools:
- A detailed Table of Contents, to allow the reader to find broad topics and see the overall organization of the handbook
- A detailed Subject Matter Index, to help the reader find specific topics and answer specific questions
- “Quick Look” pages, a collection of visual aids, charts, and brief summaries of the most important subjects in the handbook to help the reader find answers quickly
The handbook and the accompanying symposium demonstrate CHHS’ experience with public health emergency preparedness combined with a strong foundation in the legal authorities to create an accurate, well-organized, and easy-to-use handbook for a wide audience.