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COVID-19 Legal/Regulatory/Authorities Resources
Topic Collection
November 14, 2023

Topic Collection: COVID-19 Legal/Regulatory/Authorities Resources

This Topic Collection focuses on plans, tools, templates, and other immediately implementable resources to help with COVID-19 preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation efforts, focusing on legal and regulatory authorities.

This Resource Collection was reviewed in Fall 2023. Please refer to CDC’s Coronavirus Disease 2019 webpage for the most up-to-date clinical guidance on COVID-19 outbreak management.

If you have COVID-19 best or promising practices, plans, tools, or templates to share with your peers, please visit the ASPR TRACIE Information Exchange COVID-19 Information Sharing Page (registration required) and place your resources under the relevant topic area. Resources specific to legal and regulatory authorities can be placed under the COVID-19 Legal/Regulatory/Authorities Resources Topic.

General Resources


American Hospital Association. (2020). Making Telehealth Flexibilities Permanent: Legislation or Regulation? (Added 6/29/2020)
This document summarizes telehealth flexibilities available during the COVID-19 public health emergency via legislation or regulation. Flexibilities are organized by provider/patient location, eligible providers and facilities, types of services, technologies, and billing, payment, and coverage.
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Knowing what kinds of patient information can be released, to whom, and under what circumstances, is critical for healthcare facilities in disaster response. This guide is designed to answer frequently asked questions regarding the release of information about patients following an incident.
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This ASPR TRACIE TA response provides information on CMS waivers and declarations for COVID-19.
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Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. (2021). Coronavirus Waivers & Flexibilities.
This summary page provides a listing of all CMS waivers and flexibilities related to the current COVID-19 public health emergency, as well as topic-specific fact sheets and summary documents.
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Speakers in this webinar reviewed the role of law in public health emergencies; provided an assessment of prominent federal and state emergency declarations, laws, and policies stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic; highlighted what specific legal changes mean for public and private sector healthcare entities in Region 1 related to future incidents; and identified remaining challenges for legal reforms in the 21st century based on lessons learned.
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Hodge, J., Piatt, J., Reinke, H., and Carey, E. (2021). COVID’S Constitutional Conundrum: Assessing Individual Rights in Public Health Emergencies. Tennessee Law Review. 88(1).
The authors reviewed litigation related to public health measures enacted during the COVID-19 pandemic and found that courts primarily assess these claims under two approaches: weighing the "application of rights against governments’ compelling interests to protect public health and safety in emergencies" and setting "aside existing rights to effectuate emergency responses." The authors believe neither approach suffices and suggest that courts focus on "public health interventions as a constitutional prerogative instead of examining alleged rights infringements framed outside crisis contexts."
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McLaughlin, P., Mitchell, M., and Thierer, A. (2020). A Fresh Start: How to Address Regulations Suspended during the Coronavirus Crisis. (Added 6/4/2020.) George Mason University, Mercatus Center.
This policy brief suggests that rules and regulations suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic be reviewed for their effectiveness to determine whether they should be suspended permanently, modified, or reinstated.
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This Bulletin focuses on compliance with the prohibitions against race, color, and national origin discrimination contained in Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI).
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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights (OCR). (2023). HIPAA and COVID-19.
The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has issued several Notifications of Enforcement Discretion to announce that it will not impose penalties for violations of the HIPAA Rules against covered entities or business associations in connection with certain activities related to the nationwide public health emergency. This webpage provides a complete list of OCR’s Notifications related to COVID-19 as well as Notices of Enforcement Discretion, Guidance and other resources.
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Washington State Department of Health. (n.d.). Legal and Regulatory Framework for Emergency Public Health Medical Response. (Accessed 3/26/2020.)
This document outlines the authorities of local health officers, the State Board of Health, the state health officer, and the governor during an emergency. It also addresses state liability protections for providers, volunteers, and facilities during emergencies; the Uniform Emergency Volunteer Health Practitioners Act; federal emergency management authorities; and emergency credentialing and licensure verification. It concludes with questions and answers on regulatory flexibilities during medical surge incidents.
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Plans, Tools, and Templates


This website is regularly updated and details state-by-state expansion of telehealth and licensing waivers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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This document is detailed list of actions that hospitals and healthcare providers may take to protect their employees, patients, and communities during the COVID-19 response. Actions are listed under eight steps: 1) continue to assess preparedness, 2) properly screen and identify patients for COVID-19, 3) care for infected patients, 4) report to public health officials, 5) protect and manage hospital employees, 6) develop or review vaccination policies, 7) manage communications, and 8) properly bill Medicare. It also includes links to additional resources.
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Association of State and Territorial Health Officials. (2013). Emergency Authority and Immunity Toolkit.
This toolkit contains a review of key emergency authority and immunity concepts; a summary of federal laws and policies pertaining to emergency planning and response; and a series of fact sheets addressing fundamental issues or legal authorities, issue briefs, and state analysis guides.
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Center for Connected Health Policy. (2020). Telehealth in the Time of COVID-19.
This website provides regular updates regarding telehealth-related state policy changes.
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Florida Court Education Council’s Publication Committee. (2023). Pandemic Contagious Diseases Benchguide 2023: Legal Issues.
This bench book provides Florida judges with information they need for when they are presented with public health cases. The document begins with an introduction of public health law in the context of a public health emergency, executive powers in a public health emergency, and Florida Executive Branch procedures in an emergency. It then goes into the role of Florida Courts, and other legal issues for the Courts to consider during a public health emergency. It also provides guidance for maintaining essential court functions during a pandemic.
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This toolkit provides guidance to state health agencies to engage pharmacies in supporting the response to influenza pandemics and other vaccine-related public health emergencies. It describes steps to take and templates to use in developing an MOU between public health agencies and pharmacies.
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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response and Office for Civil Rights. (n.d.). Public Health Authority Disclosure Request Checklist. (Accessed 4/22/2020.)
This guidance provides information to help covered entities determine when it is permissible to disclose information to public health authorities during a public health emergency.
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Agencies and Organizations


American Bar Association. Health Law COVID-19 Resources.
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American Health Law Association. Coronavirus Pandemic.
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Federation of State Medical Boards. COVID-19.
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The Network for Public Health Law. COVID-19.
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