Law & Ethics Roundup: Federal Appeals Court supports IL gov, Framework for Equitable Homeless Policy, Covid legal needs, medical-legal partnership resources, safety net policies, the moral determinants of health & more

The Moral Determinants of Health – legendary health care researcher Donald Berwick authors a Viewpoint in the Journal of the American Medical Association arguing for health professionals and systems embracing the moral determinants of health, including a “strong sense of social solidarity” to help address racism and other social determinants of health. Berwick offers the following guidance:

What specific actions can individuals and organizations take toward the morally guided campaign sketched above? Physicians, nurses, and other health care professionals can speak out, write opinion pieces, work with community organizations devoted to the issues listed, and, most important of all, vote and ensure that colleagues vote on election days. Organizations can also act: they can contact local criminal justice authorities and develop programs to ensure proper care for incarcerated people and create paths of reentry to work and society for people leaving incarceration. They can identify needs for housing and food security in local communities, set goals for improvement, and manage progress as for any health improvement project. They can pay all staff wages sufficient for healthy living, which is far above legal minimum wages. They can lobby harder for universal health insurance coverage and US participation in human rights conventions than for the usual agendas of better reimbursement and regulatory relief. They can examine and work against implicit and structural racism. They can do whatever it takes to ensure universal voter turnout for the entire health care workforce.


The updated Framework for an Equitable Covid-19 Homelessness Response has been released by the coalition of the National Alliance to End Homelessness, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, National Low Income Housing Coalition, and National Health Care for the Homeless Council. Strategies and activities are proposed addressing the following 5 concerns:

  1. Unsheltered People
  2. Shelter
  3. Housing
  4. Prevention and Diversion
  5. Strengthening Systems for the Future

Shoring Up the US Safety Net in the Era of Coronavirus Disease 2019

Protecting the Health of Vulnerable Children and Adolescents During COVID-19–Related K-12 School Closures in the US

7th Circuit Federal Appeals Court sides with Illinois Governor’s authority to issue an emergency order limiting in person religious gatherings to 10 people. The court’s ruling follows similar logic to that used by Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts in his concurring opinion concerning California’s Executive Order. 

The American Bar Association Task Force on Legal Needs arising out of the 2020 Pandemic has issued a report based upon their national survey of leaders within their membership. Nearly 3 out of every 5 respondents indicated that Covid-19 has resulted in them observing an increase in demand for legal services. Approximately one-fifth of respondents identified substantive unemployment claims and issues arising, a similar share of respondents identified significant housing and landlord/tenant issues. Approximately 20% of respondents raised concerns about the impact of Covid-19 related limitations on access to the courts. 

Resources to help low income populations with their health-harming legal needs. The National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership has created a website compiling Covid-19-related resources to help medical-legal partnerships continue providing services during the epidemic. Topics covered include business operations, evictions/housing, telehealth and remote legal services, advance care and personal safety planning, and employment concerns. One resource of particular interest is a physician letter template created by the American Diabetes Association for supporting a patient’s request for Reasonable Accomodation(s) at work due to Covid-19 risks (see Employment/Income resources at the link above). 

The Adverse Impact of Covid-19 on Individuals with Opioid Use Disorder Highlights the Urgent Need for Reform to Leverage Emergency Department-Based Treatment

Letter from 30 U.S. Senators seeks permanent expansion of telehealth services after pandemic – seek the permanent adoption of provisions in the “CONNECT for Health” bill.

Airlines adopting strict mask wearing rules for passengers

FDA Withdraws Emergency Use Authorization for Hydroxychloroquine

|2020-06-17T13:01:51-04:00June 17th, 2020|COVID-19 Literature|Comments Off on Law & Ethics Roundup: Federal Appeals Court supports IL gov, Framework for Equitable Homeless Policy, Covid legal needs, medical-legal partnership resources, safety net policies, the moral determinants of health & more

About the Author: Ross Silverman

Ross Silverman
Ross D. Silverman, JD, MPH, is Professor of Health Policy and Management at Indiana University Fairbanks School of Public Health and Professor of Public Health and Law at Indiana University McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis. He is a member of the IU Centers on Health Policy and Bioethics. His research focuses on public health and medical law, policy, and ethics, and law's impact on health outcomes and vulnerable populations. He also serves as Associate Editor on Legal Epidemiology for Public Health Reports, the official journal of the Office of the U.S. Surgeon General and the U.S. Public Health Service. His most recent Covid-19 publications include: "Ensuring Uptake of Vaccines Against SARS-CoV-2" in the New England Journal of Medicine (with MM Mello & SB Omer), and "Covid-19: control measures must be equitable and inclusive" in BMJ (with ZD Berger, NG Evans & AL Phelan)

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