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States Respond to COVID-19: Bills on Patient Rights, Data Reporting, Vaccines

In recent weeks, several states passed legislation related to the COVID-19 public health crisis, including bills establishing vaccination authority, patient rights, and data reporting requirements.

Several states have passed laws relating to who can administer the COVID-19 vaccine. In Minnesota,  qualifying dentists through June 1, 2022, can administer the COVID-19 vaccine in addition to their existing authority for influenza vaccine. Similarly, Wisconsin now allows pharmacist technicians and pharmacy students to administer the COVID-19 vaccine and related drugs.

Meanwhile, Maine passed a law creating a patient bill of rights, outlining requirements for the protection of health care consumers with regard to testing, treatment, and immunization for COVID-19.

A new law in New Jersey requires health care facilities to report certain COVID-19 data related to health care workers and first responders who test positive for or die from the disease. Facilities can report directly to the state health department or through a nonprofit trade association.

Utah Loosens COVID-19 Restrictions

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox (R) last week signed legislation ending certain COVID-19 restrictions once the state reaches certain metrics, including decreased transmission and hospitalization rates and at least 1.63 million administered vaccinations. The state on April 10 will remove the statewide mask mandate, regardless of the aforementioned benchmarks.

States Restrict Governors’ Power in Public Health Emergencies

Several states — including Arkansas, New York, and Ohio — passed legislation to limit governors’ emergency authority during public health emergencies. The bills include actions to cap disaster declarations, create legislative oversight panels, and limit governors’ authorities to set gathering restrictions and business capacities.

Visit the America’s Essential Hospitals coronavirus resource page for more information about the pandemic.

Contact Senior Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at eomalley@essentialhospitals.org or 202.585.0127 with questions.

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About the Author

Abigail Painchaud is a policy associate at America's Essential Hospitals.

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