Guidebook Examines Legal, Ethical Issues with Pandemic Preparedness Planning

The American Health Lawyers Association recently announced the release of "Community Pan-Flu Preparedness: A Checklist of Key Legal Issues for Healthcare Providers." This guidebook examines the critical legal and ethical issues involved in pandemic preparedness planning and will serve as an invaluable resource for healthcare providers, public health agencies and government officials, officials said.

The comprehensive checklist addresses issues and presents solutions to the legal impediments and implementation challenges of pandemic planning. It focuses on the increasing threat posed by the influenza virus, including the H5N1 avian influenza.

According to AHLA President Elisabeth Belmont, the guidebook is a "scalable tool designed to assist providers along the continuum of care in taking concrete steps to prepare for an influenza pandemic." The checklist provides concrete steps for healthcare providers to coordinate preparedness planning with local, state and federal authorities.

The publication will be widely distributed to medical centers; medical and bar associations; and public health agencies for national implementation and use. AHLA also will work with healthcare organizations to more widely disseminate this information into their communities.

"This publication can be reproduced and co-branded by healthcare providers for the benefit of and to promote the health of the community served by the distributing organization. As such, the distribution of this checklist and more importantly the teaching of the lessons contained therein can and should be used by healthcare providers as a demonstrable form of community benefit," Belmont said.

The checklist will be available for download starting today at www.healthlawyers.org/panfluchecklist.

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