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Expands forced detainment and treatment to include vaccine preventable diseases

Location: NY
Title: Expands forced detainment and treatment to include vaccine preventable diseases
Identifier: A439
Stance: OPPOSE
Action Required: None at this time
Status: Failed to move in the 2017 legislative session


UPDATE: 7/7/2017 - A439 failed to move in the 2017 legislative session ended.  However, bills can carry over to 2018 in New York if the sponsor requests it. 

A439 was introduced on 1/9/2017 and referred to the Assembly Committee on Health.   This bill is sponsored by Assembly Member N. Nick Perry.  This bill changes the current law concerning the control and reporting of communicable diseases.  This bill is similar to A6873 from the 2015 and 2016 legislative session that failed to move forward. 

Current law 2120 requires a health officer to conduct an investigation whenever a complaint is made by a physician concerning any person who is afflicted with typhoid fever, tuberculosis, diphtheria or other communicable diseases and is unable or unwilling to live in such a manner as not to expose others.  If the health officer finds after investigation that a person so afflicted is a "menace" to others, he shall make and file a complaint against such person with a magistrate, and on such complaint the said person shall be brought before such magistrate and that person can be committed to a hospital or institution.  While committed the person is required to follow all the rules and regulations.

This bill would expand the list of communicable diseases that would require an investigation to include diseases that there are vaccines for like measles and hepatitis b among others. This is an unwarranted expansion of power for these diseases and this bill goes too far.  

The bill also requires physicians to report all suspected or confirmed cases of any of these diseases to the health department within 24 hours.  The commissioner of the dept. of health would promulgate all the rules and regulations necessary and desirable to implement the new law.

This bill does not specifically mention any person suspected of a so-called vaccine preventable disease being forced to get a vaccine, however, with existing disease control language and the fact that this bill is so broad, it is likely that any person committed to a hospital or institution must follow the rules of that facility and be vaccinated if that is what is ordered. Also, it is the department of health that would have the authority to write the rules. - text, status and history