417: Public Health Emergency Ending, Food Safety Training

Chrissie Juliano, Executive Director of the Big Cities Health Coalition, hosts a news conference to discuss what happens when the pandemic-related public health emergency ends on Thursday; John Tagabuel, Director of Environmental Health and Disease...


Chrissie Juliano, Executive Director of the Big Cities Health Coalition, hosts a news conference to discuss what happens when the pandemic-related public health emergency ends on Thursday; John Tagabuel, Director of Environmental Health and Disease Prevention in the Northern Mariana Islands, commends ASTHO’s Food Safety Policy Academy for their help to train his team while he works to build a local program; ASTHO is a Healthy People 2030 Champion; and  ASTHO’s TechXpo and Futures Forum is happening in just a few weeks so make sure you’re connected when they take the stage.

Big Cities Health Coalition: Press Conference Highlights

ASTHO Webpage: Food Policy Guides

ASTHO Blog Article: Do Cottage Foods Really Come from a Cottage?

Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation Webpage: Food Handler Certification

ASTHO News Release: ASTHO Recognized as a Healthy People 2030 Champion for Promoting Well-Being Across Lifespan

ASTHO Webpage: Public Health TechXpo and Futures Forum

 

ASTHO logo

Transcript

ROBERT JOHNSON: 

This is Public Health Review Morning Edition for Wednesday, May 10, 2023. I'm Robert Johnson.

Now, today's news from the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.

 

CHRISSIE JULIANO: 

Just as the 1918 flu pandemic revolutionized public health, we have a similar opportunity to take lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic.

JOHNSON: 

Chrissie Juliano is executive director of the Big Cities Health Coalition. She hosted a news conference recently to discuss what is and isn't going away when the pandemic-related public health emergency ends tomorrow.

JULIANO: 

So vaccines and testing are still available in various settings, often at no charge, through public health departments or local clinics. The federal government is still sending out vaccines and at-home tests to some local and state health departments free of charge. The Inflation Reduction Act passed in the last Congress and it requires Medicaid and CHIP programs to cover all recommended vaccines, including COVID vaccines.

JOHNSON: 

Juliano says there are changes that will require jurisdictions to pivot when the order expires.

JULIANO: 

Emergency waivers that have allowed expanded access to care under Medicaid will go away at the federal level. Millions will lose health coverage unless their states choose to continue waivers. CDC will no longer have the authority to require data from labs, hospitals, and other providers.

JOHNSON: 

Dr. Michelle Taylor leads the Shelby County Health Department in Tennessee. She says the Medicaid changes will impact millions of recipients. Right now.

MICHELLE TAYLOR: 

We know that about five to 15 million Americans, people across the country including an estimated 7 million children, will lose Medicaid coverage as a result of the end of the public health emergency and the end of this special coverage for Medicaid during that emergency.

JOHNSON: 

Public health leaders also worry about losing access to data that no longer must be sent to the CDC. This is Dr. Philip Huang, director of the Dallas County Health and Human Services Department in Texas.

PHILIP HUANG: 

You know, we really are concerned without CDC having that data authority, we're gonna, at all levels, continue to fly blind until the next time some public health emergency is declared. Now we, local health departments, have used the COVID funds to improve data collection and modernize it. But you know, the effects of that will be really limited if we don't have a nationally coordinated system.

JOHNSON: 

You can watch highlights of the news conference using the link in the show notes.

 

ASTHO's Food Safety Policy Academy is helping public health leaders in the Island Areas train their teams on the latest approaches. John Tagabuel is director of Environmental Health and Disease Prevention in the Northern Mariana Islands.

JOHN TAGABUEL: 

We've been doing a lot of piecemeal trainings for the staff. We want to continue to build up a sustained training food safety training program in CNMI. I'm from Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, so training is not readily available to us out there in the Pacific.

JOHNSON: 

Tagabuel says programs like the ASTHO Academy are helping him train his team while he works to build a local program.

TAGABUEL: 

What I need to bring to them is sustained training, science-based training that explains everything so they in turn will explain it to their clients, and we're not there yet. We're just at the beginning stage where the remedial science is being taught, either through us--senior staff--or through our partnerships with our federal and NGOs like ASTHO and such.

JOHNSON: 

Bianca Tamol is an environmental health technician who attended the ASTHO Academy.

BIANCA TAMOL: 

So my takeaways are the information sharing and networking and learning from each jurisdiction's best practices--learning different policies from different jurisdictions about cottage food products and micro enterprise home kitchen businesses, and how these policies can be adapted or applied in our country.

JOHNSON: 

Learn more about food safety using the link in the show notes.

 

Also today, ASTHO is a Healthy People 2030 champion. An ASTHO news release says it received the recognition from an office within HHS for its work to promote the Healthy People 2030 vision. You can read the news release by clicking on the link in the show notes.

 

Finally this morning, ASTHO's TechXpo and Futures Forum is happening in just a few weeks. The agenda is packed with people who are leading in health technology. Make sure you're connected when they take the stage. Online tickets are still available--book a seat now using the link in the show notes.

 

That'll do it for today's newscast. We're back tomorrow morning with more ASTHO news and information.

I'm Robert Johnson. You're listening to Public Health Review Morning Edition. Have a great day.

 

John Tagabuel

Director, Environmental Health and Disease Prevention, NMI Commonwealth Health Corporation

Chrissie Juliano MPP

Executive Director, Big Cities Health Coalition