Executive Decision Making and Liability for Public Health Officials

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Date Developed: 1/25/2018. Source: Network for Public Health Law. Presenter(s): Jill Krueger, JD. Type: n.a.. Level: n.a.. Length: n.a..


Public health officials have great discretion in carrying out their responsibilities to protect health. However, this discretion can be legally challenged by individuals, organizations, and government. A video, slides, and the decision making tool are available.

Learning Objectives

• Discretionary authority public health officials have in carrying out their duties.

• Situations where use of discretion may be legally challenged.

• Factors the law requires to show proof of an abuse of discretion.

• Tools to assist public health decision making (the recent prosecutions of health officials for the Legionella outbreak in Flint, Michigan will serve as an example).

This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number UE8MC25742; MCH Navigator for $180,000/year. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.