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13.0206 Public health department powers.

Cite as [A.S.C.A. § 13.0206]

(a) The department shall have general charge, oversight, and care of the public health of the people of the Territory.

(b) To carry out the mission of the department and to develop a strong public health infrastructure, the department is authorized to provide or implement essential public health services and functions, including services or functions to:

(1) Utilize a broad range of flexible powers to protect and promote the public’s health;

(2) Declare and enforce quarantine when none exists and modify or release quarantine when it is established;

(3) When it is determined that there is imminent danger of epidemic or serious outbreak of communicable disease, it may refuse, modify, or limit attendance at any school in the Territory;

(4) When in the judgment of its director, there is deemed to be a condition of public health importance, the department, through its director, may take precautionary measures to protect the public through:

(A) The imposition of an embargo;

(B) The detention of products regulated by the department;

(C) The removal of products regulated by the department from the market; and

(D) Declaration of quarantine.

(E) Any and all actions taken by the director or the department under this subsection (b)(4) must be rescinded within seventy-two (72) hours unless the director or department finds and reports evidence of the condition of public health importance. The director and department finding shall be reported to the Governor.

(5) Provide public health information programs or messages to the public that promote healthy behaviors or lifestyles, or educate individuals about health issues;

(6) Promote efforts among public and private sector partners to develop and fund programs or initiatives that identify and ameliorate health problems;

(7) Conduct, provide, or endorse operational standards for the department;

(8) Develop and provide certification, credentialing, or effective training for department personnel;

(9) Develop, adopt, and implement public health plans that guide or support individual and community public health efforts;

(10) Establish formal or informal relationships with public or private sector partners within the public health system;

(11) Enforce the provisions and requirements of this act;

(12) Identify, assess, prevent, and ameliorate conditions of public health importance through surveillance; epidemiological tracking, program evaluation, and monitoring; testing and screening programs; treatment; abatement of public health nuisances; administrative inspections; or other techniques;

(13) Promote the availability and accessibility of quality health care services through health care facilities or providers;

(14) Promote availability of and access to preventive and primary health including acute and episodic care, prenatal and postpartum care, child health, family planning, school health, chronic disease prevention, child and adult immunization, testing and screening services, dental health, nutrition, health education and promotion services;

(15) Systematically and regularly review the public health system to recommend modifications in its structure or other features to improve public health outcomes;

(16) To the development of a strong public health infrastructure, the department may consult and attempt to utilize national guidelines, initiatives, programs, and recommendations relating to improvements in accomplishing the mission of the department; and

(17) Prevent, control, or ameliorate conditions of public health importance.

(18) The department and the director may work specifically with federal agencies, ASG agencies, public and private sector partners and volunteers to build effective relationships and promote the participant’s role in furthering the mission of public health.

(c) The department shall seek to improve and maintain the health of the people of the Territory through the planning and implementation of programs, activities, and services that promote healthy behaviors and reduce health related risks and hazards, and by programs and services that serve to prevent the incidence of disease and injury. Health promotion and disease prevention activities and services conducted by the Department of Health shall include:

(1) A program of health education throughout the Territory for the purpose of informing the public as to the cause of common diseases and injuries, and effective strategies for reducing the risk of occurrence, or consequences of such diseases and injuries;

(2) Health promotion and disease prevention activities and programs in the Territory, including maternal and child health; chronic disease prevention and control; child immunizations; child vision and hearing screening, children with special health care needs services, dental health screening and prevention services; epidemiology, nutrition education and assessments; prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS);

(3) The collection, analysis, and dissemination of statistical information pertinent to any of its activities;

(4) Cooperation and collaboration with other governmental agencies on issues, programs, and activities related to health improvement and maintenance;

(5) Such other appropriate functions as may be determined to be effective in the promotion of health and the prevention of disease.

(d) The department shall have the authority to request warrants for law enforcement assistance required for the operation or enforcement of any provision of this act.

(e) The department shall have the authority to request assistance from the American Samoa Government attorney general, law enforcement officials, or any other American Samoa official in the operation or enforcement of any provision of this act.

History: 2007, PL 30-11.