Policy

New House bill sets guidelines for health emergencies in Ohio

One key provision of the bill would allow a state agency to force a state worker who exhibits signs of whatever illness caused the emergency to immediately leave the workplace.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A recently introduced bill in Ohio’s House of Representatives would prescribe actions for the state to take in the event of an health emergency, such as a widespread H1N1 outbreak.

One key provision of the bill would allow a state agency to force a state worker who exhibits signs of whatever illness caused the emergency to immediately leave the workplace, according to the text of the legislation, House Bill 357.

The legislation doesn’t place the same requirements on employees of private companies, according to its sponsor, Rep. John Patrick Carney, D-Clintonville.

The bill would require state agencies to post on their Web sites information about how businesses and private citizens should react to a health emergency, as well as state resources available to them.

The bill also directs state, country and local health emergency officials to identify and develop plans to address any health resource shortfalls that could occur as a result of a health emergency.

“It would put in place uniform standards so everybody knows how to react in the event something does arise,” Carney said.

The bill has been assigned to the Health Committee and is scheduled be discussed in a hearing on Wednesday, Carney said.

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