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This entry was published on 2022-06-10
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Functions, powers and duties of the department
Public Health (PBH) CHAPTER 45, ARTICLE 2, TITLE 1
§ 201. Functions, powers and duties of the department. 1. The
department shall, as provided by law:

(a) supervise the work and activities of the local boards of health
and health officers throughout the state, unless otherwise provided by

(b) supervise and control the registration of births, deaths and

(c) supervise the reporting and control of disease;

(d) engage in research into morbidity and mortality;

(e) produce, standardize and distribute diagnostic, prophylactic and
therapeutic products;

(f) conduct laboratory examinations for the diagnosis and control of

(g) promote education in the prevention and control of disease;

(h) promote or provide diagnostic and therapeutic services for
maternal and child health, communicable disease, medical rehabilitation,
cancer and other conditions and diseases affecting public health;

(i) except as otherwise provided by law, license, supervise and
regulate maternity hospitals and homes and the occupation of midwifery;

(j) license, supervise and regulate the manufacture, distribution and
use of narcotics;

(k) maintain and operate such state hospitals, institutions, public
health centers and clinics as shall be established in the department;

(l) supervise and regulate the sanitary aspects of water supplies and
sewage disposal and control the pollution of waters of the state;

(m) supervise and regulate the sanitary aspects of camps, hotels,
boarding houses, public eating and drinking establishments, swimming
pools, bathing establishments and other businesses and activities
affecting public health and, in relation to hotels, boarding houses and
temporary residences as defined in the state sanitary code, inspect such
facilities (i) where inspections do not otherwise occur under the state
uniform fire prevention and building code, (ii) to respond to
complaints, or (iii) when otherwise necessary;

(n) exercise control over and supervise the abatement of nuisances
affecting or likely to affect public health;

(o) advise any local unit of government and the public health
officials thereof within the state, in the performance of their official
duties and regulate the financial assistance granted by the state in
connection with all public health activities;

(p) receive and expend funds made available for public health purposes
pursuant to law;

(q) license, supervise and regulate the practice of funeral directing
and embalming;

(r) supervise and regulate the public health aspects of ionizing
radiation and nonionizing electromagnetic radiation; and may in its
discretion license activities within the state affecting or likely to
affect public health and relating to radioactive materials, excluding
special nuclear materials in quantities sufficient to form a critical
mass and excluding the handling and disposal of radioactive wastes and
the release of radioactivity to the environment regulated by the state
department of environmental conservation;

(s) administer to the medical and health needs of the ambulant sick
and needy Indians on the reservations;

(u) engage in research into the causes of rocky mountain spotted fever
and the prevention thereof and develop programs for the control of
ticks, insects and anthropods which act as vectors of disease affecting
man, within funds made available for such purposes.

(v) act as the single state agency for medical assistance pursuant to
section three hundred sixty-three-a of the social services law, as
amended by this chapter, with responsibility to supervise the plan for
medical assistance as required by title XIX of the federal Social
Security act, or its successor, and to adopt regulations as may be
necessary to implement this plan.

(w) make available to the council on children and families
information, in a format identified by the council, regarding home
visiting programs that meet the criteria as required by section four
hundred twenty-nine of the social services law regardless of whether
such program has a contract with or receive funding from the state. Such
information shall be provided in accordance with the requirements set
forth in subdivision two of section four hundred eighty-three-h of the
social services law. Such information shall be made available no less
than once a year.

(x) produce an annual report analyzing the costs related to the sexual
assault examination direct reimbursement program as created under
subdivision thirteen of section six hundred thirty-one of the executive
law and provide such report to the office of victim services on or
before September first of each year. Such report shall be provided to
the governor, temporary president of the senate and the speaker of the

(y) To develop a form by which a coroner, coroner's physician or
medical examiner, pursuant to section six hundred seventy-seven of the
county law, shall report to the division of veterans' services any death
which appears to be caused by suicide by a person who, to the knowledge
of the coroner, coroner's physician or medical examiner, is a veteran.
This form shall at a minimum: (i) ensure compliance with the strictest
privacy protections and encourage data aggregation to the extent
feasible; (ii) provide the address to which the form is to be mailed or
submitted electronically; and (iii) include the county of residence and
the branch of service of deceased veterans during the reporting period.

2. The department shall continue to exercise all of the functions,
powers and duties which have been prescribed by law and which are being
exercised by it when this chapter takes effect together with such
functions, powers and duties as hereafter may be conferred and imposed
upon it by law.

3. All the provisions of this chapter shall apply to the department
continued by this chapter and to the commissioner, the public health
council and any successor council, and to the divisions, bureaus and
officers in such department.