Volunteer health professionals and emergencies

Assessing and transforming the legal environment

James Hodge, Lance A. Gable, Stephanie H. Cálves

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

29 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Volunteer health professionals (VHPs) are essential in emergencies to fill surge capacity and provide needed medical expertise. While some VHPs are well-organized and trained, others arrive spontaneously at the site of a disaster. Lacking organization, training, and identification, they may actually impede emergency efforts. Complications involving medical volunteers in New York City after September 11, 2001, led Congress to authorize federal authorities to assist states and territories in developing emergency systems for the advance registration of volunteer health professionals (ESAR-VHP). Through advance registration, volunteers can be vetted, trained, and mobilized more effectively during emergencies. The use of VHPs, however, raises multiple legal questions: What con-stitutes an emergency, how is it declared, and what are the consequences? When are volunteers liable for their actions? When may volunteers who are licensed or certified in one state legally practice their profession in another state? Are volunteers entitled to compensation for harms they incur? This article examines the legal framework underlying the registration and use of volunteers during emergencies and offers recommendations for legal reform, including: (1) establish minimum standards to facilitate interjurisdictional emergency response, improve coordination, and enhance reciprocity of licensing and credentialing; (2) develop liability provisions for VHPs that balance their need to respond without significant fear of civil liability with patients' rights to legal recourse for egregious harms; and (3) provide basic levels of protections for VHPs harmed, injured, or killed while responding to emergencies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)216-223
Number of pages8
JournalBiosecurity and Bioterrorism
Volume3
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

health professionals
Volunteers
Emergencies
Health
liability
federal authority
patient's rights
reciprocity
September 11, 2001
recourse
Disasters
health
disaster
Surge Capacity
legislation
expertise
profession
Credentialing
anxiety
organization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health(social science)
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

Cite this

Volunteer health professionals and emergencies : Assessing and transforming the legal environment. / Hodge, James; Gable, Lance A.; Cálves, Stephanie H.

In: Biosecurity and Bioterrorism, Vol. 3, No. 3, 2005, p. 216-223.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{c18bfd524c494cee90d05120576841f8,
title = "Volunteer health professionals and emergencies: Assessing and transforming the legal environment",
abstract = "Volunteer health professionals (VHPs) are essential in emergencies to fill surge capacity and provide needed medical expertise. While some VHPs are well-organized and trained, others arrive spontaneously at the site of a disaster. Lacking organization, training, and identification, they may actually impede emergency efforts. Complications involving medical volunteers in New York City after September 11, 2001, led Congress to authorize federal authorities to assist states and territories in developing emergency systems for the advance registration of volunteer health professionals (ESAR-VHP). Through advance registration, volunteers can be vetted, trained, and mobilized more effectively during emergencies. The use of VHPs, however, raises multiple legal questions: What con-stitutes an emergency, how is it declared, and what are the consequences? When are volunteers liable for their actions? When may volunteers who are licensed or certified in one state legally practice their profession in another state? Are volunteers entitled to compensation for harms they incur? This article examines the legal framework underlying the registration and use of volunteers during emergencies and offers recommendations for legal reform, including: (1) establish minimum standards to facilitate interjurisdictional emergency response, improve coordination, and enhance reciprocity of licensing and credentialing; (2) develop liability provisions for VHPs that balance their need to respond without significant fear of civil liability with patients' rights to legal recourse for egregious harms; and (3) provide basic levels of protections for VHPs harmed, injured, or killed while responding to emergencies.",
author = "James Hodge and Gable, {Lance A.} and C{\'a}lves, {Stephanie H.}",
year = "2005",
doi = "10.1089/bsp.2005.3.216",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "3",
pages = "216--223",
journal = "Health security",
issn = "2326-5094",
publisher = "Mary Ann Liebert Inc.",
number = "3",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Volunteer health professionals and emergencies

T2 - Assessing and transforming the legal environment

AU - Hodge, James

AU - Gable, Lance A.

AU - Cálves, Stephanie H.

PY - 2005

Y1 - 2005

N2 - Volunteer health professionals (VHPs) are essential in emergencies to fill surge capacity and provide needed medical expertise. While some VHPs are well-organized and trained, others arrive spontaneously at the site of a disaster. Lacking organization, training, and identification, they may actually impede emergency efforts. Complications involving medical volunteers in New York City after September 11, 2001, led Congress to authorize federal authorities to assist states and territories in developing emergency systems for the advance registration of volunteer health professionals (ESAR-VHP). Through advance registration, volunteers can be vetted, trained, and mobilized more effectively during emergencies. The use of VHPs, however, raises multiple legal questions: What con-stitutes an emergency, how is it declared, and what are the consequences? When are volunteers liable for their actions? When may volunteers who are licensed or certified in one state legally practice their profession in another state? Are volunteers entitled to compensation for harms they incur? This article examines the legal framework underlying the registration and use of volunteers during emergencies and offers recommendations for legal reform, including: (1) establish minimum standards to facilitate interjurisdictional emergency response, improve coordination, and enhance reciprocity of licensing and credentialing; (2) develop liability provisions for VHPs that balance their need to respond without significant fear of civil liability with patients' rights to legal recourse for egregious harms; and (3) provide basic levels of protections for VHPs harmed, injured, or killed while responding to emergencies.

AB - Volunteer health professionals (VHPs) are essential in emergencies to fill surge capacity and provide needed medical expertise. While some VHPs are well-organized and trained, others arrive spontaneously at the site of a disaster. Lacking organization, training, and identification, they may actually impede emergency efforts. Complications involving medical volunteers in New York City after September 11, 2001, led Congress to authorize federal authorities to assist states and territories in developing emergency systems for the advance registration of volunteer health professionals (ESAR-VHP). Through advance registration, volunteers can be vetted, trained, and mobilized more effectively during emergencies. The use of VHPs, however, raises multiple legal questions: What con-stitutes an emergency, how is it declared, and what are the consequences? When are volunteers liable for their actions? When may volunteers who are licensed or certified in one state legally practice their profession in another state? Are volunteers entitled to compensation for harms they incur? This article examines the legal framework underlying the registration and use of volunteers during emergencies and offers recommendations for legal reform, including: (1) establish minimum standards to facilitate interjurisdictional emergency response, improve coordination, and enhance reciprocity of licensing and credentialing; (2) develop liability provisions for VHPs that balance their need to respond without significant fear of civil liability with patients' rights to legal recourse for egregious harms; and (3) provide basic levels of protections for VHPs harmed, injured, or killed while responding to emergencies.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=33645549718&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=33645549718&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1089/bsp.2005.3.216

DO - 10.1089/bsp.2005.3.216

M3 - Article

VL - 3

SP - 216

EP - 223

JO - Health security

JF - Health security

SN - 2326-5094

IS - 3

ER -