New Act Removes Roadblocks to Interstate Recognition of Volunteer Health Workers During Emergencies

Uniform interstate act to grant volunteer health workers quick interstate recognition and protection and ensure surge capacity during emergencies

Between July 2006 and October 2007, the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws drafted and disseminated a recommended state statute called the Uniform Emergency Volunteer Health Practitioners Act that states can adopt—with modifications if they wish—to license qualified volunteer health practitioners so they can provide services during a declared emergency, if they are deployed in coordination with agencies responsible for managing the emergency.

To facilitate the deployment and use of volunteers, the act protects them from exposure to liability for negligence and extends compensation coverage to them when other workers' compensation benefits are otherwise not available.

Key Results:

  • If enacted, the model Uniform Emergency Volunteer Health Practitioners Act will remove roadblocks to interstate recognition of volunteer health practitioners during emergencies.
  • Because the act is triggered automatically by an emergency declaration, it will provide states with medical "surge capacity" at the onset of an emergency.
  • The National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws developed a website to provide up-to-date information on the model act and a tracking system to monitor state activity.