Hurricanes Katrina and Rita – Legal Issues Concerning Volunteer Health Personnel

In response to Hurricanes
Katrina and Rita

in the Gulf Coast region, volunteer medical personnel have been
utilized to provide medical assistance to a large number of impacted
persons. Many of our nation’s health professionals have been eager and
willing to provide volunteer health services. Utilizing these
volunteers in times of an emergency, however, presents
challenges for
hospital, public health, and emergency authorities, and raises a host
of legal issues.

During the hurricane emergencies and their aftermath, the Centers
was contacted by federal, state, and local government
representatives and private entities seeking information regarding the
legal issues associated with volunteer health personnel participating
in the response to the hurricanes. In response, the Centers developed (or made available) several memoranda, tables, articles,
and other documents to provide information and analysis for volunteers
and their coordinators. These resources can be accessed in PDF format
through the links below:

– This information does not represent the official legal positions of
any federal, state, or local government agency or entity that provide
funding to the Center, nor is it meant to provide
legal guidance or advice. Volunteer health personnel and their
coordinators should contact their local, state, territorial, or federal
legal advisors for specific legal guidance.

In addition, in conjunction with our work on the
ESAR-VHP Legal and Regulatory Issues Project
, the Centers
has developed several resources to provide states and territories with
information, contacts, and resources to assist in the assessment of
many of the legal issues that arise in the implementation of ESAR-VHP.
These resources provide information regarding the general legal
framework for the use of volunteer health professionals in emergencies
for all states that are presently in the course of implementing
ESAR-VHP programs. For more information on this project, click

Additional links of potential relevance include: