Requesting Volunteer Help from SCCM

During all types of emergency situations SCCM organizes volunteer clinicians to go to a site and help provide care. The first organized response was in 1990 when the Gulf War left many US hospitals short-handed as clinicians were called to active duty by the military. Since then we’ve recruited and organized volunteers in other emergencies like earthquakes, floods and hurricanes. But the call for volunteers isn’t as simple as some might think because of the licensing issues necessary for medical personnel. So SCCM follows a standardized procedure to activate the call.

For SCCM to issue a call for critical care volunteers, we must have an official request from a state or national agency who has authority to manage interstate licensing. We do this not to add another layer of complexity to an already difficult situation, but rather to ensure that when our members respond they can be legally licensed to practice in that state.

The Uniform Emergency Volunteer Health Practitioner Act (UEVHPA) is model legislation developed in 2006 by the Uniform Law Commission. The legislation allows any state that has enacted it to recognize out-of-state licenses for a variety of health practitioners during a state of declared emergency. Participating states must maintain a registration system under which all volunteer practitioners must register. As of 2020, 18 states and the District of Columbia have enacted UEVHPA legislation.

Existing occupational licensure compacts are also be helpful in these difficult circumstances. The Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC), for example, allows nurses who are licensed and in good standing in one of the Compact member states to practice in any of the others automatically. 32 states are currently members of the eNLC Compact and three states are considering legislation that would allow them to join in 2020. The Recognition of EMS Personnel Licensure Interstate Compact (REPLICA) is similar and allows EMS personnel licensed in any one of the 19 Compact states (as of March 2020) to practice in any of the other member states.

Additionally, many individual states have enacted special legislation specifically for COVID-19 pandemic which govern this matter.

SCCM is pleased to coordinate with such an agency if those that need help can put us in touch with the governmental agent with licensure clearance authority. We then work directly with the agency to provide them the information they require and recruit volunteer clinicians to assist so that when they arrive they can go immediately to work helping those in need.

If you need assistance please reach out to SCCM with the contact information of the official capable of clearing licenses or have them contact SCCM directly at emergency@sccm.org. A member of our Emergency Response team will respond quickly.

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The Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM) is the largest non-profit medical organization dedicated to promoting excellence and consistency in the practice of critical care. With members in more than 100 countries, SCCM is the only organization that represents all professional components of the critical care team. The Society offers a variety of activities that ensures excellence in patient care, education, research and advocacy. Read more
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