What is a Good Samaritan law?

Typically, Good Samaritan laws protect individuals who provide care outside of their normal employment. Who is covered by Good Samaritan laws and when the laws apply vary from state to state. For example, Pennsylvania has Good Samaritan laws protecting both medical personnel (such as physicians and nurses) and non-medical individuals who render emergency care at the scene of an unexpected emergency.

What is the difference between immunity and liability?

Immunity means being exempt from a penalty or a duty. Liability means being legally responsible for something.

How do federal laws affect state law?

Federal laws preempt, or overrule, contradicting state or local laws. Federal laws create a minimum the states must follow. Generally, a state can enact a law that is stricter than a federal law but not less restrictive.

What does good faith mean?

Good faith refers to acting with honest intentions.

I did not see a law regarding an area of law, what does that mean?

Generally, this means that the state does not have a law in that specific area. States are not required to provide laws for all relevant areas. For example, states are not required to provide workers’ compensation to volunteers, so some states will not have a law pertaining to volunteer workers’ compensation.

Why does it matter if a state or federal government declares an emergency, disaster, or catastrophe?

Declarations are legal contracts and can change laws. They can trigger laws that offer unique privileges or protections to individuals responding to the disaster. For example, in most states only after an emergency declaration has been declared can a governor waive licensing requirements for out-of-state licensed professionals.

What is the difference between emergency, disaster, catastrophe, emergency disaster, or public health disaster?

Each state and the federal government can decide what type or types of declarations to issue. They vary as to who has the authority to issue the declaration, for how long the declaration remains in effect, and what laws change after the declaration is made. Some states only have one type of declaration and others have a variety. The different declarations have different legal consequences for different professions, departments, and boards.

What is a compact?

States can enter into contracts called “compacts” with other states, the federal government, territories, and countries. There can be more than two participants in a compact. The most notable compact regarding emergency volunteers is the Emergency Management Assistance Compact or “EMAC.” EMAC is an agreement between each of the states and United States territories that allows for the sharing of resources and personnel after the governor of an affected jurisdiction declares a state of emergency.

Where is a listing of definitions?

Definitions can be found by hovering over certain words or phrases in the law summary text.

What professionals are included in ‘Other Medical Professionals’ on the Roles page?

The ‘Other Medical Professionals’ include any clinical profession requiring a license or certification that is not specifically separated in other roles. This includes, but is not limited to, podiatrists, dentists, physical therapists, and physician assistants.

What professionals are included in “Nurses” on the Roles page?

‘Nurses’ include advanced practice nurses, certified nursing assistants, registered nurses, and licensed practical nurses.

What is a Emergency Declaration?

An emergency declaration is a formal, legal document. All U.S. governors have authority to declare states of emergency (although they may refer to it with different terms, such as a “disaster” or “public emergency”). Generally, an emergency declaration is made through an Executive Order which contains important information, such as its effective date, how long it will last, which entities are responsible for taking certain actions, and which laws or policies are impacted by the declaration.

In some jurisdictions, additional organizations, such as departments of health and agriculture, emergency management, and environmental protection agencies, also have authority to declare emergencies. Some local governments are given authority as well. Differences in the political structure of the United States territories means that, in some jurisdictions, certain high ranking officials can declare an emergency while, in others, the government must petition the President of the United States to make a declaration on behalf of the territory.

The President of the United States (under the Stafford Act and National Emergencies Act) and the Secretary of Health and Human Services (under the Public Health Service Act) are authorized to declare emergencies at the federal level. These emergency declarations can activate the provision of funding, personnel, equipment, supplies, and technical assistance to requesting states. They can also trigger waivers of certain laws, removal of regulatory mandates, and activation of emergency protocols and systems.

Emergency declarations can be issued simultaneously at the federal, state, and local levels. In general, federal declarations do not impact state requirements; however, if there is a conflict between a federal order and a state order, the federal law will prevail over the state law.

What Professionals are included in 'Other Volunteers' on the roles page?

The ‘Other Volunteers’ include a person who is volunteering but does not hold a certification, license, or permit or a person who holds a non-medical certification, license, or permit, such as a licensed architect or engineer.

Is there a way for me to compare different roles, states, or situations?

Yes, at the top of the the state page is a bar listing your current role, state, and situation selections. On the far right of this bar is a ‘Change’ option. By selecting ‘Change,’ you will be able to change your current selections.

The laws seem to be the same regardless of my role selection. Is this right?

Yes, many states group multiple roles and situations into one law and, therefore, will be relevant to multiple selections.