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Arizona Emergency System for the Advance Registration of Volunteer Health Professionals (AZ-ESAR-VHP)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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Click on the question to view the answer.

Do I have professional liability and workers compensation protection?

Volunteers enrolled in the program are eligible for state- and/or local-sponsored liability and legal coverage and workers compensation within the borders of the state or local jurisdictions during a “declared state of emergency” or public health emergency crisis or, if officially deployed by the governor to a disaster area outside the state, under the national Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) or by other mutual aid agreements.  Any of the participating hospital CEOs may declare a large-scale disaster for his or her specific hospital and request assistance from volunteers enrolled in the program.  In this scenario, program volunteers may be eligible for coverage under the professional liability and workers compensation programs offered by the requesting hospital.

Liability Information

When I would be ineligible for professional liability and workers compensation protection?

Volunteers enrolled in the program are not eligible for state-sponsored emergency worker liability coverage and/or workers compensation when:

  • The volunteer emergency worker actions are deemed to be the result of willful misconduct, gross negligence or acted upon in bad faith.
  • The volunteer emergency worker is acting outside the course and scope of assigned duties and is engaged in an unauthorized activity.
  • The volunteer emergency worker actions are not part of the official volunteer responsibilities requested at the time of deployment with the State of Arizona Emergency Credentialing Program, by local or state incident commanders or by the incident commander’s designate.
  • The volunteer emergency worker actions are taken independently from the Emergency Credentialing Program as a “self-deployed” volunteer.

(Source: Arizona Revised Statues (ARS) Title 26; Sections 301-314)

Why does Arizona need licensed health care professional volunteers?

To have an effective emergency response plan and system in Arizona, the region and the nation must be able to quickly identify and contact volunteer healthcare professionals who have the specific skills and competencies needed to care for people who are injured or ill.

Who can register with AZ-ESAR-VHP?

AZ-ESAR-VHP is a registry for ALL Arizona health professionals.  This includes individual/independent health professionals; active, inactive or retired practitioners; students enrolled in a health-related curriculum; and health professionals already affiliated with a volunteer organization (e.g., Medical Reserve Corps, Disaster Medical Assistant Teams and American Red Cross).

How does the Emergency Credentialing Program work?

Interested health care professionals provide personal contact information and a self-assessment of discipline-specific capabilities and credentials.  For those who are selected to participate, this information will become part of a central, confidential database that can be accessed by participating acute care hospitals, community clinics, emergency response teams and emergency management agencies during a large-scale disaster or public health emergency.

In the event of an emergency, Arizona will use volunteer health professionals and volunteer health organizations registered with AZ-ESAR-VHP.  Arizona Department of Health Services and Arizona Division of Emergency Management will contact volunteers who have the skills and competencies needed for the current emergency to see if they are available to provide response and relief assistance.

What if I am notified and am unable or unwilling to help?

When you are notified to volunteer, you can make a decision about your availability at that time. You always retain the right to decline for any reason.  Keep in mind that participating in an emergency response can be physically and emotionally draining, can separate you from your family for extended periods of time and can be dangerous.

You and your family’s safety is always paramount during any disaster response and relief incident. Therefore, we strongly urge every volunteer to take some basic steps to prepare for potential emergencies/disasters through acquiring an emergency supply kit, developing a family communications plan and to stay informed.

For more information on personal and family emergency preparedness visit Just in Case Arizona.

What about my family and my job?

Please remember your willingness to provide volunteer service and your time is most appreciated and extremely valued in supplementing existing state and local emergency and public health resources. However, volunteers are required to coordinate their volunteer time with the needs of their family, their employers and any other unpaid obligations relative to an emergency response (e.g., EMS, police, fire, hospitals, Medical Reserve Corps and Disaster Medical Assistance Teams).

What will my role be in a large-scale disaster or public health emergency?

Every attempt will be made to match your skills, competencies and license or registration level with your responsibilities during a large-scale disaster or public health emergency. On occasion, however, you may be asked to assist with activities that are less challenging than your usual professional activities. You should never accept responsibility for an activity or assignment that is outside your scope of practice as defined by your license, registration or certification. 

In addition, you will have the opportunity to choose:

1. the types of incidents are you volunteer for (e.g., natural disaster, terrorism and public health emergency)

2. how long are you willing to deploy (e.g., hours, days/nights, shifts, weeks, etc.)

3. how far are you willing to travel or become a registered federal volunteer disaster relief worker.

What training is available?

Volunteers enrolled in the program may acquire in-advance disaster and emergency preparedness training courses through the Arizona Department of Health Services, University of Arizona Critical Response and Emergency System Training (CREST), Arizona Division of Emergency Management, Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) Units, Citizen Corps Programs and the Federal Emergency Management Agency Institute and Independent Study courses. Additional courses may be required for some volunteers with specific and more complex disaster response roles.  At the time of the disaster, each volunteer will receive appropriate just-in-time training to prepare them for a safe and effective response.  Volunteers are also encouraged to participate in disaster response drills and exercises conducted by hospitals, communities, state and local Department’s of Public Health and Emergency Management and other organizations around the state that evaluate emergency management plans and protocols.

How do I register?

Volunteers can register online.  Individuals must provide contact information and complete the online self-assessment.  If you are a registered or interested in volunteering with a AZ-ESAR-VHP partner hospital, agency or emergency response team, your information will be forwarded to that institution or team for validation and then returned to ADHS for inclusion in the statewide database.  Redundant communication mechanisms will be explored for operational use in the event online services are unavailable.

How will I be contacted in an emergency?

Once registered, you will be asked for information about the best way to contact you during an emergency.  Be sure to keep this information current and return to the program Web site to update your information.

Should the a need arise, appropriate pre-credentialed volunteers will be contacted by phone, pager, e-mail, etc. and asked to deploy.  If available, travel and other instructions will be provided.

How will I update my information?

When you register, you will receive a secure and unique volunteer identification password/number.  This password/number is needed to log on the Web site to access program, disaster deployment and activation information, to register for training courses and to update contact information.

Security: Who has access to this information?

Personal information is maintained in a central, secure database administered by ADHS/BPHEP and is used ONLY for ESAR-VHP activities (i.e., an official request for assistance and recruitment for disaster trainings, drills and exercises).  Under no circumstances will information be sold or shared with an entity that is not a program partner.