Disaster Preparedness Plan
Approved by the Board: February 4-6, 2002 Board Meeting
Amended by the Board: February 2-5, 2003 Board Meeting
Service Area: Medical
Subject: Disaster Preparedness Plan for Out-of-State Physicians, Physician Assistants, Respiratory Care Practitioners, and Anesthesiologist's Assistants
2003 Amended Policy
Board Extends Disaster Preparedness Response
In February of 2002 the Board of Medical Examiners adopted a policy regarding physicians, physician assistants, respiratory care practitioners and anesthesiologist's assistants licensed out-of-state providing medical care in a disaster or medical emergency declared by the governor. That policy utilized the Southern Regional Emergency Management Compact that was in effect June 4, 1996. The Board has now adopted the following as policy:
In July 2002 the Homeland Security Act (Act 339 of 2002) package was passed in South Carolina. This included The Emergency Health Powers Act. Section 44-4-570 of that Act addressed the licensing of out-of-state health care personnel during a declared state of emergency. It essentially provides for the licensing boards, in coordination with DHEC and LLR, to prescribe the duties of out-of-state emergency health care providers and waive any or all licensing requirements and fees so they may provide immediate assistance during a declared state of emergency. A Memorandum of Understanding between LLR and DHEC allows utilization of out-of-state health care providers as may be necessary during a declared public health emergency or disaster. The previous policy utilizing the Southern Regional Emergency Management Compact is superceded by the current Emergency Health Powers Act. This new law allows the pool of available resources to be expanded beyond the regional member states by allowing health care providers from any state to assist in South Carolina in a declared public health emergency.
In accordance with S.C. Code Ann. Section 1-23-40 (1986), notice is hereby given that the State Board of Medical Examiners for South Carolina has adopted the following statement as guidance for the Board's licensees in the practice of medicine under the Southern Regional Emergency Management Compact.
In order to provide for necessary coverage in the event of a disaster or medical emergency declared by the Governor of South Carolina, the South Carolina Board of Medical Examiners has established the following policy regarding physicians, physician assistants, respiratory care practitioners and anesthesiologist's assistants outside of and unlicensed in South Carolina, to provide medical care without requiring a South Carolina license.
The South Carolina Board of Medical Examiners desires to ensure that a lack of current state licensing does not interfere with providing medical expertise in the volume and quality required for declared medical emergencies or disasters.
The Southern Regional Emergency Management Compact (S.C. Code Ann. § 25-9-420, Article V (Supp. 2001)), effective June 4, 1996, generally allows medical professionals, among others, licensed in another Compact state to practice their profession in this state without a South Carolina license upon request and during a declared emergency or disaster, subject to such limitations and conditions as the Governor may prescribe. Current members of the Compact include Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.
Licensure in another Compact state should be verified by examination of the individual's current license (wallet card or other license identification) by the medical director or other responsible authority.
After the immediate emergency has passed, professionals generally must comply with the usual licensing requirements in this state.