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Henrico MRC Frequently Asked Questions


Q: Who can join the Henrico MRC?
A: Anyone who lives or works in Henrico County, VA. 

The Henrico MRC needs volunteers of all medical specialties, including, but not limited to, physicians, nurses, pharmacists, physician assistants, nursing associates, dentists, veterinarians, mental health workers, as well as non-medical personnel, such as funeral directors, office managers, clerical workers, social workers, etc.


Q: What is the time commitment involved?
A: There is no specified time commitment. 

Meetings and training events will be held about once a month. MRC Members are encouraged but not required to attend all of these events. There will also be at least one disaster preparedness exercise each year. Also, further training will be available through Henrico Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) and the American Red Cross, as well as sister MRCs in Chesterfield, Richmond, and Hanover.


Q: How do I join the Henrico MRC?
A:
 Click here for the link to the Virginia MRC website and complete the on-line form.


Q: When and how will the Henrico MRC volunteers be called into action?
A: In the event of an emergency or disaster, the Henrico Health Director may decide to call upon the MRC to provide extra manpower resources to respond to the disaster.

The Henrico MRC Coordinator will contact the MRC volunteers using the information they provided during enrollment. If the volunteer is willing and able to respond to the alert, they will be provided instructions on where to report.


Q: What if I am called in an emergency and I am unable to respond?
A: There is no obligation for MRC members to respond to every alert.

We understand that conflicts with work, family, or personal matters may prevent volunteers from responding to every alert. For example, many MRC members may already be called in to work extra shifts at their place of employment during a local emergency, and thus be unable to serve in the MRC. Also, some opportunities to respond may involve deployment to another locality or even another State. This may appeal to some volunteers and not to others. Remember, participation in the Henrico MRC is strictly voluntary and you are under no obligation to participate at any time.


Q: What types of emergencies might require activation of the MRC?
A: The MRC may be called in to respond to a wide variety of emergencies.

Generally, the MRC will be called when the public health response to the emergency or disaster requires more personnel and resources than the local Health Department has on hand. These emergencies may include Hurricanes or other severe weather, natural disease outbreaks, terrorism, or major accidents and disasters.


Q: If I am activated as an MRC volunteer, what job will I be doing?
A: The job you will be doing as an activated MRC volunteer will depend on 3 factors: The nature of the emergency, the response required, and your area of expertise or specialty. 

Volunteers may be needed to staff emergency call centers or hotlines, dispense medications, provide medical treatment at emergency evacuation centers, screen patients, or may support these functions through clerical work or other functions. MRC volunteers will work under the supervision of the Virginia Department of Health (this is necessary to ensure the maximum liability protection for MRC volunteers).


Q: As an MRC Volunteer, what is my legal liability?
A: MRC Volunteers are specifically protected by legislation that was added to the Code of Virginia in 2005, and are NOT liable for medical care provided during a declared emergency, with the exceptions of gross negligence or willful misconduct.

Volunteers are important to the Commonwealth of Virginia. This is demonstrated in the Virginia State Government Volunteers Act (Act), found in §§ 2.2-3600 - 2.2-3605 of the Code of Virginia. The General Assembly reemphasized this in its 2005 session by unanimously passing legislation that was signed into law by the Governor specifically adding to the Act volunteers who serve in a Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) unit.

The Code states that those serving in a Medical Reserve Corps unit acting in good faith and in compliance with the laws of Virginia and government regulations shall not be liable for civil damages related to that service, excluding of course gross negligence and willful misconduct.

Federal and state law does not exclude legal challenges and suits against the Act and those providing volunteer services. To this end, a program of liability protection covers each volunteer.

The Division of Risk Management of the Department of the Treasury provides all liability coverage and services under the State Risk Management Plan as approved by the Governor. This coverage is identical to that provided all state employees, and includes $2,000,000 in liability coverage per occurrence with no aggregate limits. For medical malpractice the coverage is to the statutory limits set in the Code of Virginia, all necessary legal expenses, and a $10,000 medical payment provision. The Division of Risk Management administers claims with legal defense provided by the Office of the Attorney General or counsel appointed by the Governor.


Volunteers covered under the State's liability, must:

  • Be registered as a member of an organized MRC or Volunteer Unit
  • Demonstrate comprehension of basic emergency competencies
  • Act under the direction of the VDH or other state agency
  • Follow the policies and protocols of the MRC Unit or VDH
  • Act within the scope of their education and experience

Q: Are there opportunities to serve in non-emergencies?
A: Yes. Opportunities arise from time to time to serve the community in non-emergency situations.

MRC Volunteers may help with special events such as the annual flu vaccination clinics, community events (such as health fairs), or with other health department activities. However, there are some limitations. The liability protection provided by the Code of Virginia to MRC members does not apply to non-emergency volunteer work. Also, some volunteer work may require registration as a Henrico County Volunteer, a Red Cross Volunteer, a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Volunteer, or registration with another organization.

 

Last Updated: 06-30-2014

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