Bill would let out-of-state physicians practice in Georgia during emergencies

ATLANTA – Medical providers who are in good standing in their home states would be allowed to practice in Georgia during emergencies under legislation introduced this week.

The Volunteer Emergency Assistance Bill would allow out-of-state physicians, medical providers and veterinarians to receive a temporary license to practice in Georgia during emergencies, provided they are in good standing in their home state. The bill also protects volunteers from liability in helping people who are sick or injured – similar to the “Good Samaritan Law.”

“Our sister states like Louisiana and Mississippi have found themselves unable to respond adequately to mass causalities following Hurricane Katrina and Rita,” Sen. Preston Smith, R-Rome, the bill’s sponsor, said in a statement. “Our state also has seen its share of natural disasters, most recently with the deadly flooding in September.

“In a time of a large scale emergency, assistance from any and all volunteers is crucial to ensuring the safety of Georgia citizens,” Smith said. “With this bill, safety measures and guidelines will be instilled so that in the event of a natural or man-made disaster, the appropriate medical attention can be brought to our state.”

After the governor declares a state of emergency, the Georgia Emergency Management Agency and the federal government would issue the “expedited temporary licenses,” according to Smith.

The Volunteer Emergency Assistance Bill is Senate Bill 315.

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