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The Emergency System for Advance Registration of Volunteer Health Professionals




General Program

Q: What is ESAR-VHP?

A: ESAR-VHP is a national network of state-based systems, which verifies the identity and credentials of health professionals so that they can more readily volunteer for disaster and public health and medical emergencies. By registering through your state ESAR-VHP program, volunteers' identities, licenses, credentials, accreditations, and hospital privileges are all verified in advance of a public health and medical disaster or emergency. The program was established by Congress in 2002.

Q: Who manages ESAR-VHP?

A: Formerly under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), ESAR-VHP is now administered by the HHS/Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR). ASPR assists each state and U.S. territory in establishing a standardized, volunteer registration system.

Q: How is the organization structured?

A: At the federal level, ESAR-VHP is managed by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR). ASPR develops guidelines, policy, and requirements for the states to use in developing and implementing their ESAR-VHP programs. The states have the flexibility to develop an ESAR-VHP program, which best meets the states' needs while enabling a national system of mutual aid for an optimal operation.

Q: If I sign up to volunteer, an emergency event occurs, and I can't go for personal or professional reasons, will I be impacted in any way?

A: No, you will not be adversely impacted if you choose to decline a volunteer opportunity. Volunteering is just that—volunteering. You are free to opt in or out if called to serve. You are not obligated in any way to respond, and you are not obligated to provide a reason why you are unable to participate in response.

Q: If I volunteer, will I have to use my sick days/vacation time?

A: Use of vacation/sick days will differ from employer to employer. Contact your human resource representative for organization policies and procedures.

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Q: Who can register?

A: Currently licensed and credentialed health professionals can volunteer with ESAR-VHP. The state may register additional health professions occupations, so if your profession is not included in the list below, please consult with your state ESAR-VHP coordinator:

Advanced practice nurses (nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists, certified nurse midwives, clinical nurses specialists)
Behavioral health professionals (marriage and family therapists, medical and public health social workers, mental health and substance abuse social workers, psychologists, and mental health counselors)
Cardiovascular technologist and technicians
Diagnostic medical sonographers
Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics
Licensed practical nurses and licensed vocational nurses
Medical and clinical laboratory technicians (includes phlebotomists)
Medical and clinical laboratory technologists
Physician assistants
Radiologic technologists and technicians
Registered nurses
Respiratory therapists

Q: Do I have to enroll online?

A: The way in which volunteer registration information is collected differs from state to state. Some states use an online, electronic registration system while other states may require volunteers to register via paper applications. Some states may accept both electronic and paper registrations. Visit the ESAR-VHP registration page to find out how you can register with your state.

Q: Is there an enrollment fee?

A: There are no enrollment or membership fees. ESAR-VHP registration is a free service.

Q: Can I choose to withdraw my enrollment?

A: Yes, you can request that your name be removed from the registry at any time.

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Q: Is my personal information secure?

A: Your personal information is maintained and utilized in a manner consistent with all federal, state, and local laws governing security and confidentiality.

Q: Who has access to my personal information once I sign up?

A: Only authorized personnel will have access to your personal information.

Q: How will I be protected personally?

A: A volunteer may be entitled to workers' compensation if injured while participating in an emergency response. Since workers' compensation eligibility is controlled by state law, you should consult your state program coordinator to discuss the coverage available to you.

Q: What legal protection do volunteers have during an emergency? Is there liability coverage?

A: Liability protections will vary by state. The state may protect health volunteers participating in ESAR-VHP from exposure to civil liability due to allegations of malpractice or other medical negligence by identifying and establishing proper legal protections. Legal protections from civil liability can arise through state laws and regulation. You can visit your state ESAR-VHP program Web site or call your state program coordinator for more information.

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