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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

US Public Health Service Access Teams

What is a Service Access Team (SAT)?
A SAT is a group of United States Public Health Service (USPHS) Commissioned Corps officers acting in response to a Presidentially-declared disaster or public health emergency. The SAT assesses and monitors ongoing health and human services needs of the affected populations to prevent injury and facilitate recovery.

SATs are skilled at meeting the access and functional needs of at-risk individuals including planning and accessing resources for these populations. A SAT can augment the local health care workforce by providing resources and assistance to local health care authorities and ensuring access to essential services to preserve life and health. The SAT can facilitate communication and advise health-decision makers during disasters. The SAT can help support the discharge planning process for health care institutions and general population shelters following a disaster by connecting individuals to needed services in the community like accessible housing, home health care, and personal assistant services.

SATs can help with:
  • Needs Assessment
  • Plan Development/Cultural Sensitivity
  • Advocating/Connecting
  • Clinical Care Coordination
  • Continuity/Transition Management
  • Psycho-Social Management
  • Reintegration
  • Confidentiality assurance

When is it available?
During a Presidentially-declared disaster or public health emergency, local and state emergency management channels can request a SAT under the Stafford Act, Emergency Support Function (ESF) #8 – Public Health and Medical Services, to assist local health authorities in response and/or recovery efforts. The U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary or Assistant Secretary for Health has the authority to activate a SAT in response to a request made through the Surgeon General. A SAT can deploy within 36 hours of activation.

What is the structure of the SAT Program?
Each SAT is comprised of 10 USPHS Commissioned Corps officer responders. A SAT can also be divided in half for a smaller response. SATs are capable of providing augmentation to other deployable USPHS elements and often engage in transporting displaced individuals and patient repatriation. The cost-share for a state, tribal, or U.S. territory to implement SAT is typically 25 percent.

Need More Information?
Contact the Office of Force Readiness and Deployment at 301-443-3859 or send direct requests for assistance through the ESF #8 coordinator at your State Emergency Operation Center.

  • This page last reviewed: April 03, 2015