1. What is UVAMRC?
The UVAMRC is a joint student-faculty disaster response organization which fulfills two main roles: public health education and disaster response. In general, the MRC serves to augment the efforts of other area organizations such as the Red Cross, the Virginia Department of Health or the Charlottesville-Albemarle Rescue Squad. During an emergent event (natural or manmade disaster, for example), UVAMRC can be activated and its members sent to supplement the services of these and other organizations. The members of UVAMRC consist of medical, nursing, and undergraduate students, as well as professionals from many walks of life, including medical, mental health, nursing, and many others. The UVAMRC leadership consists of the Student Coordinating Council (SCC) and the Professional Advisory Board (PAB), who oversee the functions of the MRC and ensure that its daily operations are carried out and its major objectives achieved.
2. What are the requirements of members?
Members are required to:
A. Complete designated online training modules within three months of joining that help orient them to the national standards of disaster response and complete a disaster skills training course put on by UVAMRC within 1 year of joining.
B. Attend general meetings and training activities on a consistent basis.
C. Keep all contact information up to date in order to ensure that if activated, UVAMRC can respond in force numbers and type necessary to complete the tasks asked of us.
D. Properly prepare themselves for activation by being committed to personal readiness,including but not limited to keeping their identification badge on their person at all times, being available for contact (cell phones on, checking email regularly, etc.), and staying up to date on any credentials.
3. How will I know if UVAMRC is activated? What if a major disaster knocks out all electronic communication?
Currently, in the event of volunteer activation, you will be contacted directly by another person either by phone, email, or possibly both. Additionally, if you are aware of an emergency taking place, you may call the UVAMRC office at 243-6250 to hear a pre-recorded message with instructions and/or visit the UVAMRC website at UVAMRC.org. In the case of total electronic failure due to a major disaster, you should attempt to safely make your way to the Health System West Complex parking lot, UVAMRC's emergency meeting location, where you will receive further information. In the future, you may be contacted by an automated dialing service which will play a pre-recorded message with information and instructions for activation.
4. Is MRC a branch of the military?
No. The MRC was founded after President Bush’s 2002 State of the Union Address, in which he asked all Americans to volunteer in support of their country. It is a partner program with Citizen Corps, a national network of volunteers dedicated to ensuring hometown security. Citizen Corps, along with AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, and the Peace Corps are part of the President's USA Freedom Corps, which promotes volunteerism and service nationwide (http://www.medicalreservecorps.gov/about).
5. How do I sign up?
You can sign up with UVAMRC either by clicking this link and following the on-screen instructions: http://www.healthsystem.virginia.edu/internet/uvamrc/signup.cfm or by emailing UVAMRC@virginia.edu.
6. Do I have to be a healthcare professional?
Absolutely not! Nearly everyone can find a niche in UVAMRC; whether you are a secretary, chaplain, plumber, social worker, or pizza deliverer, there is a role for you within UVAMRC. E-mail us at UVAMRC@virginia.edu to find out how you can help.
7. What if I am already involved in emergency response as part of my job?
UVAMRC would be most grateful to have your knowledge and experience on board as we plan for our response to requests for assistance. In the event of a disaster, UVAMRC understands you must prioritize and fulfill your professional obligations first before deploying with UVAMRC.
8. What about medical liability for volunteers?
“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
Additionally, volunteers affiliated with the University of Virginia (employee, student, etc.) will be covered by the University’s liability policies when activated and serving with a UVA department (eg., UVA Emergency Department).
9. Who are the UVAMRC partner agencies?
UVAMRC partners with many agencies in the surrounding communities, including: The UVA Schools of Medicine, Nursing, and Education, CERT—Citizen Corps, Virginia Central Virginia Red Cross, Northwest Regional Hospital Planning Group, Region Ten Community Mental Health Services, United Way Disaster Committee, Emergency Manager of the UVA HealthSystem, Virginia Department of Mental Health Services, Virginia Department of Health Emergency Preparedness and Response, Thomas Jefferson Area Health District, Emergency Management—City, County, UVA, and HealthSystem.
10. How many MRC’s are there nationally?
There are a total of 675 MRC’s across the United States and its territories.
11. In the event of a volunteer activation, am I required to report for duty?
Ideally, all activated members would be able to respond to a situation; however, we realize our volunteers have outside jobs and may have extenuating circumstances that might preclude them from responding to a call for activation. So, while every effort should be made to report to a site where assistance from UVAMRC has been requested, you are not specifically required to report for duty.
12. If I come to a disaster site, how will people know I am with UVAMRC?
After joining UVAMRC, you will be issued an ID card with your picture and credentials on it. These ID cards are recognized by all of our community partner agencies and will grant you access to a disaster site. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance that members carry these cards with them at all times in order to ensure efficient deployment of personnel to areas of need.
13. Will UVAMRC provide any materials (first aid kits, flashlights, etc.) that we need at a disaster site or do I have to bring those things myself?
While UVAMRC encourages its members to maintain a personal stock of emergency supplies such as first aid kits, flashlights, drinking water, and batteries, any materials you need to assist in the response to a disaster will be provided either by UVAMRC or our community partners.
14. I’ve joined UVAMRC, but haven’t received an ID card or t-shirt yet. How do I go about getting those?
Send an e-mail to UVAMRC@virginia.edu and let us know that you haven’t received these items (include your shirt size, we have from S to XL) and we will bring them to you at the next general membership meeting.
15. How can I get more involved in UVAMRC?
Simply contact us at UVAMRC@virginia.edu stating your interests or even if you’re not sure what to do but want to be more active in UVAMRC, and we will help you find a project to lend your experience and expertise to.