SECTION 1. Chapter 111 of the general laws, as appearing in the 2008 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting after section 25K the following sections:-
Section 25L. (a) The department of public health shall establish a registry of volunteer personnel who are available to provide services, including but not limited to health and medical services. The registry shall be known as MA Responds. The department may establish requirements for registration including but not limited to completion of training.
(b) The department shall establish a process to identify personnel in the MA Responds, which may include a requirement for photographic identification.
(c) The commissioner of public health may activate MA Responds:
(1) during an emergency detrimental to the public health declared by the governor under section 2A of chapter 17;
(2) during a state of emergency declared by the governor under chapter 639 of the acts of 1950, as amended;
(3) during a public health incident that demands an urgent response;
(4) pursuant to a request from a local public health authority when local resources have been or are expected to be exhausted, or
(5) pursuant to an official request from another state or from a province of Canada.
The location of duty may be within the commonwealth, or may be in another state or a province of Canada if an official request for assistance has been received from such state or province.
(d) If the situation within Massachusetts for which the MA responds registration system requires either numbers or expertise of personnel that are beyond the capacity of said system to provide, the commissioner may request personnel from other states having similar personnel registries. In such a case, out of state personnel when acting as authorized personnel in Massachusetts shall receive the protections provided in subsections (g) and (h) to members of MA Responds. The subsection shall not apply to or affect a deployment under chapter 339 of the Acts of 2000, known as the Interstate Emergency management Assistance Compact, or under section 58 of chapter 300 of the Acts of 2002, known as the International Emergency management Assistance Compact.
(e) Any mobile assets and response resources of the National Disaster Medical System in Massachusetts may be activated for duty when they are not formally activated in federal service, by the commissioner under the circumstances stated in subsection (c), subparagraphs (1) through (4). When so activated, individuals who are members of the National Disaster Medical System shall receive the protections provided in subsections (g) and (h) to members of the Massachusetts system for advance registration.
(f) Any Massachusetts medical reserve corps established pursuant to section 300hh-15 of chapter 42 of the United States code and any volunteers affiliated with the MA Responds registration system for public health, health care, and emergency response volunteers may be activated for duty under the circumstances stated in subsection (c), subparagraphs (1) through (4), and when such activation is requested by a local public health authority, including a medical reserve corps director or coordinator and authorized by the commissioner, members of such corps shall receive the protections provided in subsections (g) and (h) to members of MA Responds.
(g) In the absence of any other protections provided by law, whenever activated for duty, members of MA Responds shall be construed to be employees of the commonwealth for the purposes of chapter 258 of the general laws.
(h) In the absence of any other benefits provided by law, any member of MA Responds who dies or who sustains disability or injury while activated for duty shall be construed to be an employee of the commonwealth and shall be compensated in like manner as state employees are compensated under the provisions of sections 69 through 75 of chapter 152 of the general laws.
(i) The department of public health is authorized to promulgate rules and regulations to implement this section.
SECTION 2.Section 12C of chapter 112 is hereby amended by striking the section in its entirety and replacing it with the following:
Section 12C. No physician or nurse administering immunization or other protective programs under local, regional or state public health programs, or participating in a local, regional or state preparedness program, and no other person assisting in a local, regional or state protective program or participating in a local, regional or state preparedness program, including a member of any Massachusetts medical reserve corps established pursuant to section 300hh-15 of chapter 42 of the United States code, and any volunteers affiliated with the MA Responds registration system for public health, health care, and emergency response volunteers shall be liable in a civil suit for damages as a result of any act or omission on his part in carrying out his duties.
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