SECTION 1. Chapter 112 of the General Laws is hereby amended by adding the following section: -
Section 12C ½:-
Whereas licensed registered nurses are critical, necessary volunteers in disasters and emergencies occurring in the Commonwealth, in order to provide for community need, as volunteers they require protection from the Commonwealth for licensure board discipline; for civil and/or criminal liability and/or prosecution for injury or harm caused to a patient cared for while serving as a volunteer; and for protection from injury or harm he/she personally suffers during the course or as a result of his/her volunteer service.;
Section 12 C ½ (a) Definitions
12 C 1/2 (a) As used in this section, the following words, shall, unless the context clearly requires otherwise, have the following meanings:-
“Disaster”, an emergency detrimental to the public health declared by the governor of the commonwealth of Massachusetts under section 2A of Ch 17; a state of emergency declared by the governor under chapter 639 of the Acts of 1950 (“Civil Defense Act”); and/or a public health incident where local public health authorities have issued a request for volunteers because local resources have been or are expected to be exhausted or are insufficient.
“Patient'', an individual who receives health services from a licensed registered nurse during a declared disaster or emergency.
“Volunteer”, a licensed registered nurse in good standing who volunteers his/her services in a disaster or emergency without compensation or expectation of payment.
Section 12 C ½ (b) Exemption from licensure discipline and civil and criminal liability
12 C ½ (b) The following persons and entities are not subject to licensure board discipline under section 74 to 81C of chapter 112 of the general Laws, or to civil or criminal liability or prosecution for any injury or harm that results from any act or omission that does not amount to criminal negligence:
1. A registered nurse licensed in the commonwealth of Massachusetts with no encumbrance on his/her license who provides oversight or direct care to patients who are victims of a disaster or emergency declared by the governor of the commonwealth of Massachusetts or local public health authorities.
Section 12 C ½ (c) Volunteer protection from harm
12 C ½ (c) A volunteer as defined in 12 C ½ (a) who sustains injury, disability or who dies while serving as a volunteer 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.
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