A Lesson Learned
You may have noticed, as I have, that the news stations are no longer reporting on the earthquake in Haiti that occurred on January 12th. According to Fox News, here are just a few facts about Haiti & the earthquake that occurred:
Haiti is slightly smaller than Maryland
Haiti was discovered by Columbus in 1492
2008 GDP was $11.53B & a population of 3 million people
Haiti has no regular military forces. The Army, Navy & Air Force have been demobilized
The major quake sent 33 aftershocks ranging in magnitude from 4.2 to 5.9
In the past two weeks, over 400,000 Haitians have fled Port-au-Prince for the rural areas.
News outlets have gone from wall-to-wall coverage on the morning, afternoon and evening news and special edition news shows about the earthquake to almost no coverage. Although the Haiti disaster no longer dominates the news, there is still work to be done as numerous medical personnel contribute their expertise to improve the conditions that the Haitians are facing.
Hopefully, Georgia will never experience the level of devastation that Haiti is experiencing. Closer to home, I also pray that a Katrina-like catastrophe will not occur in Georgia. The Haiti earthquake and Hurricane Katrina has taught the Georgia Legislature some lessons.
In response, on February 3rd, the Georgia Senate passed SB315 which is the Uniform Emergency Volunteer Health Practitioners Act.
Currently, volunteer doctors, nurses, mental health counselors and, even veterinarians, are not allowed to work in Georgia in case of a disaster. According to the bill’s author, Senator Smith (R-Rome), “a doctor would have to be licensed in a state and if you practice without a license it is a crime.” In other words, in case of emergency, the personnel would not be able to assist because of they lack a license to practice in Georgia.
SB315, the Uniform Emergency Volunteer Health Practitioners Act, would grant volunteer doctors, nurses, mental health counselors and veterinarians a temporary license to work in Georgia during a state of emergency. This would ensure, not only, that medical personnel can practice freely within Georgia during any disaster but that Georgians will get the assistance needed in a timely manner.
As it stands, the SB315 is in the House Committee on Health & Human Services (H&HS).
UPDATE: SB315 did not make it to the House floor.
Fast Facts: Haiti Earthquake:
Uniform Emergency Volunteer Health Practitioners Act (SB315):
Georgia Senate Vote on SB315: