Statutory Authority The statutory authority for grants under this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is contained in Title III, Section 319I, Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C.
247d-7b), as amended by the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act, P.L.
Background The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response announces the availability of grants to support the efforts of eligible entities to develop, refine, and maintain existing Emergency System for Advance Registration of Volunteer Health Professionals (ESAR-VHP) Programs.
The ESAR-VHP program is a national program intended to help health professionals volunteer in public health emergencies and disasters by providing verifiable, up-to-date information regarding a volunteer?s identity and license, credentials, and privileges to hospitals or other medical facilities that require a volunteer?s services.
Section 319I of the Public Health Service (PHS) Act authorizes the Secretary of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services to award a grant for activities relating to the ESAR-VHP network, a national interoperable network of systems.
Each system is maintained by a State or group of States, for the purpose of verifying the credentials, certifications, licenses, accreditations, and hospital privileges of health care professionals who volunteer to provide health services during a public health emergency.
ASPR is awarding grants under section 319I to support the development and implementation of the ESAR-VHP programs.
Projects supported under these grants are limited to ESAR-VHP activities only.
General Program Requirements and Objectives Projects should be designed to address one or more of the following focus areas:
1. Meet the ESAR-VHP Compliance Requirements.
The compliance requirements identify capabilities and procedures that State ESAR-VHP programs must have in place to ensure effective management and inter-jurisdictional movement of volunteer health personnel in emergencies.
Although each state must meet all of the compliance requirements, projects are not required to address all of the requirements.
The proposed project should ensure compliance with the requirements, enhance the state?s abilities to meet the requirements, or address compliance requirement gaps.
The compliance requirements may be found in Appendix A:
ESAR-VHP Compliance Requirements.
Grant funds may be used to:
?Support the development and enhancement of the electronic system for recording and managing volunteer information; ?Support the development or expansion of the electronic system to register, collect, and verify the credentials of health professionals with the issuing entity or appropriate authority; ?Support assignment of volunteers to all four ESAR-VHP credential levels; ?Support development or expansion of the electronic system to record volunteer health professional/emergency preparedness affiliations, including, local, state, and Federal entities; ?Support the development or expansion of the system to identify volunteers willing to participate in a Federally coordinated emergency response; ?Support the update and reverification of credentials; ?Support the development of the ability to respond to request for volunteers and meet stated timeframes; ?Support the development and implementation of recruitment and retention plans; ?Support coordination with volunteer health professional/emergency entities to ensure an efficient response to an emergency, including but not limited to Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) units, and the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) teams; ?Support the development of intrastate, interstate, and Federal activation deployment protocols, including plans to track volunteers during an emergency and maintaining a history of volunteer deployments; ?Support the establishment of working relationships with external partners, such as the local and/or State Emergency Management Agency; ?Support testing of the ESAR-VHP program (system and volunteers) through drills and exercises; and/or ?Support the development and implementation of plans and processes for reporting program performance and capabilities.
2. Adopt and implement the Interim ESAR-VHP Technical and Policy Guidelines, Standards and Definitions (Guidelines).
The Guidelines provide technical information that States need to develop systems capable of registering a wide range of health care volunteers, verify their credentials and qualifications, and assign volunteers to one of four credential levels.
Additionally, the Guidelines provide information and guidance on diverse topics such as program planning, authorities and emergency operations, and system operations and maintenance.
The ESAR-VHP Guidelines is intended to be a living document.
It is anticipated that sections of the ESAR-VHP Guidelines will be continuously refined and updated as new information is available.
An electronic copy of the Guidelines may be obtained by e-mailing email@example.com.
Grant funds may be used to:
?Support the salaries of ESAR-VHP personnel; ?Support training of ESAR-VHP system administrators; ?Address legal and regulatory issues related to liability protections and workers compensation; ?Support volunteer training; ?Support the development and integration of identification cards; ?Support the development of approaches and coordination activities with other states within a region to facilitate the mobilization of volunteers across jurisdictions and strengthen regional mutual aid; and/or ?Support background checks.
3. Support activities related to the integration of local Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) volunteer resources and state ESAR-VHP programs as recommended in the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) and ESAR-VHP Integration Fact Sheet.
The purpose of the initiative to integrate local MRC volunteer resources and state ESAR-VHP programs is to develop a unified and systematic approach for Local-State-Federal coordination of volunteer health professionals, in support of existing resources, to improve the health, safety and resiliency of local communities, States, and the Nation in public health and medical emergency responses.
The Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) and ESAR-VHP Integration Fact Sheet was jointly developed by the Office of the Civilian Medical Reserve Corps (OCVMRC) and the ESAR-VHP program.
The fact sheet outlines the benefits and recommendations for the integration of MRC and ESAR-VHP.
The fact sheet may be found in Appendix B:
Integration of MRC and ESAR-VHP.
Grant funds may be used to:
?Support personnel costs associated with the integration of local MRC volunteer resources and state ESAR-VHP programs; ?Support joint MRC and ESAR-VHP volunteer recruitment activities; and/or ?Support the development and implementation of mechanisms for the registration and credentials verification of MRC volunteers.
4. Support Training and Exercises.
Readiness and training exercises are required by the ASPR Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Public Health and Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) Program, and other Federal programs to ensure a level of readiness and situational awareness during an actual emergency.
Grant funds may be used to:
? Support the training of state ESAR-VHP program personnel and volunteers; ? Support the participation of ESAR-VHP program personnel and volunteers in Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) and National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) regional training offerings; ? Support integrated exercises with the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) in coordination with local, State, and regional response partners; ? Support state ESAR-VHP program participation in State and regional exercises; and/or ? Support state ESAR-VHP program participation in Federal exercises, such as ASPR-coordinated exercises and the annual U. S. Department of Homeland Security/Federal Emergency Management (FEMA) National Level Exercise Program (NEP).
Exercises must be managed and executed in accordance with the Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP).
HSEEP Guidance for exercise design development, conduct, evaluation, and improvement planning is located at https://hseep.dhs.gov.
After Action Reports (AAR) and Improvement Plans (IP) should be prepared for each exercise and posted on the U. S. Department of Homeland Security/FEMA Lessons Learned Information Sharing (LLIS) System.
LLIS is the national, online network of lessons learned, best practices, and innovative ideas for the emergency response and homeland security communities.
LLIS.gov is a Department of Homeland Security/Federal Emergency Management Agency program.
The LLIS web site is https://www.llis.gov.