MEMO by maclaren1


									Memorandum                                         Personnel Services Administration
To:           Program Directors                     Personnel Officers
              Facility CEO’s                        Personnel Liaisons
              Local Health Officers

From:         J. Alan Baker, Director
              Personnel Services Administration

Date:         June 10, 2003

Re:           Emergency Preparedness including Bioterrorism

        This is the 5th memo providing personnel guidance in the context of questions raised
regarding Emergency Preparedness and response activities in general and Bioterrorism in
particular. The previous memo in this series was dated April 3, 2003. This memo clarifies a
response in that last memo and provides additional guidance on issues of Federal Tort Claim
coverage and new Federal Smallpox Compensation. Like the previous memos, it is done in
question and answer format.

        1. Question:

              Is there a 72-hour waiting period for Worker’s Compensation?


              This question was addressed in Question 6 of the April 3, 2003 memo. The
              answer was unfortunately not entirely accurate. Thanks to Ms. Anita Adee,
              Personnel Director, Anne Arundel County Health Department, for providing
              additional information.

              There is a waiting period of 72 hours for Temporary Total Disability payments to
              the individual for lost work time for a disability of 14 days or less. There is no
              waiting period for a disability of longer duration. Also, even though one is in this
              waiting period to receive lost wage reimbursement, payment is still made for
              hospital, nursing, or other medical services including medicine. Accident Leave
              is awarded during this period.
Emergency Preparedness including Bioterrorism
Page 2

             The exact language and citation is:

                Workers’ Compensation Law
                  §9-620(a) Disability for 14 days or less – If a temporary total disability
                  lasts for 14 days or less, compensation may not be allowed for 3 calendar
                  days after the beginning of the disability except for payments for hospital,
                  nursing, or other medical services, funeral expenses, or medicine.

      2. Question:

             Is there federal tort claims protection similar to the State protection?


             Yes, there is but limited to Smallpox. The following is taken from material
             provided by HHS regarding Section 304 (liability protections) of the Homeland
             Security Act.

             Section 304 of the Homeland Security Act provides an exclusive remedy against
             the United States pursuant to the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). Section 304 is
             triggered if, and when, a smallpox countermeasure is administered pursuant to a
             declaration by the Secretary of HHS. In the event of a declaration, licensed health
             care professionals are all considered employees of the Public Health Service for
             purposes of liability. As employees of the Public Health Service, no claim for
             liability for injury or death attributed to the countermeasure could be brought
             against these entities or individuals. The Act appears to require that persons
             injured by smallpox vaccine prove that the government, or persons acting on its
             behalf, were negligent in administering the vaccine in order to recover under
             FTCA. Just proving they were injured by the vaccine will not be enough.

      3. Question:

             Is there compensation for individuals with injuries resulting from administration
             of smallpox countermeasures?


             Yes. H.R. 1770 (108 Congress, 1st Session) known as the Smallpox Emergency
             Personnel Protection Act of 2003 provides compensation. A covered individual
             includes a health care worker who is functioning in a role identified in a State,
             local or DHHS smallpox emergency response plan. Claims should be filed within
             one year after the date of administration of the vaccine or in the case of accidental
             inoculation not later than 2 years after symptoms appear. Total compensation for
             injuries shall not exceed $50,000 for any year and the lifetime total may not
Emergency Preparedness including Bioterrorism
Page 3

              exceed the death benefit. The death benefit is comparable to the benefit
              calculated under the Public Safety Officers’ Benefits Program under Subpart I
              of Part L of Title I of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968.
              This Act passed on April 11, 2003 and was effective on November 25, 2002.

      Please note that this information will also be available on the Internet version of the
Personnel Guidance Handbook at in the near future.

File in Personnel Guidance Handbook Under Category: Emergency Management

cc:    Arlene Stephenson, Deputy Secretary for Public Health Services
       Richard Proctor, Chief of Staff
       Gail Wowk, Emergency Preparedness Coordinator

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