Volunteers are needed for both emergency and non-emergency purposes.
During a public health emergency, MRC volunteers would be needed to help staff an emergency vaccination clinic or pharmaceutical distribution clinic. Many functions will be needed to run a clinic. We will match volunteers’ skill levels and interests to the need. Some functions will include: vaccinating or distributing pharmaceuticals to mass people, medical screening, running patient education sessions, directing people-flow, providing mental health consultation, registering patients, entering data from forms, stocking supplies, handling the press/media, etc.
During times of non-emergency, volunteers can be local “ambassadors” for public health. We will match volunteers’ skill levels and interests to the need. Some activities might include: assisting with flu clinics, children’s health screenings, providing education sessions or presentations on special health topics, assisting patients with specific health-related programs, helping with health fairs, promoting immunization campaigns, as well as other possibilities that may be presented.
Not necessarily. We have a need for medical volunteers to perform specific medical functions. But non-medical volunteers can fulfill other important needs such as: translation assistance, computer assistance, clerical support, health education, stocking medical supplies, managing clinic flow, public information contact, supporting medical programs, logistics during an emergency, etc. Everyone’s skills are valued and needed, even without a medical background.
The law relating to liability coverage varies from state to state. At this time, a uniform policy of protection for MRC volunteers across the nation does not exist. In Columbia/Boone County, Missouri, MRC volunteers may provide direct medical services and assistance during an emergency.
Missouri has two statutes pertaining to emergency coverage. We refer you to these Missouri Laws to determine your liability:
-Emergency care, no civil liability, exceptions (Good Samaritan law). (MO 537.037),
-Torts and Actions for Damages: Volunteers, limited personal liability, certain organizations and government entities, exceptions (MO 537.118).
All volunteers without a current license to practice in the healing arts will receive training and certification in First Aid from a nationally recognized provider (such as the Red Cross). This training/certification helps cover the volunteer for liability purposes. All volunteers will also receive training in Volunteer Safety and Infection Control.
These training topics are also required: Disaster Mental Health, National Incident Management System (previously called Incident Command System), CPR, and MRC Orientation. Training exercises simulating a public health emergency will also be part of the MRC volunteers’ training.
CPR certification is required for all volunteers, Basic First Aid training is required for non-medical volunteers.
Possibly. This depends upon the acceptance of the training course by your discipline’s state board. The MRC will provide the necessary documentation to accompany your request for CEUs, such as course objectives, completion certificates, etc. MRC volunteers will need to individually submit their request for CEUs to their discipline’s state board for approval. The cost for CEUs will be covered by the MRC for required volunteer training and exercises; the cost for CEUs for non-required training will be the responsibility of the volunteer.
The Medical Reserve Corps volunteers in Columbia/Boone County will be called to support the emergency system during a public health emergency. MRC volunteers would staff emergency vaccination or pharmaceutical distribution clinics during such an emergency, providing critical staffing needs in the medical area. Those wanting to offer professional medical services (doctors, nurses, etc) will need to provide us with their professional credentials before we can utilize them in a medical capacity. Other emergency support organizations would have a different role according to the Boone County Emergency Operations Plan. For example, the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army would primarily provide feeding and mass care during a public health emergency. The Red Cross would also offer mental and emotional support provided by licensed mental health professionals. The Salvation Army would provide religious counseling and spiritual care.
Only volunteers who are “Active” will be called to volunteer in an emergency. To be considered "Active", an MRC volunteer must:
MRC volunteers are not paid. Volunteers willingly give of their time for the benefit of our community. As an MRC volunteer, you may be provided with training opportunities with the possibility of CEU hours, and opportunities to increase your skills and provide an important preparedness function for our community. Also, in the event of a public health emergency, active MRC volunteers and their immediate family members will receive emergency prophylaxis.
Non-emergency volunteer opportunities will vary in the amount of hours a volunteer is needed, however there is room for flexibility to accommodate volunteers’ schedules. MRC members are asked to volunteer in one non-emergency activity each year. During a public health emergency, it will depend on the magnitude of the situation and the need. For example only one vaccination clinic may be sufficient to fulfill the emergency need, or several clinics may be needed. It will also depend on how many hours the emergency clinic may operate in a 24-hour period. Shifts will be scheduled for all clinic workers and volunteers.
At this time, the Columbia/Boone County Medical Reserve Corps will serve the communities in Boone County. Travel will most likely involve the Columbia area or to the smaller surrounding communities in Boone County. Volunteers will need to provide their own transportation to volunteer activities.
*Special note: See the question on tax credits for MRC volunteers.
Yes in general, you will want to talk with your tax advisor for your specific tax issues. Volunteers in the United States may receive tax deductions from the federal government on many costs associated with volunteering, such as mileage and other travel expenses, parking, uniforms if the volunteer purchases his/her own, etc. These deductions apply only if you are not getting reimbursed for these expenses, and you are itemizing on your tax form (not using the 1040EZ form). When volunteers drive their own vehicles to carry out volunteer duties, including to and from trips to their volunteer service, the IRS permits a deduction per mile. MRC volunteers who want a tax deduction should keep good records of mileage in performing volunteer duties, and ask their tax preparation specialist for information on deducting volunteer expenses. For more information go to http://www.irs.gov/, to review Publication #526 Charitable Contributions.
Non-emergency volunteer activities should be done in accordance with the volunteer’s schedule, and should not interfere with a volunteer’s regular employment. During a public health emergency, volunteers may be needed during times that they would normally work at their job. Volunteers should discuss this possibility with their employer and understand their employer’s policies and procedures for outside volunteering, so that an MRC volunteer will be prepared to respond in an emergency.
There are no fees to become an MRC volunteer. Fees for some training will be covered by the MRC grant.
No. Residents of the surrounding counties are welcome to apply for membership. If you are a resident of Howard or Cooper counties, you can contact your local health department to participate.