NEW YORK NURSE: March 2009
by Joely Johnson
When the next emergency strikes, the list of volunteers should be bigger and better than ever. The New York State Department of Health’s (DOH) previous volunteer registration program, NurseResponse, has been expanded to increase the state’s level of emergency response and preparedness.
Over the past two years, the DOH has worked to improve the electronic registration system for state and local health departments, as well as for the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC), which handles advance recruitment and management of volunteers. The new system, known as ServNY, streamlines coordination of volunteer information from state, local, and MRC levels. The database will also centralize existing medical and non-medical volunteer data, verify volunteer credentials, and register new volunteers.
Improvements to the system mean that volunteers no longer are required to have a Health Provider Network (HPN) account in order to register or update personal information. The ServNY program will keep volunteers engaged through electronic communication, training opportunities, and the ability to secure necessary privileging and active clinical practice verification from hospitals and other clinical settings.
ServNY is currently being pilot-tested by several county health departments and MRCs. The system will be rolled out in the state, area-by-area, over the next few months.
Nurses who previously registered as volunteers through NurseResponse will be contacted and asked to confirm and update their profiles. When you update or enroll for the first time in ServNY, you will indicate your functional and clinical abilities; your current license status; any certifications or additional competencies; your ability to deploy outside of your county in the event of statewide needs; and your willingness to train, both online and in person, in essential elements of emergency preparedness. Enrolling does not place a volunteer under any legal obligation and those who are activated and deployed by the state are protected by Public Officers Law § 17, which provides defense and indemnification.
NYSNA is partnering with the DOH to spread the word about ServNY and to get registered nurses on board. To add your name to the list of responders, click the ServNY link at www.nysna.org.