1Providing for a volunteer health care practitioner
2certification; and imposing powers and duties on the
3Department of Health.

4The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
5hereby enacts as follows:

6Section 1. Short title.

7This act shall be known and may be cited as the Volunteer
8Health Care Practitioner Act.

9Section 2. Legislative findings.

10 The General Assembly finds and declares as follows:

11(1) One million residents in this Commonwealth are
12without health insurance.

13(2) The Commonwealth provided over $950 million in
14uncompensated health care in 2011, up from $460 million in

16(3) Hospital emergency rooms are treating many nonurgent
17medical conditions because patients perceive that they have
18no other choices.

1(4) Medicaid expenditures in this Commonwealth now
2exceed $7.5 billion per year.

3(5) Medicaid mandates are placing additional financial
4burdens on hospitals, physicians and dentists, directly
5impacting the quality and delivery of health care services.

6(6) The proposed expansion of Medicaid is causing an
7impending fiscal crisis.

8(7) Federal law provides full immunity to physicians and
9other health care professionals while they volunteer in
10nonprofit free clinics that treat the poor and charge no fee.

11(8) Expanding physicians' civil immunity from tort
12claims in exchange for their ongoing commitments to
13charitable practice in free clinics can improve low income
14patients' access to a range of medical options while reducing
15Medicaid utilization and expenditures.

16Section 3. Definitions.

17The following words and phrases when used in this act shall
18have the meanings given to them in this section, unless the
19context clearly indicates otherwise:

20"Department." The Department of Health of the Commonwealth.

21"Free clinic." A health care facility that is licensed under
22the act of July 19, 1979 (P.L.130, No.48), known as the Health
23Care Facilities Act, is operated by a nonprofit private entity
24and meets all of the following criteria:

25(1) The facility does not accept reimbursements for
26health care services from any third-party payer, including
27reimbursements under any insurance policies or health
28benefits plans, or under any Federal or State health benefits
29programs. The facility may accept voluntary donations for the
30provision of services.

1(2) The facility does not impose charges on patients or
2impose a charge according to the patient's ability to pay the

4(3) The services at the facility are provided by
5volunteer health care practitioners.

6"Free clinic offsite program." A program or event operated
7by a free clinic through which qualifying health services are
8provided to patients at a site other than the free clinic, which
9may include a volunteer health care practitioner's customary
10practice location or another location, as appropriate.

11"Health care practitioner." An individual authorized to
12practice a component of the healing arts by a license, permit,
13certificate or registration issued by a State licensing agency
14or board under 49 Pa. Code Pt. I Subpt. A (relating to
15professional and occupational affairs).

16"Qualifying health services." As defined under section 224
17of the Public Health Service Act (58 Stat. 682, 42 U.S.C. § 

19Section 4. Certification.

20(a) Application.--The department shall certify an individual
21as a volunteer health care practitioner if, at the time of
22application for certification, all of the following apply:

23(1) The individual is a health care practitioner.

24(2) The individual provides documentation to the
25department certifying that the individual is deemed to be an
26employee of a free clinic providing qualifying health

28(3) The individual and the medical director of the free 
29clinic provide documentation to the department certifying 
30that, prior to the application date and within the calendar

1quarter of application, the individual has performed at least 
2four hours per week for four consecutive weeks of qualifying 
3health services at the free clinic or free clinic offsite 

5(b) Maintenance.--To maintain certification as a volunteer
6health care practitioner, an individual shall meet all of the

8(1) Continue to meet the criteria under subsection
9(a)(1) and (2).

10(2) Provide documentation to the department, on a
11quarterly basis, certifying that the individual has provided
12not less than 48 hours per calendar quarter of qualifying
13health services at a free clinic or a free clinic offsite
14program. The documentation shall include verification, by the
15medical director of the free clinic, of the qualifying health
16services provided.

17(c) Termination.--The department shall immediately terminate
18the certification of an individual if the individual fails to
19meet the requirements under subsection (b).

20Section 5. Immunity.

21(a) General rule.--An individual who is certified by the
22department as a volunteer health care practitioner under this
23act shall be immune from civil liability for any personal injury
24to or wrongful death of a patient that is a result of any act or
25omission in the course of providing care or treatment if the
26care or treatment was reasonably provided in good faith and if
27the individual was acting within the scope of his practice.
28Immunity granted under this section does not apply to an act or
29omission that was the result of gross negligence or willful or
30wanton misconduct.

1(b) Remedy.--The exclusive remedy for injury or damage
2suffered as a result of any act or omission of a volunteer
3health care practitioner is by commencement of an action against
4the Commonwealth in a court of competent jurisdiction.

5Section 6. Rules and regulations.

6The department shall adopt rules and regulations to
7effectuate the purposes of this act.

8Section 7. Effective date.

9This act shall take effect in 90 days.