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Street medicine providers as good Samaritans: a legal epidemiological survey of good Samaritan and charitable immunity laws in the United States and territories

Ware, Alix (2019) Street medicine providers as good Samaritans: a legal epidemiological survey of good Samaritan and charitable immunity laws in the United States and territories. Master Essay, University of Pittsburgh.

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Abstract

Although homelessness rates have decreased over the last decade, rates of unsheltered homeless, or rough sleepers, have become a greater portion of those experiencing homelessness. These individuals can be geographically so close to the rest of society but can be miles away from accessing the same resources and services.

With a significant number of individuals experiencing homelessness due to mental health issues or other comorbidities, health care providers must be creative in reaching this population to provide the care they need, want, and deserve. To address the disconnect between this population and the health care system, physicians have taken to the street to provide care. When providing care outside of their usual work setting, additional concerns arise, specifically, are these providers legally responsible for any sustained injuries or other issues that arise while providing care in unconventional environments? Are the providers covered under Good Samaritan or charitable immunity statutes? Is there a variance between protections provided by each jurisdiction?

Through a survey of Good Samaritan and charitable immunity laws in 50 states, 6 U.S. territories, the District of Columbia, and the Federal government, an analysis determined how these laws protect and fail to protect providers practicing Street Medicine. The laws were coded using a Google Form and were broken down into specific sections which allowed a consistent review of laws enacted by different jurisdictions. Despite the intention of Good Samaritan and charitable immunity laws to increase physician involvement in providing care in unconventional situations for vulnerable populations, these laws overwhelmingly do not provide liability protection for Street Medicine providers. Model statutory language has been written to provide this necessary liability protection for Street Medicine providers. Protecting Street Medicine providers while they provide care to one of the most disenfranchised populations is of the utmost public health importance since the care people experiencing homelessness need and want is the basic care most Americans take as granted.


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Details

Item Type: Other Thesis, Dissertation, or Long Paper (Master Essay)
Status: Unpublished
Creators/Authors:
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Ware, Alixalix.ware@pitt.edu
Contributors:
ContributionContributors NameEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairVan Nostrand, Elizabethevannostrand@pitt.eduUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberHawk, Marymary.hawk@pitt.eduUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Date: 5 April 2019
Date Type: Submission
Number of Pages: 48
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Graduate School of Public Health > Health Policy & Management
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master Essay
Refereed: Yes
Date Deposited: 09 Oct 2019 00:40
Last Modified: 09 Oct 2019 00:40
URI: http://d-scholarship.pitt.edu/id/eprint/36319

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