MUTUAL AID IS THE PARTAGE OF stocks, equipment, personnel, information or other resources across political borders. This will be achieved effectively through adherence to mutual assistance agreements. After Hurricane Andrew in 1992, Congress approved the Emergence Management Assistance Pact (EMAC), passed in all states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands (Table 1▶). shared as part of Hurricane Katrina`s response and recovery efforts. Hurricane Katrina triggered a flow of personnel, equipment and assistance from other countries to the affected areas; Epidemiologists and other public health experts helped identify and control public health risks in the aftermath of the storm. Other states continued to provide shelter, food, clothing and education to those who had to flee the area. Since the MAA`s objectives include sharing stockpiles, equipment and personnel in undeclared emergency scenarios, the MAA must address the constitutional „binding” problem in its planned intergovernmental agreements. Whether congressional approval could be achieved through an amendment to the EMAC or some other mechanism remains open. In any event, MAA officials in the public health sector have begun discussions with the governors` offices and emergency managers in maA countries on how to prosecute „undeclared emergency authorities.” Future directions will certainly be influenced by the outcome of these discussions. On the other hand, the sharing of licensed health professionals, particularly in the absence of a declared emergency, raises complex licensing, privilege and reporting issues and carries significant liability and compensation risks. The exchange of other elements, such as private health information.
B, also requires analysis of existing legal powers and risk assessment. For example, protected health information contained in epidemiological reports is subject to privacy legislation and may require an analysis of the right to disclose information. The sharing of unauthorized equipment, stockpiles and personnel could only take place with legal authorization and would likely expose states to legal risks beyond those involved in the exchange of information.