Texas assessed its legal capacity to enter into cooperation agreements with Mexican states for the purpose of exchanging epidemiological information and concluded that there was no legal authority to share confidential health information across the border. He also noted that, while there is state power to enter into reciprocal assistance agreements across the border, a provision of the United States Constitution (discussed earlier) constitutes a federal impediment to entering into binding agreements.15 Lawyers in some states of Michigan, Minnesota, New York, and Wisconsin, in collaboration with the EWIDS project, reviewed the privacy and confidentiality laws of each of these states, and analyzed to form a health information sharing agreement between them and with the Province of Ontario in Canada.16 An obvious method of compliance is the creation of cooperative agreements that would not constitute ”agreements or contracts” within the meaning of the constitutional prohibition. If they have authority under their own laws, states are free to enter into ”non-binding” agreements beyond their borders. The GUIDELINES for U.S.-Mexico Coordination on Epidemiological Events of Mutual Interest are not binding and serve as an example of such an approach.19 Non-binding agreements can be useful to states, especially if they are interested in sharing information. Mutual assistance agreements and other types of aid agreements facilitate the rapid sharing of emergency aid and resources among governments and organizations at all levels. These may include existing agreements, such as the Emergency Management Assistance Pact (EMCC), or require the creation of new tools to respond to emerging events or parties outside existing agreements. Depending on the nature and scope of an agreement, the laws of a state may regulate the formation and implementation of the mutual assistance agreement. (Download a printable PDF file.) ”It ended with a midnight phone call between governors,” said Amy Hughes, a policy analyst at the National Emergency Management Association, which represents the state`s emergency organizations. ”Many legal issues had to be resolved in the middle of the night.” While an established MA such as EMAC or a model aid agreement may require the inclusion of a particular language in an agreement, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security through NIMS has identified a number of important elements that should generally be included in AAAs1: We describe the basic legal framework for states to provide intergovernmental and international mutual assistance. Identify gaps in this framework and suggest actions that could be taken to address these gaps. We focus on: (1) types of mutual assistance; (2) current federal approaches to promote increased use of mutual assistance agreements by states; (3) mutual assistance projects carried out by States, including efforts to assess competence; and (4) federal constitutional and other legal issues related to mutual legal assistance (Tables 1▶ to 3▶▶ summarize laws and other powers related to international and intergovernmental assistance).
Our conclusions underline that, although existing legal powers may allow for certain types of mutual assistance (e.g. B, information sharing), several additional measures, including state legislative changes, congressional approval, final legal interpretations, and governor`s emergency declarations, will be needed before other forms of mutual assistance can be implemented. Mutual aid is the exchange of supplies, equipment, personnel and information across political boundaries. States must have agreements in place to provide mutual assistance to facilitate effective responses to public health emergencies and to detect and control potential outbreaks of infectious diseases. The 2005 hurricanes triggered the activation of the Emergency Management Assistance Pact (EMAC), a mutual aid agreement between the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Although EMAC has facilitated the movement of an unprecedented amount of mutual aid into the affected areas, gaps in the response have shown that there is room for improvement. Mutual assistance can also be beneficial in cases where EMAC is not activated. We discuss the importance of mutual assistance, examine obstacles and identify legal ”gaps” that need to be filled in order to strengthen preparedness. Intergovernmental cooperation is foreseen and facilitated by the provisional national preparation objective of Presidential Directive 8 on internal security, which makes enhanced regional cooperation through mutual assistance agreements a national priority (Table 1▶). The Cooperation Agreements of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which aim to improve and improve national and local health care, promote the development of mutual assistance agreements as a precautionary tool. Finally, Congress provided funding and asked the Secretary of DHHS to establish a program to develop an emergency system for the pre-registration of volunteer health professionals (ESAR-VHP) (Table 1▶).13 Although the DHHS Health Resources and Services Administration provides funds for the development of ESAR-VHP, states support the design, the development and administration of a national system of state emergency volunteer registries.
responsible. Cooperation across national borders is an obvious part of the system. The Pandemic Preparedness and All Hazards Act, Public Law 109-417, is an important new addition to the federal mutual assistance structure. A consortium of states can be considered an entity eligible for funding under the law, and Article 201 requires ”a description of the mechanism that the entity will implement to use the Emergency Management Assistance Pact or other mutual assistance arrangements for medical and public health assistance.” These and other provisions of the Law on the Use of Mutual Assistance Agreements to Ensure Federal, State, Local and Tribal Coordination, as well as the Integration of Resources among These Institutions, are strong evidence of Congress` promotion of mutual assistance agreements. Finally, with respect to agreements with Canadian provinces and Mexican states, maintaining labour relations will allow U.S. lawyers to rely to some extent on lawyers from Canada and Mexico to explain their laws. Nevertheless, U.S. lawyers would be well advised to develop expertise on these laws to ensure that mutual aid agreements are negotiated on a sound legal basis and that they meet the objectives of the U.S. and Mexican states and Canadian provinces. .