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Senator Frist

by TONI H / September 4, 2005 8:31 AM PDT

is at the NO airport.......now I'm curious about something.

Is he from LA? I'm wondering because he's on live tv doing an interview and commented that he had been working as a medical volunteer because he is a doctor in addition to be a Senator. If he's not from LA, what about licensing regulations?

I've wondered about this type of thing regarding other humanitarian efforts made by doctors and nurses from other states. I thought you had to be licensed in whatever state you were 'performing' in.....or is all of that waived during emergency situations such as this? And if so, how is it possible to verify that somebody treating you is actually not some jerk off the streets playing 'hero'?


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...from Tennesee
by Mac McMullen / September 4, 2005 9:01 AM PDT
In reply to: Senator Frist

And I certainly hope someone is checking credentials for persons not easily recognized.

Frist made a ''few'' comments,

''How does one respond to this hurricane disaster?........

As a doctor for the past 25 years, there is another way to respond. And that is to give medical care. Not officially but unofficially I went to New Orleans as a doctor, not a senator.''

Full comments: http://frist.senate.gov/index.cfm?FuseAction=Speeches.Detail&Speech_id=276

Oh, there will be someone, or someone's, out there who would love to grab the state license thing and run with it I'm sure, but someone will unceremoniously kick their butts out of the way, I hope. More bureaucratic nonsense in an emergency.

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It was reported on CNN
by TONI H / September 4, 2005 9:08 AM PDT
In reply to: ...from Tennesee

just a little while ago that while many volunteer doctors and nurses are there (I have to assume from other counties from within LA itself so therefore licensed), many more are standing around waiting because of red tape and not allowed 'in'......how did this guy by-pass the red tape, Senator or not....and why isn't he using his clout that he obviously has to get the other volunteers 'in'? Cliques and who you know is disgusting......


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Rather than being upset...
by Edward ODaniel / September 4, 2005 9:35 AM PDT
In reply to: It was reported on CNN

without being aware of ALL the circumstances involved it might pay to wait for specifics.

Most states have Good Samaritan laws (Louisianna does) that protect medical personnel who offer aid without expectation of any remuneration. These laws DO NOT guarantee that the care provider cannot be sued although they are protected a bit based on the reasonable care under prevailing conditions.

Frist has been mentioned in the news on several instances where he has rendered aid in emergencies (once in Florida at a vehicle accident).

As to why some are being accepted and others are in a holding pattern, it could have to do with their credentials being checked before allowing them to write prescriptions and such other matters. Frist is fairly well known and it is also well known that he is a practicing Doctor so his recognition wouldn't be unusual.

Those in a holding pattern may also be volunteering to work in hospitals rather than "in the field" and the Samaritan act wouldn't cover them or the hospital.

All kind of guesses but until the actual REASONS are reported it is meaningless conjecture and not worth getting "het up about".

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Have to agree with Ed..........
by Mac McMullen / September 4, 2005 9:44 AM PDT
In reply to: It was reported on CNN

But this country is essentially crippled, in so many ways, with bureaucratic red tape, ie, regulations, etc.

If it's not on a check list, it takes a few sessions of Congress to waive something.

Newt Gingrich recently called for a ''Joint'' get together of both houses of congress, FEMA, untold number of reps from elsewhere, and sit down and grind out a blanket ''waiver'' to address the issues in this disaster. He commented it should take 90 hours rather than 90 days. Sounds ''late'' but necessary.

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re: the Senator
by Angeline Booher / September 4, 2005 9:46 AM PDT
In reply to: Senator Frist

He may very well have licenses in other states by reciprocity or endorsement.

I held 4 RN ones- KY, TN, MO and TX. The latter 3 by reciprocity from the state, KY, where I had passed the Boards.

Around the US Capitol, it is Federal Land, so it was OK for him to come to the aid of the gentleman several years ago when a man got a gun through security.

When my physician brother was in the military, he could practice in any state.

I'm not sure, but being a Senator might give him Federal privileges. He does indicate is license is active. That means he has kept up with the Continuing Education requirements. (He's a heart surgeon.)

The airport in LA might now be considered Federal Land now during this crisis.

I'm fuzzy on this, but a "Good Samaritan" law was passed. Before, doctors or nurses rendering aid in emergencies could be sued.

There are also National Boards.

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According to his bio....
by Angeline Booher / September 4, 2005 9:59 AM PDT
In reply to: re: the Senator
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The rules vary by state
by Bill Osler / September 4, 2005 12:18 PM PDT
In reply to: Senator Frist

I suspect that most states have procedures for emergency credentialing of physicians. I also suspect that in this kind of situation they accept credentials from another state without too much fuss.
Whether or not a state license is required does depend on circumstances. Military physicians do not have to re-license every time they are transferred, nor do federally employed physicians in some other contexts.
I don't know whether Sen/Dr. Frist would qualify for a federal exemption from state licensing laws, but I would hope that the LA state board is granting emergency licenses as fast as they can do some sort of minimal credentialing.
Working in a hospital would also normally require a credentialing process, but every hospital I've worked with does have emergency credentialing procedures spelled out for this kind of situation.

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He impressed the hell out of me getting in there so quickly
by Ziks511 / September 5, 2005 10:28 PM PDT
In reply to: Senator Frist

and getting his hands dirty. Good show, Bill Frist.


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I agree
by TONI H / September 5, 2005 10:56 PM PDT

I just wondered how he pulled it off when other medical volunteers are being blocked by red tape and are just as desperately needed.


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C'mon Toni
by Evie / September 6, 2005 12:37 AM PDT
In reply to: I agree

He's the Senate majority leader, a well known individual. He doesn't even need to show an ID.

Evie Happy

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And as such, Evie
by TONI H / September 6, 2005 12:44 AM PDT
In reply to: C'mon Toni

and since he recognized the immediate need for his services, why didn't he help push through the red tape for others just like him?

C'mon, Evie......


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I'm not aware of this being a problem
by Evie / September 6, 2005 12:52 AM PDT
In reply to: And as such, Evie

There are other impediments keeping medical volunteers out. More specifically being shot out.

Frist expressed that he had run into various faces he recognized from his years of practice and it seemed they were already adding to the assistance effort at the time. No mention of them being kept from assisting.

Evie Happy

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Although I haven't heard anything today
by TONI H / September 6, 2005 1:08 AM PDT

about it, CNN reported it numerous times over the last four days that volunteer medical pesonnel were not allowed to do anything while waiting for red tape went through that would give them the OK.


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The one "red tape" thing I heard this morning
by Evie / September 6, 2005 1:17 AM PDT

Was that FEMA was holding up aid to Mississippi because of it: http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/09/05/katrina.lott/

But now reading this article I see reference to what you are apparently talking about: http://www.cnn.com/2005/HEALTH/09/04/katrina.sick.redtape.ap/index.html

My apologies for not understanding where you were coming from. Still, it doesn't seem to be the licenses to practice that are holding things up for this group, seems more like a coordination of efforts and inability to "get them assigned to a relief effort" (<-- quote from surgeon's group). I'm not sure exactly what Frist could have done.

Evie Happy

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Thanks for the links
by TONI H / September 6, 2005 1:20 AM PDT

CNN newscasters never expounded on what type of red tape was holding them up from being able to help...I assumed/speculated it was for identification purposes and perhaps licensing issues because they were out of state volunteers, which I had mentioned in my first post.


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The headlines on my newspaper yesterday
by John Robie / September 6, 2005 2:24 AM PDT

on page 20A were:
"Doctors trying to help are sickened by red tape", "Hundreads can't get through. Diseases are becoming a concern." By Marilynn Marchione, Associated Press Medical Writer.

Can't find a link for my newspaper, but this link gives just about the same as what was published in my newspaper:


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because he wanted to contribute his medical skills
by Kiddpeat / September 6, 2005 1:28 AM PDT
In reply to: And as such, Evie

rather than studying the paperwork problem?

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Don't you think
by TONI H / September 6, 2005 1:43 AM PDT

that mass help would have been better than 'single handedly' being the hero of the day and in the spotlight for it?

I'm NOT saying he was wrong to help...I'm saying that he wasn't spending much time contributing while holding a press conference and that time could have been spent seeing what he could do to get fellow collegues up and running with him.

I just saw the press conference as political maneuvering again, when it wasn't necessary and other tasks were much more important....just as the rest of the politicians were taking advantage of tv time.


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Do you think perhaps ...
by Evie / September 6, 2005 2:01 AM PDT
In reply to: Don't you think

... that when Senator Frist shows up the media might be the ones insisting on taking note? Macy Gray showed up in Houston to help. I suppose the time she spent giving interviews could have been better spent as well.

Evie Happy

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C'mon Evie
by TONI H / September 6, 2005 2:42 AM PDT

If Senators/Congressmen (no matter which party) are capable of saying NO to many things on their table to vote on, are you suggesting this man doesn't have the ability to tell a reporter "I have more important things to take care of as a doctor than giving interviews right now"?

What he had to say during that interview wasn't a 'message' to people of where to go for help or even a public call to any branch of the government that could get the red tape out of the way and get those doctors and nurses in faster.....he was only talking about how many were passing in and out of the airport which any reporter could have told us instead.

If the Mayor of NO can scream loudly for help that he should have been providing, why couldn't Frist use that airtime to holler for help with the red tape? Since he's so well known, he has more clout in that regard.....people with the authority to do so would have taken notice.


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In all the confusion Toni ...
by Evie / September 6, 2005 2:46 AM PDT
In reply to: C'mon Evie

... how are you so certain that Frist even knew about that problem? I'm at a loss understanding why you are so up in arms about this w.r.t. Frist.

Evie Happy

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If you read my first post
by TONI H / September 6, 2005 2:54 AM PDT

you will see that I was questioning the licensing issue and wondered if he was from LA which would have licensed him....because I was also curious about how do you know what yahoo was treating you if they weren't identified as legitimate. I was then informed about the various laws and exemptions......

The thread eventually went into a different tangent, which is normal for SE anyhow, and then I began to question why he wasn't using his clout to get other medical personnel in. I was in no way being disparaging regarding Frist for helping....I was only upset that he wasn't doing more with the clout and fame that he has to get OTHERS moving quickly on getting the other medical personnel working ASAP instead of waiting for red tape to be processed.

I still wonder at it......that doesn't mean to say I wasn't glad that he was there in the capacity of physician and helping, but he was only ONE out of MANY and he could have more effectively used the air time to get the attention of those who could have gotten the MANY helping as well.


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OK, I understand ...
by Evie / September 6, 2005 3:08 AM PDT

... I do still wonder to what extent Frist was even aware of that problem. Most of the problems with getting aid in that were reported early on highlighted the security problems keeping aid out.

I totally understand your anger and frustration. I've been on an emotional rollercoaster these past few days. Feeling so deeply for those suffering, then getting angry when an ingrate complains about the food she is given. Knowing how avoidable a huge amount of this suffering was really eats out my stomach. But our leaders are celebs to some point. I haven't seen Frist spend a lot of time pontificating, and at least he's doing something. Even Bush's "briefings" recently were utter BS, but I understand that had he not done that the bashers would have had ammo for their ridiculous "Bush doesn't care about black people" nonsense. They can't win ... and in all of this the people we see so little of (Nagin, Blanco, whoever the NO Police Chief is, NO Emergency Mgmt., etc.) seem to be given a pass Sad

Any word from Derek?

Evie Happy

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