Disaster Resources

Natural disasters serve as an urgent reminder of how catastrophic events can greatly hinder patient health and provider productivity. When patients are unable to access their healthcare doctors and providers, telemedicine is highly effective and an optimal solution for addressing patient needs--particularly in a time of crisis. 
Telemedicine can be used in a variety of ways to help those affected by a natural disaster, for example:

  • Online patient consultations and remote patient monitoring can be utilized in providing care for displaced disaster victims who need it most, such as emergency and triage care

  • Telepsychiatry visits and support with therapists are particularly useful for patients dealing with post-disaster trauma

  • Patients’ medical records can be accessed through online patient portals and/or through the use of electronic medical records

What Out-of-State Health Providers Should Know
Issues related to cross-state collaboration are heightened during emergencies especially for out-of-state health professionals temporarily volunteering their services via telemedicine and lacking a full and unrestricted license, conditional telemedicine license, approved multi-state compact license, approved multi-state reciprocity, or approved temporary practice permit. Most states have existing statutes waiving additional licensure requirements for out-of-state providers during times of emergencies or disasters. Currently, Governors in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, and Texas have declared States of Emergency and are seeking outside assistance. To date, only the Texas Medical and Nursing Boards have developed a process to expedite this waiver process during extreme conditions. Telemedicine providers should contact the respective state licensing boards for guidance on appropriately practicing in an affected disaster area. (Disclaimer: This is informational and intended to serve as a reference for interested parties. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as authoritative.)

Resources for State Officials:

ATA State Telemedicine Toolkit: Medical Boards
ATA Medical Board FAQs & Talking Points
ATA Preparedness Checklist for State Officials 
Telehealth's Applications for Preparedness and Response (Issue Brief)
Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB)
National Council for State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN)
Association of State & Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB)
National Association of State Emergency Medical Service Officials (NASEMSO)

Ways to Help and Prepare for Natural Disasters

ATA joins the nation in its concern for all living in areas that could be affected by Hurricane Irma, and those who have already faced tremendous loss after Hurricane Harvey. As Irma threatens Florida in the coming days — and possibly the southeastern Atlantic coast by the beginning of next week — ATA has compiled a list of resources to help with crisis response.

Preparing for a Natural Disaster
Ready.gov Natural Disaster Preparation Resources
FEMA Resource: Emergency Management Agencies
Contacting State and Territorial Health Officials: ASTHO

Providing Care During or After a Natural Disaster
HIPAA Update: Limited Waiver of HIPAA Sanctions and Penalties During a Declared Emergency


Need a free telemedicine service?

Many ATA members provide free virtual care services to victims of natural disasters, and are helping those affected by Harvey and Irma. If you or a loved one is in need of a free service during a time of crisis, please contact our members below. 

American Well


Cure Companion


Nemours Care Connect

The Rowe Network



Are you a telemedicine service provider, vendor, institution, or hospital offering assistance disaster victims? Contact us to be added to this list.