December 2, 2001
To State, Local, and Specialty Medical Society Officers and Staff:
Under pressure from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, your state legislature will probably be considering the Model Emergency Health Powers Act (MEHPA), which would give the Governor unprecedented, dictatorial powers in the event that he decided to declare a "public health emergency."
Your association and your members need to be informed about the implications of this Act. It would give the Governor, in effect, the right to practice medicine and force physicians to participate in the examination and treatment of patients according to State-dictated protocol-under pain of criminal sanctions.
MEHPA is already under consideration in several States, including Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, Minnesota, Illinois, and California, and many others will introduce it during the 2002 session.
Although States should assess and improve their emergency response capability, this Act has a number of extremely dangerous provisions, including:
Please let us know of your assessment and of actions that you intend to take. You may contact us by telephone at (800) 635-1196, FAX at (520) 326-3529 or (520) 325-4230, or e-mail at [email protected]. You are also invited to post your views on our forum at aaps.forums.commentary.net".
Jane M. Orient, M.D., F.A.C.P.