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Liability and Ethical Considerations in Emergencies

Activity Type:

  • On Demand

Release Date: 2/3/2020

Expiration Date: 2/3/2023

  • AMA PRA Category 1: 0.75
  • Participation: 0.75



Disasters such as tornadoes, hurricanes, fires, mass shootings, floods, the tragedy on 911, and other emergencies are often defined by their toll on the physical well-being of populations. Many emergencies also significantly impact mental and behavioral health of populations by exacerbating existing mental health conditions, triggering new problems in persons without previous conditions, and impacting the mental health of emergency responders. This program will identify issues for mental health providers assisting in local/state/national emergencies and disasters, provide an understanding of the potential liabilities if assisting in an emergency or disaster, address federal and state immunity protections, and recommend risk mitigation strategies.


  • General Member - Free
  • Resident-Fellow Member - Free
  • Medical Student Member - Free
  • Medical Student Member - $25.00

Course References

Educational Objectives

  • Describe the role of public health laws in protecting the public
  • Recognize liability issues facing psychiatrists assisting in emergencies/disasters
  • Identify liability/injury protections for volunteer providers
  • Recognize ethical issues involved when implementing public health laws

Target Audience

Psychiatrists, Residents/Fellows

Estimated Time to Complete

Estimated Duration: 45 minutes
Program Start Date: February 3, 2020
Program End Date: February 3, 2023

How to Earn Credit

Participants who wish to earn AMA PRA Category 1 Credit ™ or a certificate of participation may do so by completing all sections of the course including the evaluation. After evaluating the program, course participants will be provided with an opportunity to claim hours of participation and print an official CME certificate showing the date of completion and hours earned. 

Continuing Education Credit

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The APA designates this enduring material for a maximum of 0.75 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Faculty and Planner Disclosures


  • Pauline Barry, BSN, MPS, CPHRM, CPPS, DFASHRM, Assistant Vice President Risk Management Group, AWAC Services. Reports no financial relationships with commercial interests.

Program Planners:

  • Anne Huben-Kearney, RN, CPHQ, CPHRM, CPPS, DFASHRM, AVP, Risk Management Group, AWAC Services. Reports no financial relationships with commercial interests.
  • Tristan Gorrindo, MD, Director of Education, American Psychiatric Association. Reports no financial relationships with commercial interests.

Accessibility for Participants with Disabilities

The American Psychiatric Association is committed to ensuring accessibility of its website to people with disabilities. If you have trouble accessing any of APA’s online resources, please contact us at 202-559-3900 for assistance.

Hardware/Software Requirements

This internet-based CME activity is best experienced using Internet Explorer 8+, Mozilla Firefox 3+, Safari 4+. This Web site requires that JavaScript and session cookies be enabled. Certain activities may require additional software to view multimedia, presentation, or printable versions of the content. These activities will be marked as such and will provide links to the required software. That software may be: Adobe Flash, Adobe Acrobat, Microsoft PowerPoint, and Windows Media Player.

Optimal System Configuration:

  • Flash Player: Adobe Flash Player 10.3+ 
  • Browser: Firefox (latest version), Internet Explorer 8.0+, Safari 7.0+, Microsoft Edge (latest version) or Google Chrome (latest version)
  • Operating System: Windows XP+ or Mac OS X 10.4+ 
  • Internet Connection: 1 Mbps or higher

Minimum Requirements:

  • Windows PC: 500-MHz Pentium II; Windows XP or higher; 128 MB RAM; Video Card at least 64MB of video memory; Macromedia Flash Player 10.3 or higher; Sound Card at least 16-bit; audio playback with speakers for programs with video content
  • Macintosh:Mac OS X 10.4+ or higher with latest updates installed; 1.83MHz Intel Core Duo or faster; RAM: 128MB or more; Video Card: at least 64MB of video memory; Sound Card: at least 16-bit; audio playback with speakers for programs with video content

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