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A Menu of Suggested Provisions for Public Health Mutual Aid Agreements

Agreement Purpose or Background

Descriptive Note

The initial paragraphs of an agreement often serve to introduce the subject matter of the agreement, provide background information, state the agreement's purpose, or cite to the legal authority underlying the agreement. In many instances, these sorts of provisions are not designed to create obligations, but to simply "set the stage" for the agreement. Provisions of this type may have a "political" motivation in that the primary intent may be to educate or persuade interested persons or entities not directly involved in developing the agreement concerning the issues to be addressed or benefits to be gained through the agreement. Such interested persons or entities might include legislators, chief government executives, the private sector, or other government jurisdictions or agencies.

Optional sample provisions

Providing background information or "setting the stage":
  • The prompt, full and effective utilization of resources of the participating jurisdictions, including any resources on hand or available from any other source, that are essential to the safety, care, and welfare of the people in the event of any emergency or disaster declared by a Party shall be the underlying principle on which all articles of this Agreement shall be understood.
  • The Parties realize that influenza pandemics have occurred three times in the last century, and history and science suggest that the world could face one or more pandemics in this century. The Parties further recognize that a pandemic could cause severe illness, death, and disruption throughout the world, and outbreaks can occur in many different locations all at the same time.
Stating a general purpose or intent:
  • The intent of this Agreement is to make equipment, personnel and other resources available to other Parties to the Agreement.
  • The purpose of this Agreement is to protect the public health by providing mutual aid, and by establishing procedures in operating plans that will facilitate such aid.
  • The purpose of this Agreement is to provide for mutual aid and assistance between the Parties entering into the Agreement when the resources normally available to a Party are not sufficient to cope with a situation which requires public health action. The public's health and well being will best be protected through the concerted efforts of multiple public health agencies providing assistance to one another. The promotion and coordination of this assistance through this Agreement is desirable for the effective and efficient provision of mutual aid and assistance.
Stating a purpose relating to public health emergencies:
  • The purpose of this Agreement is to create a system of mutual aid between the Parties. Each Party recognizes that public health emergencies transcend political jurisdictional boundaries and that intergovernmental coordination is essential for the protection of lives and for best use of available assets. The system shall provide for mutual assistance among the Parties in the prevention of, response to, and recovery from, any public health emergency.

Stating a purpose relating to an emergency declared by the governor [Such a declaration may trigger activation of the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC). Mutual aid agreements intended to be operational during a declared emergency should be supplementary to and consistent with the provisions of EMAC, which has been enacted in all states and territories]:

  • The purpose of this Agreement is to provide for mutual assistance between the Parties in managing any emergency or disaster that is duly declared by the governor, whether arising from natural disaster, infectious disease outbreak, technological hazard, man-made disaster, community disorder, insurgency, terrorism, or enemy attack.
Stating a purpose regarding particular resources:
  • The purpose of this Agreement is to facilitate sharing of public health related data, both individually identified and population-related, between Parties for the purpose, and no additional purpose, of preventing, detecting, or responding to a public health event, thus assuring prompt and effective identification of infectious disease and other agents that could affect public health, and to prevent further spread of disease.
Stating a "surge capacity" purpose:
  • The primary goal of the collaborative approach between the Parties is to respond to surge capacity demands on public health systems and health resources efficiently when public health emergencies arise.
Stating a "surge capacity" purpose regarding particular resources:
  • The purpose of this Agreement is to address surge capacity. The Agreement describes the levels and sharing of laboratory services, procedures, responsibilities and reimbursement for laboratory testing, training and identification of infectious diseases and/or suspected bioterrorism select agents.
Stating legal authority:
  • This Agreement is made pursuant to (citation to relevant legal authority).
  • The Parties have authority to enter into this Agreement pursuant to (citation to relevant legal authority)
  • Party A is (description of Party A's roles and responsibilities under applicable laws)

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