What You Need to Do Before Your Next Health Fair

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Health fairs vary based on the services the hosting church decides to offer and the size of its community. Each event will need to be planned according to these parameters. While every possible scenario cannot be addressed, Adventist Risk Management, Inc. (ARM) offers guidelines to assist in identifying fundamental principles. It is the responsibility of the local church to work with their conference for all health-related ministries. The local church must also oversee compliance with all church conference and division policies, and all applicable laws and regulations for local, county/state levels.

Anticipated services for health screening events can include measuring weight, body mass index, or blood pressure. The key is that the service should only provide the results. Services provided should not include diagnoses, recommended treatment, or interpretation of the results for the participants. Third-party informational material may be provided, such as materials about blood pressure. Based on the third-party materials, participants could use the information to compare their blood pressure and pursue any needed follow-up with doctors. If your conference purchases General Liability insurance through ARM, this insurance policy will provide professional liability for both volunteers conducting the screenings and the conference itself.

These events are different from other health screenings. They usually involve volunteer health professionals providing services such as diagnosing, teeth cleanings, cavity fillings, and some medical procedures. Services that include diagnosis and treatment increase the church’s liability exposure. It is imperative to address items like licensure compliance for medical volunteers and facilities. Be aware of legal requirements, medical record retention, and patient privacy prior to your event.

If another entity is going to sponsor, plan, and run the event, all organizational matters still must be coordinated through the conference. An agreement should be in place outlining the terms under which the other organization will operate. The sponsoring organization should care for items such as licensure compliance, legal requirements, medical record retention, patient privacy and advertising. Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) organizations based in the North American Division (NAD) must make sure the sponsoring organization has medical professional liability and general/public liability insurance with limits no less than $10M per claim and $10M per event, and General Liability insurance with limits of no less than $1M per claim and $3M per policy period. For other Adventist Church organizations, please refer to General Conference and your Division policy for insurance and risk management requirements. Both insurance policies should have the conference, union, and division listed as additional insured.

Health fairs take a lot of planning, as the items outlined above do not happen quickly. The local church must coordinate these events through their Conference. It is recommended that at a minimum, a local attorney is involved in the planning. At this time, the required limits of insurance for professional liability for both the volunteers and the organization are no less than $10M per claim and $10M per event in the NAD. With the help of your local conference, contact ARM for a quote no less than 60 days before your event.

Tim Northrup is President/CEO at Adventist Risk Management