Georgetown University’s Medical Amnesty Policy, adopted in the Fall of 2014, was created to help individuals access emergency medical care. The University encourages students to contact GERMS in the event of a medical emergency that may be related to alcohol or drug use.
The Medical Amnesty Policy applies to both the patient and person who calls GERMS (202-687-4357). The policy is in effect both on and off campus and applies to all students, regardless of age.
The Medical Amnesty Policy requires that individuals:
- Must cooperate with law enforcement/GERMS
- Must seek help from either GUPD/GERMS or other University Official
- Must be medically evaluated (does not necessarily require transport to the hospital)
- Must have a follow-up meeting with Student Affairs representative (not a conduct meeting)
- Must follow all recommendations of that representative
Concerns about confidentiality:
- GERMS EMTs do not provide student information to Georgetown University
- GUPD identifies students to Student Affairs
- GERMS EMTs will never discuss call details with anyone other than medical professionals involved in the patient’s care.
Some frequently asked questions can be found below.
The policy covers the University’s Alcohol policy and Section 1 (Use and Possession) of the Drug Policy. Under the alcohol policy this includes possession and consumption of alcohol in an alcohol free location as well as possession and consumption of alcohol underage.
The policy does not cover possession of drugs with attempt to distribute as well as other violations of the student code of conduct such as disorderly conduct, failure to comply, and vandalism.
The policy covers (if not the same person) the student seeking medical assistance and the patient. It is important to note that “seeking medical assistance” includes calling GERMS at 202-687-4357, calling the RA on Duty, and verbally asking a university official for medical assistance.
This policy applies both on and off Georgetown’s campus. For GERMS’s response boundaries see here.
Georgetown EMS EMTS are not police officers. GERMS calls are dispatched by the police department dispatcher on the police radio channels. On calls, such as alcohol-related calls, the Georgetown University Police Department will dispatch an officer to the call along with GERMS to ensure the safety of the patient and of the EMS providers.
Georgetown EMS EMTs are subject to HIPAA patient confidentiality laws; they are not required, nor do they have the authority, to report alcohol-related incidents to Georgetown University. Georgetown University Police Officers are not medical personnel and are required by the guidelines of the police department to report underage consumption of alcohol, narcotics use or any other violation of the law, to Georgetown University.
While GERMS does not have an official answer from the University at this time, the policy states that a student must be “medically evaluated” for the policy to apply. We believe that the policy should apply to anyone who seeks medical attention for an emergency regardless of whether they are transported to the hospital. GERMS routinely works with attending physicians at the Georgetown Emergency Department to allow students who are over 18 years of age and not significantly impaired by alcohol or drugs to legally refuse medical treatment and transport. We ask that as a patient you allow GERMS to assess you in order to make a more accurate and detailed report to the hospital.