Legislation Grants Civil Liability Protection to Health Care Providers During COVID-19

Last Updated: Nov 20, 2020

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, PAMED has advocated for its physicians. One of PAMED’s priorities was the passage of civil liability protection for physicians during this pandemic. HB 1737, which would grant civil liability protection to all health care practitioners during COVID-19, was approved by both legislative chambers and is now before the Governor for his consideration.

WHAT WOULD HB 1737 DO FOR HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS?

HB 1737 would provide civil liability protection during COVID-19 for covered providers, including health care practitioners (which includes physicians), providers, and facilities, for damages or personal injury related to specified acts enumerated in the bill. Those specified acts are:

  • The provision of treatment or testing for COVID-19 to patients who have been exposed, or to those patients a covered provider reasonably believes have been exposed, to COVID-19.

  • An act or omission proximately caused by a shortage of equipment, supplies, or personnel which was a direct result of the demand for testing or treatment of COVID-19 and was beyond the reasonable control of the covered provider.

  • Patients in excess of the capacity of a department or a unit of a covered provider as a direct result of the need to test or treat COVID-19.

  • Complying with public health directives regarding the testing and treatment of COVID-19.Under this provision, any act or omission that a covered provider in good faith believes complies with a public health directive is covered under this bill.

In addition to those acts listed, liability will not attach to an employer of an individual who is covered under this bill. 

WHAT ACTS ARE NOT COVERED UNDER THIS BILL?

Civil liability protection will not apply if it can be shown, by clear and convincing evidence, that a covered provider committed gross negligence, recklessness, willful misconduct, or intentional infliction of harm.

HOW WILL PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTIVES BE CONSIDERED?

HB 1737 specifically requires a court, in considering liability under this bill, to consider any public health directives which were in effect at the time an alleged act or omission occurred.

WHEN WOULD THIS BILL TAKE EFFECT?

If signed by the Governor, HB 1737 would take effect immediately.

2 comments

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  1. Heather Hart | Nov 21, 2020
    Thank you
  2. Heather Hart | Nov 21, 2020

    As a Family Physician practicing outpatient medicine, managing chronic medical  problems as well as mild to moderate COVID infections, approval of HB1737 to protect all practicing  physicians is a fair action.

    Please pass this bill immediately as we continue to see a rise in COVID cases so outpatient physicians can continue to care for ALL of our patients.

    Thank-you,

    Heather Kirk Hart,MD

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