Pa. Bill Would Expand Lawsuit Abuse Protections to All Physicians Treating COVID-19 Patients

Last Updated: Jul 30, 2020

Pennsylvania physicians and health care practitioners are on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, often risking their lives to treat their patients.

A bill introduced by Pa. Senator Lisa Baker – Senate Bill (SB) 1239 – aims to provide liability protections for health care practitioners who provide treatment or testing for COVID-19 patients, except for situations in which there is clear evidence for gross negligence, recklessness, or misconduct.

The legislation would also provide liability protections for manufacturers of personal protective equipment (PPE).

Why PAMED Is Advocating in Support of COVID-19 Liability Protections

The Pennsylvania Medical Society (PAMED) strongly supports the bill.

In early May, Gov. Wolf issued an executive order in early May that granted immunity for certain practitioners caring for COVID-19 patients, including those in hospital and long-term care facility settings.

PAMED believes the order fell short because it does not protect practitioners in outpatient settings, leaving them vulnerable to personal injury lawyers. Giving some physicians cover while leaving others exposed could create a culture of defensive medicine, where physicians in outpatient settings refer patients with COVID-19 symptoms to the emergency room for fear of being sued.

Sen. Baker’s legislation would ensure that protections are extended to any setting where physicians see COVID-19 patients.

As a health care member of the Pennsylvania Coalition for Civil Justice Reform (PCCJR), PAMED is working with a statewide group of businesses, professional trade associations, and other organizations to urge the legislature to advance the bill.

Urge Your State Senator to Support Lawsuit Abuse Protections

All Pennsylvania’s health care workers treating COVID-19 patients, or those suspected to be COVID-19 positive, are courageous as they put their lives and the health of their families on the line to care for Pennsylvanians with COVID-19. They deserve the protections laid out in SB 1239.

Click the button below to use PAMED's "Take Action" form to urge your State Senator to support SB 1239.

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Next Steps

The bill was introduced on July 27, 2020 and has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

PAMED will be closely monitoring the SB 1239 and, in conjunction with other members of PCCJR, advocating for its passage with legislators. We will share any updates with our members.

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