WASHINGTON, May 29, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The Health Coalition on Liability and Access (HCLA) today applauded the introduction of a bill in the House of Representatives that offers long-awaited protections for the healthcare responders and facilities at the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.
H.R. 7059, the Coronavirus Provider Protection Act, is a bipartisan bill introduced by Representatives Phil Roe, M.D. (R-Tenn.) and Lou Correa (D-Calif.). Since the start of the pandemic, healthcare professionals and facilities have put themselves at risk each day while facing workforce shortages, inadequate safety supplies, and changing guidance from federal, state, and local government officials. Now, the healthcare providers who answered the call in response to the pandemic, face the unnecessary risk of lawsuits.
Personal injury attorneys are now ramping up to pursue medical liability lawsuits, which are beginning to make their way through state legal systems. Unfortunately, the patchwork of state laws and executive orders adopted to address medical liability during the COVID-19 pandemic is insufficient to address this national problem, which requires a federal solution.
The narrowly-crafted liability protections in H.R. 7059 would apply only when:
- The act or omission occurred during the declared COVID-19 public health emergency or within 60 days of termination of the emergency;
- The act or omission occurred while providing or arranging care;
- The services were within the provider's scope of licensure/certification, without regard as to whether the service fell within the usual scope of practice; and
- The services were provided in good faith.
Additional actions covered by the bill would include those taken based on direction or guidance from any Federal, State, or local official/department/agency as well as those taken due to a lack of resources attributable to the declared emergency.
"Unless Congress acts to protect them, the very healthcare providers that have been celebrated as our nation's heroes remain vulnerable to the threat of unwarranted liability lawsuits," said HCLA Chair Mike Stinson. "We're encouraged that Representatives Roe and Correa understand the severity of this impending crisis for our healthcare providers and facilities and ask Congress to take prompt, bipartisan action to pass H.R. 7059."
HEALTH CARE LIABILITY EXPERTS AVAILABLE FOR INTERVIEWS CONTACT LAUREN SLEPIAN, 609-744-4794
For more details, visit www.hcla.org. The Health Coalition on Liability and Access is a national advocacy coalition representing physicians, hospitals, health care liability insurers, employers, health care providers and consumers. HCLA believes federal legislation is needed to bring fairness, timeliness and cost-effectiveness to America's medical liability system.
SOURCE Health Coalition on Liability and Access