Ben Fenton recently wrote the expert opinion piece “Health Providers Need COVID-19 Biz Immunity Law” for Law360. The piece focuses on the Safe to Work Act, why physicians need COVID-19-related medical liability protections, and the controversy surrounding the rationing of care during the pandemic. Below are some excerpts from the article.
The American Medical Association has stated that without legislative protection, physicians could potentially face litigation for, “suspending elective, in-person visits and procedures; being assigned to provide care outside the physician’s general practice area; rationing care because of equipment shortages including ventilators; encountering inadequate testing that could lead to delayed or inaccurate diagnosis; and delaying treatment for patients with conditions other than COVID-19.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has increasingly exposed health care providers to potential threats of liability. The act is meant to assure these providers that they can reasonably rely on the mandates and directives given to them by public health officials and state and federal officials. However, it does not give health care providers a blanket license to act negligently.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shown a spotlight on triage guidelines across the country, and a growing number of states have begun to revise their guidelines in an effort to remove bias. The act will not protect physicians who are guilty of gross negligence or willful misconduct, but the tireless health care workers putting themselves at risk every day in order to fight the spread of COVID-19.
The full article can be found below.