Archives: April 2020

April 2020 Newsletter

The HCLA and Protect Patients Now remain committed to supporting our front line health care providers and keeping you updated on COVID-19 related medical liability reform developments at the state and federal levels. Visit our dedicated COVID-19 resource page for regularly updated materials and updates. Stopping liability lawsuits from going viral As confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. hover around one million, a new problem may be spreading — medical liability lawsuits. Personal injury attorneys are taking advantage of a captive audience, advertising to the increasing number of homebound Americans. According to an editorial in the Wall Street Journal, television advertising has focused on recruiting cases involving family members of those who became sick or died from COVID-19, in particular, while in nursing homes. With hospitals and providers managing a surge in patients, “Health-care providers have to make treatment decisions against a disease we still know too little about, and they shouldn’t be sued unless they are grossly negligent,” the editorial states. Highlighting the work of Governors in New York, Michigan, and Illinois to protect their states’ providers from lawsuits, the editorial encourages other governors and the federal government to do the same. “Congress last month provided liability protection for…

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HHS Issues Advisory Opinion on PREP Act Declaration Immunity

SOURCE: JD Supra On April 14, 2020, the General Counsel for the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) issued an Advisory Opinion (the Opinion) concerning the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (the PREP Act) and the March 10, 2020 Declaration issued pursuant to the PREP Act to address questions about the scope of immunity conferred under the two during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Opinion is in response to numerous requests for advisory opinions on whether various activities qualify for PREP Act immunity. While the Opinion is not a final agency action or order nor binding as a matter of law, it serves to illuminate the current views of the General Counsel. A copy of the Opinion can be found here. As background, on March 10, 2020, Alex M. Azar II, Secretary of HHS, issued a Declaration pursuant to section 319F-3 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 247d-6d), to provide immunity for “Covered Persons” engaging in “Recommended Activities” involving “Covered Countermeasures” against COVID-19 (the Declaration). More information about this Declaration, and the immunity conferred pursuant to the PREP Act can be found here. This omnibus Opinion provides guidance on who qualifies as a “Covered Person,” whether or…

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HCLA Letter to Congress on immunity during pandemic

Click here to read the letter April 7, 2020 The Hon. Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House United States House of Representatives 1236 Longworth House Office Building Washington, DC 20515 The Hon. Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader 317 Russell Senate Office Building Washington, DC 20510 Dear Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader McConnell: On behalf of our 36 member organizations who are tirelessly working to support healthcare professionals and facilities facing a challenge unlike anything in our modern medical history, the Health Coalition on Liability and Access commends your actions in support of those on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Right now, further action providing them relief from the threat of lawsuits is in the best interest of these professionals and facilities, as well as the patients they are called to serve. Our healthcare professionals and facilities are putting themselves at risk each day while facing workforce shortages, inadequate safety supplies, and insufficient information or changing guidance from federal, state, and local government officials. Despite this, they continue to go above and beyond, doing everything possible to treat the sick and bring comfort to others, often without regard to their own personal wellbeing. And while our healthcare professionals and…

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