Archives: June 2020

June 2020 Newsletter

Federal legislation for pandemic providers, facilities gains momentum Late last month, federal legislation was introduced to address the increasing need for liability protections covering front line pandemic responders and the facilities in which they work. H.R. 7059, the Coronavirus Provider Protection Act, is a bipartisan bill introduced by Representatives Phil Roe, MD (R-TN) and Lou Correa (D-CA). The bill includes long-awaited protections addressing the liability exposure of healthcare providers who responded to the health crisis arising from the pandemic. “Plaintiff attorneys have already begun filing COVID-19-related lawsuits, and lawsuits, even those without merit, cost time and money, which clearly interferes with the country’s economic recovery. More importantly, such lawsuits distract health care providers from keeping laser-focused on caring for their patients,” said HCLA Vice-Chair Katie Orrico, in an article in the Northern California Record. their patients,” said HCLA Vice-Chair Katie Orrico, in an article in the Northern California Record. The bill is picking up further momentum as additional co-sponsors sign on and HCLA member organizations express their support. In a letter to Representatives Roe and Correa, HCLA member organizations highlighted that “…H.R. 7059 is a comprehensive, federal solution to a national crisis that cannot be solved by any one state….

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Iowa law now shields most businesses from COVID-19 lawsuits

SOURCE: De Moines Register Republicans in the Iowa House and Senate have passed legislation to largely shield businesses and health care providers from many coronavirus-related lawsuits, despite criticism from Democrats and advocates for workers and the elderly. The legislation limits who can file civil lawsuits against businesses for COVID-19 illnesses. It also raises the bar for what makes a business liable for coronavirus exposure. After the House passed the bill June 5, Senate Republicans pushed the legislation through late Wednesday on a 31-18 vote. Sen. Jim Carlin of Sioux City was the sole Republican to join Democrats in voting against it. “This is a timely, important and consequential bill,” said Sen. Zach Whiting, R-Spirit Lake, the bill’s floor manager. “If you’re an employer or a premises operator or health care professional, and you did your best to keep your people and your property safe based on the public health guidance and best practices at the time, you’re OK, and you should not have the threat of litigation hanging over your head.” The Iowa Capitol in Des Moines But Democrats, who are the minority in both chambers, said the bill goes too far to shield meatpacking plants and nursing homes that…

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Iowa law now shields most businesses from COVID-19 lawsuits

SOURCE: Radio Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds has signed the bill into law that gives businesses and health care providers new liability protections from COVID-related lawsuits. Senator Zach Whiting, a Republican from Spirit Lake, said it sends an important message. “If you did your best and took substantial steps to comply with ever-changing government guidelines, then you don’t have to worry about the threat of litigation clouding up your skies,” Whiting said during Senate debate. Republicans in the legislature supported the bill. Democrats opposed it. Senator Nate Boulton, a Democrat from Des Moines, said it will benefit businesses that failed to adequately protect their workers. “To the Iowans who get infected…we are going to lessen your rights,” Boulton said. Republicans named the legislation the “COVID-19 Response and Back-to-business Limited Liability Act.” People filing civil lawsuits will have to prove a business, church, or other organization was malicious or showed “reckless disregard” to the risk of COVID-19. It means most businesses, including nursing homes, cannot be sued for damages in civil court for COVID-19 deaths. The new law is written to retroactively take effect January 1st of this year. It also provides liability protection to businesses and individuals who made personal protective…

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New federal legislation seeks to shield physicians from COVID lawsuits

SOURCE: North California Record As the effort to provide liability protections amid the COVID-19 pandemic continues, a bill introduced in the U.S. House May 28 seeks to safeguard physicians and other health professionals working on the front lines. “During this global pandemic, physicians have been dedicated to preserving and protecting the health of the American public under extremely difficult and challenging circumstances, often at risk to themselves,” Katie Orrico, vice chair of the Health Coalition on Liability and Access, told the Northern California Record by email. The Coronavirus Provider Protection Act (H.R. 7059), sponsored by U.S. Reps. Phil Roe, M.D. (R-TN) and Lou Correa (D-CA), has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee. “Providers deserve to know that they won’t lose their livelihoods because they pitched in and did the right thing trying to care for patients during the pandemic,” Roe told the Record. “Our legislation is a targeted effort to provide protections to physicians whose care was altered as a result of state or local restrictions to prevent COVID-19. “Examples could include physicians who were forced to cancel or delay scheduled appointments, physicians who volunteered to help treat COVID-19 patients outside of their general scope of practice, or physicians…

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