Archives: July 2020

July 2020 Newsletter

Senate stimulus bill introduced with COVID-19 liability protections A second economic stimulus bill introduced in the U.S. Senate this week (S. 4317, the “Safeguarding America’s Frontline Employees To Offer Work Opportunities Required to Kickstart the Economy Act” or the “SAFE TO WORK Act”) incorporates important liability protections for frontline medical providers and facilities. The issue has remained unresolved at the federal level since the start of the pandemic. This is of particular concern given the national nature of the crisis and the lack or inadequacy of sufficient state-level protections. Language in the bill creates an exclusive federal cause of action for injuries resulting from the treatment, diagnosis, or care of coronavirus, or care directly affected by the coronavirus. In addition, the bill preserves state laws which provide even greater levels of protection for our frontline healthcare professionals. The HCLA has also supported a bipartisan standalone bill, H.R. 7059, that addresses the legal vulnerabilities faced by healthcare providers as a result of the pandemic. Both H.R. 7059 and S. 4317 appropriately exclude liability protections in situations of gross negligence or willful misconduct. Speaking in support of the bill, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stated, “Nobody should have to face an epidemic…

Read More

MICRA initiative qualifies for 2022 ballot

SOURCE: California Dental Association An initiative that would substantially raise health care costs for all Californians, reduce access to health care and harm patients most in need has qualified for the 2022 ballot. The measure would significantly alter MICRA, California’s Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act law, by eliminating medical lawsuit limits, creating a new, broadly defined and dangerous category of malpractice lawsuits and enabling new substantial financial windfalls for California’s trial lawyers. Along with a coalition of other health care providers, insurers and hospitals, CDA and TDIC are deeply committed to defeating this initiative. Californians to Protect Patients and Contain Health Care Costs, a coalition of physicians, dentists and health care providers, issued the following statement: “It’s unfortunate that while California’s health providers are courageously working on the front lines of this pandemic, a few opportunistic trial lawyers have remained focused on a ballot measure that would substantially increase the burden on California’s doctors and clinics while inflating health care costs for everyone. Whether it’s 2020 or 2022, any ballot measure that reduces access to health care and increases costs for all Californians is bad medicine.” In anticipation of the initiative’s qualification, CDA’s Board of Trustees approved an initial $1…

Read More

Kelly Introduces Essential Workforce Parity Act to Support Health Care Heroes During Coronavirus Pandemic

SOURCE: Skadden Washington, D.C. – U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) yesterday introduced H.R. 7538, the Essential Workforce Parity Act. If enacted, this legislation would extend paid leave required by the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act (FFCRA) to health care workers and offer liability protections to hospitals and other medical providers from certain lawsuits during the COVID-19 emergency declaration. “Our doctors and nurses are on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic risking their own health to treat the worst cases of COVID-19,” said Kelly. “The Essential Workforce Parity Act will guarantee that our health care heroes are treated fairly if they get sick while also ensuring their primary focus can be on helping patients, not fighting lawsuits.” The legislation has received support in whole or in part from two key organizations, including the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania (HAP) and the Health Coalition on Liability Access (HCLA). Andy Carter, President and CEO of HAP, said this about the bill: “Pennsylvania hospitals’ first priority is the safety of health care workers and the patients they treat. This is especially true during the COVID-19 pandemic. During these difficult times—where the situation and guidance is constantly changing—we must allow health care workers…

Read More

Liability Protections in Coronavirus Relief Legislation

SOURCE: Skadden Earlier today, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, joined by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R.-Ky., introduced the SAFE TO WORK Act, which would provide substantial and comprehensive liability protection from coronavirus-related claims for businesses, educational institutions, nonprofit organizations, health care providers and employers. The bill also expands the product liability protections already afforded by the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act and includes several employment-related provisions. This is the long-awaited Senate leadership liability protection proposal that is expected to be considered by Congress over the next several weeks as part of the overall Phase 4 pandemic relief package. The following is a summary and brief analysis of the proposed legislation. See all our COVID-19 publications and webinars. Creation of Narrow, Exclusive Coronavirus-Related Exposure Cause of Action The bill creates an exclusive federal cause of action for claims alleging that a plaintiff contracted COVID-19 from an exposure to the virus caused by a defendant. That cause of action would limit liability to certain narrow circumstances and preempt all state laws that would otherwise apply to such lawsuits. Specifically, the legislation would require a plaintiff asserting a coronavirus exposure claim to prove by clear and convincing evidence that: (a) the…

Read More