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. Passage of this bipartisan bill will reduce lawsuits that stem from the workforce shortages, inadequate safety supplies, and changing guidance from federal, state, and local government officials to which our healthcare providers and facilities have been subject since the pandemic began.”

Consideration of the bill becomes continually more urgent as the nation sees an uptick in COVID-19 diagnoses in many states.

To read the letter to Representatives Roe and Correa, click here. Additionally, the HCLA has maintained a COVID-19 resource page here.

Contact Congress to urge co-sponsorship of H.R. 7059

As Americans adjust to a new normal, our healthcare heroes and the facilities that employ them need your help to avoid a flood of medical liability lawsuits.

Protect Patients Now is urging our grassroots network of advocates to reach out to their Representatives and urge them to sign on to H.R. 7059, the Coronavirus Provider Protection Act.

To date, over 2,000 messages have been sent by concerned patients and physicians. While introduction of H.R. 7059 and the subsequent grassroots support is a significant step forward, there’s still much more work that needs to be done.

You can ask your Member of Congress today to cosponsor this critical bill and urge your Senators to incorporate similar language into their coronavirus relief legislation. If your Member of Congress has already cosponsored H.R. 7059, you’ll have the opportunity to thank them for their leadership and recognition of this critical issue.

To learn more about Protect Patients Now advocacy on this issue and to have your voice heard, click here.

Iowa approves COVID-19 liability protections

After a pandemic pause, the Iowa legislature reconvened to tackle medical liability protections related to the coronavirus outbreak.

The legislature had been considering strengthening their noneconomic damage caps prior to the pandemic. Upon reconvening, however, the Iowa House took steps to remove those provisions and add protections for health care providers and facilities that have been providing care during the ongoing pandemic.

These protections extend to adverse outcomes from treating or diagnosing people with suspected or confirmed cases of coronavirus, as well as changes or delays to medical care. This includes the cancellation of procedures deemed not urgent or elective, as well as lack of staffing and the use or non-use of personal protective equipment.

Sandra Conlin, representing the Iowa Medical Society, said the organization supported the provisions in the bill for medical providers because of the newly emerging risks.

“Our members who are physicians are sometimes self-employed and sometimes at clinics and sometimes work for hospitals have experienced a … variety of issues that they believe puts them at risk for no fault of their own,” Conlin said.

To learn more about Iowa’s actions on behalf of access to care in the wake of COVID-19,click here or here.