Press Releases

Roe, Correa Introduce Legislation to Provide Health Care Liability Protections During COVID-19 Pandemic

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Washington, D.C., May 29, 2020 | Kyle Jacobs (202-225-6356) | comments

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Reps. Phil Roe, M.D. (R-Tenn) and Lou Correa (D-Calif.) released the following statement after introducing H.R. 7059, the Coronavirus Provider Protection Act:

“The COVID-19 pandemic upended health care delivery across the country. Health care providers have gone above and beyond to meet whatever challenges they’ve faced, but now we owe it to them to ensure they are protected from frivolous litigation. Our bill will provide targeted protections to providers who had to change how care was delivered based on public health recommendations that were constantly changing, sometimes daily. In some cases, that meant providers had to delay scheduled care or treatments; in others, it meant providers were called upon to treat COVID patients outside of their general practice area. While our bill does provide protections to providers who engaged in good-faith attempts to care for patients in accordance with state and local regulations, this bill does not provide protections to physicians who engaged in gross negligence or willful misconduct,” said Rep. Roe.

Rep. Correa said, “We are in uncharted waters. There is still a lot we don’t know about COVID-19 and how to treat patients afflicted with it. Our frontlines, including doctors and healthcare workers, are fighting for us the best they can with the technology and information available to them right now. This bill assures that our frontline healthcare professionals continue to do what they do best—save our lives.”

"The AMA applauds Reps. Phil Roe, M.D., and Lou Correa for their bipartisan effort to extend reasonable liability protections to physicians and other health care professionals caring for patients on the front lines during this unprecedented public health emergency. Physicians and other health care professionals are putting themselves at risk every day while facing shortages of medical supplies and safety equipment, as well as changing directives and guidance from all levels of government. These health care professionals now face the threat of years of costly litigation due to circumstances that are beyond their control. We commend Reps. Roe and Correa for recognizing that reasonable liability protections are in the best interest of our country as we continue to combat COVID-19 and begin to recover from this pandemic,”  said Patrice A. Harris, M.D, President of the American Medical Association (AMA).

Note: Building off of the CARES Act protections for health care volunteers, this bipartisan legislation offers liability protections to health care providers who act in good faith and abide by government guidelines while caring for patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. Importantly, the bill maintains critical protections for patients harmed as a result of gross negligence or misconduct. Examples of increased liability risk that providers are confronting because of COVID-19 include: 

  • Suspensions of elective in-person visits and delays in treatment for patients with symptoms un-related to COVID-19;
  • Workforce shortages that are forcing physicians to provide care outside of their general practice area;
  • Shortages of equipment – such as ventilators – that can result in providers having to ration care;
  • Delayed or inaccurate diagnosis due to inadequate testing supplies
Read the full text of the bill here.
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