Providers

As Congress Weighs COVID Liability Protections, States Shield Health Providers

Coronavirus patients and their families who believe a doctor, nurse, hospital or other provider made serious mistakes during their care may face a new hurdle if they try to file medical malpractice lawsuits.

Under pressure from health provider organizations, governors in Connecticut, Maryland, Illinois and several other states have ordered that most providers be shielded from civil ― and, in some cases, criminal — lawsuits over medical treatment during the COVID-19 health emergency. In New York and New Jersey, immunity is now part of state law. In California, six hospital, physician and long-term care provider groups are pressing Gov. Gavin Newsom to also issue an order assuring immunity.

The efforts are attracting congressional attention as well and threatening to derail the next federal coronavirus stimulus package on Capitol Hill. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is demanding that Congress include liability protections against COVID-related suits for businesses and health care providers.

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