Health Providers Fighting COVID-19 Should Beware Tort Risk

May 13, 2020

Lisa Ruggiero co-authored an article for Law360 discussing civil immunity against tort liability, granted by the federal government and various states to protect facilities, providers and other health care entities considered COVID-19 first responders. Through emergency executive orders and legislation, protections have been issued for volunteer health care providers and continue to expand to cover a broader group of health care entities.

“But health care entities should not be lulled into a fall sense of security as there is no absolute immunity provided to them at this time, and the scope of protection afforded is not as clear as it may seem,” the authors caution.

The article discusses who is covered under the new laws, how long the emergency measures may remain in effect and what conduct is covered, as well as what steps can be taken. The authors note it is difficult to predict what actionable conduct will look like in hindsight.

“A year or two from now, what will be considered reasonable conduct during this crisis, what will be deemed simple negligence, and beyond that, what will be seen as conduct that rose to the level of gross negligence in the middle of this historic situation?” the authors write.

According to the authors, “Providers, facilities and other health care entities involved in the COVID-19 response effort should be careful to ensure continued compliance with state regulations and guidelines as those standards are likely to represent a barometer by which immunity will later be tested.”

To read the full article, click here.