Neurosurgery Calls for COVID-19-related Medical Liability Protections
As part of the ongoing efforts to provide health care providers with protections from unfounded lawsuits, the Health Coalition on Liability and Access (HCLA) — of which the AANS and the CNS serve as vice-chair — has joined a chorus of stakeholders in calling on Congress to pass legislation to safeguard medical professionals, and the facilities in which they practice, from COVID-19-related medical liability lawsuits.
To that end, on May 28, bipartisan legislation that would provide targeted relief from these lawsuits — H.R. 7059, the Coronavirus Provider Protection Act — was introduced in the House of Representatives by Reps. Phil Roe, MD, (R-Tenn.) and Lou Correa (D-Calif.). Recently, on July 9, Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) introduced H.R. 7538, the Essential Workforce Parity Act, which contains language similar to that of H.R. 7059. HCLA expressed its strong support for Section 3 of H.R. 7538 and applauded Rep. Kelly for his commitment to protecting health care professionals from the serious threat of COVID-19-related liability lawsuits.
In the Senate, on July 27, Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) introduced S. 4317, the Safeguarding America’s Frontline Employees To Offer Work Opportunities Required to Kickstart the Economy (SAFE TO WORK) Act. Supported by HCLA, the Senate bill would shield health care providers from coronavirus-related medical liability claims, while allowing damage awards in situations of gross negligence or willful misconduct. The introduction of this legislation follows several Senate hearings on this topic, including one convened by the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee on June 23, titled “COVID-19: Lessons Learned to Prepare for the Next Pandemic.”