COVID-19 Medical Liability Protection Legislation Introduced
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 American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) and the Congress of Neurological Surgeons (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. 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 unrelated to COVID-19;
- Workforce shortages that forced physicians to provide care outside of their general practice area;
- Shortages of equipment — such as ventilators — that resulted in providers having to ration care; and
- Delayed or inaccurate diagnosis due to inadequate testing supplies.
On May 7, bipartisan legislation that would provide targeted relief from these lawsuits — H.R. 3021, the Coronavirus Provider Protection Act — was introduced in the House of Representatives by Reps. Lou Correa (D-Calif.) and Michael Burgess, MD, (R-Texas).