Bill Signed to Roll Back Medical Liability Protections

August 7, 2020 by Christen Aldrich

Filed under COVID-19 for Employers, COVID-19 for the Workforce

Last modified August 10, 2020

According to a new posting by the Medical Society of the State of New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill that would reverse some of the medical liability protections provided to doctors, hospitals, and nursing homes during the pandemic.

The bill was opposed by lobbying groups representing the health care industry as potentially adding to medical malpractice costs after workers risked their own health to treat COVID-19 patients. The law, which will be applied prospectively, reduces the level of legal immunity for doctors treating non–COVID-19 patients whose care is affected by the pandemic.

Hospitals and doctors had sought that cover as they were asked to take dramatic steps to respond to the pandemic, such as converting non-clinical spaces into treatment areas and asking doctors and nurses to work outside their specialty areas.

“We pray that such a drastic situation will not come again, but if it does, many physicians will again find themselves with the unimaginable choices of triaging which patients are to receive care first, knowing full well that this new law means that the ‘wrong choice’ could result in that physician losing everything they own to a lawsuit,” Dr. Bonnie Litvack, president of the Medical Society of the State of New York, said in a statement.

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