Look What We Found: Legislature Revises Immunity Provisions for Health Care Facilities

Legislature Revises Immunity Provisions
By Thomas M. Bona.

We recently told you about a limitation of liability provision for hospitals and nursing homes that was inserted into the last New York State budget. This provision granted immunity from civil and criminal  liability for any harm or damage alleged to have been caused as a result of an act or omission in the course of arranging for providing health care services if the health care facility or health care professionals were providing services pursuant to a COVID-19 emergency rule.

We advised you that New York State legislators were caught off guard and not aware of the legislative immunity provision until the very last moment. When the legislature was in session in July, the Legislature quickly went to work at limiting the immunity provisions that they had just passed. The revised bill, which was just signed by Governor Cuomo, limits immunity to health care professionals providing diagnosis or treatment for confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients, but does not apply to prevention or care of non-COVID-19 patients or to hospitals for arranging health care services.

The revised legislation took effect immediately and applies to cases accruing after its enactment. So it now seems that the legislature has finally gotten the bill the way they intended it to be which is to provide immunity from liability for health care facilities for COVID-19 diagnosis or treatment.

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Jeffrey T. Miller, Executive Partner