Executive order grants liability protection for healthcare workers, facilities
Healthcare officials praised action taken last week by Gov. JB Pritzker to provide healthcare providers and workers liability protections for providing care during the new coronavirus pandemic.
The executive order states that medical facilities, community-integrated living facilities, community mental health centers and others providing COVID-19 healthcare services cannot be sued for “any injury or death alleged to have been caused by any act or omission” provided when rendering assistance during the outbreak.
The order also covers any doctor, nurse, emergency medical service worker or healthcare volunteers if they are providing services at any of the facilities dealing with the pandemic.
“Gov. Pritzker’s executive order providing liability protection is a noteworthy action and we thank him for crucial leadership,” Dr. Paul Pedersen, president of the Illinois State Medical Society, told Health News Illinois in a statement. “Front-line health professionals are being asked to provide care in circumstances we’ve never experienced before. Physicians, nurses and other members of the team should not face punitive measures for showing up to provide care under challenging circumstances outside of their control.”
The order comes as Pritzker has called on retired and former healthcare workers to return to the field and help alleviate the stress on the industry caused by the pandemic.
With the order, those workers will be ensured to have liability coverage, said Illinois Health and Hospital Association spokesman Danny Chun.
“These kinds of extraordinary times require an extraordinary response, and these workers need liability protection,” he said.
Going forward, Chun said the association hopes Pritzker issues further guidance on a crisis standard of care in case healthcare resources become scarce such as in Italy. If Illinois ends up in a situation where there are not enough resources, Chun said they need “clear guidance and standards” across the state on how to allocate them.
The medical society is calling for the depositions of all healthcare professionals and providers and their employees to be postponed for 90 days.
“The governor’s extraordinary action of directing healthcare professionals and providers to render assistance reflects the gravity of the current situation,” wrote board Chair Dr. Richard Anderson in a letter sent last week to the presiding judge for Cook County. “Healthcare professionals and providers taking time out of these critical lifesaving efforts to participate in depositions endangers the citizens of this state.”
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