Margaret E. Somerset
Malpractice Immunity for Medical Professionals Treating Patients During COVID-19
Updated: Mar 27, 2020
Every day all medical providers treating patients with COVID-19 are doing the best they can with the resources and information that they have available to them. The clinical data on the virus is being updated daily and so are the recommendations for treatment. For all providers caring for these patients, the effort to keep up with changing treatment recommendations can feel overwhelming. In addition, many mid-level providers have been taking on increased responsibilities in order to ‘bring all hands on-deck’ to care for the increased number of patients.
During this difficult time, medical providers should not have to worry about whether their decisions will be challenged years from now as medically negligent if their patients fail to recover from COVID-19.
To alleviate this anxiety, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo issued an Executive Order which grants qualified immunity to medical personnel who are treating patients with COVID-19. Executive Order 202.10 grants immunity from liability for all physicians, physician assistants, specialist assistants, nurse practitioners, licensed registered professional nurses and licensed practical nurses caring for COVID-19 patients so long as the provider does not act with gross negligence. This Executive Order only applies to providers who are treating COVID-19 patients.
This means that if these providers continue to act in good faith and use their best judgement, based upon the information available to them at the time, they will not be liable for claims of medical negligence or medical malpractice.
Executive Order 202.10 specifically provides that:
“…[T]o the extent necessary to provide that all physicians, physician assistants, specialist assistants, nurse practitioners, licensed registered professional nurses and licensed practical nurses shall be immune from civil liability for any injury or death alleged to have been sustained directly as a result of an act or omission by such medical professional in the course of providing medical services in support of the State’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak, unless it is established that such injury or death was caused by the gross negligence of such medical professional…”
This Executive Order is valid through April 22, 2020. We will continue to monitor changes to the laws and regulations affecting health care providers and will provide updates as frequently as necessary.
You can read the entire Executive Order here.
As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact us here or call us at 585.258.2800.
You can view more COVID-19-related posts in our COVID-19 Resource Area here.