CNA Staff, Aug 5, 2020 / 12:10 pm America/Denver (CNA).
New York governor Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday signed a bill Tuesday partially reversing immunity protections given to facilities like nursing homes against lawsuits during the coronavirus pandemic.
The new law keeps in place immunity for healthcare staff and facilities in cases directly related to COVID-19 care, but removes the legal protections for preventative COVID-19 care and the arrangement of health care services for patients.
In May, Cuomo had signed into law a provision granting broad legal immunity for health care providers during the coronavirus pandemic, including in cases not related to COVID, unless the harm done to patients was due to criminal negligence or recklessness. The provision was included as a part of a larger budget bill.
Cuomo’s office told the New York Times in May that the provision was to enable hospitals, nursing homes, and staff to respond to the pandemic without having to fear a flood of lawsuits.
On Tuesday, Cuomo signed bill S8835, which curbed the previously broad grant of immunity, limiting it “to health care professionals that are providing diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19 directly to confirmed and suspected COVID-19 patients.” It also removed legal protection against lawsuits for any care that is part of “prevention” of COVID or of “arranging for” health care services.