2020 Policy background information
The American Academy of Dermatology Association (AADA) supports the Coronavirus Provider Protection Act (H.R. 7059) and similar provisions in the SAFE TO WORK Act (S. 4317), which would ensure that dermatologists on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic can focus on helping patients without the fear of getting drawn into unwarranted lawsuits.
Message to Capitol Hill
As the sweeping impact of the COVID-19 crisis continues, dermatologists are treating patients under extremely challenging and unprecedented conditions that are beyond their control.
Even with shortages of medical supplies and personal protective equipment, constantly changing medical directives and guidance from authorities, the dramatic shift of patient care to telehealth with limitations on what’s deemed essential care, physicians are determined to focus on providing high quality patient care without the potential of unfair lawsuits.
In addition, as small and solo practice dermatologists continue to re-open their practices, they are doing everything in their power to protect their employees and patients from potential COVID-19 exposure while treating the communities they live in.
Across all practice types, these concerns raise serious potential for liability claims against physicians, other health care clinicians, and facilities. Congress must act to provide broader liability protections to preserve the viability of the physician workforce.
Cosponsor and support passage of the Coronavirus Provider Protection Act (H.R. 7059) and similar provisions in the SAFE TO WORK Act (S. 4317) prior to the close of the 116th Congress.
Support liability workplace safeguards to protect physicians, other health care providers, facilities, and their employees.
Introduced by Rep. Phil Roe, MD, R-TN, and Rep. Lou Correa, D-CA, H.R. 7059, the “Coronavirus Provider Protection Act,” provides targeted and limited immunity from liability to health professionals and facilities for care provided in good faith (or were withheld for reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic) during the public health emergency (PHE). Specifically, the bill:
Provides a limit on liability during the PHE and for a period of 60 days after the emergency terminates;
Covers acts or omissions that occurred while providing or arranging care, and for services that were within the provider’s scope of licensure or certification, without regard as to whether the service fell within the usual scope of practice;
Covers acts or omissions while providing care for services, with respect to a related health care facility, that are within licensure and accreditation of the related health care facility; and is committed (or not undertaken) based on directives or guidance made by federal, state, or local officials or agencies to address or in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, or due to lack of resources attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic;
Does not apply liability relief due to an act or omission that constitutes willful or criminal misconduct, gross negligence, reckless conduct, or conscious flagrant indifference to the rights and safety of the individual harmed by the provider or if the provider is under the influence of alcohol or drugs; and
Preempts state law to the extent that such laws are inconsistent with this Act unless such laws provide greater protection from liability.
Similar health care provider liability provisions are included in the SAFE TO WORK Act (S. 4317), introduced by Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX). S. 4317 would create an exclusive federal cause of action for coronavirus medical liability claims, as well as coronavirus personal injury claims.
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