The past weeks have left medical providers and health care professionals at risk in more ways than one. In addition to their exposure to contagion, our vital workers may be left exposed legally. Currently, medical providers are working under a patchwork of protections. The result? Ongoing uncertainty and potential for catastrophic and expensive legal suits.
In early April, the federal government extended protections for volunteer workers who assist during the COVID-19 pandemic. These largely apply to individuals volunteering in medical settings to provide basic care for COVID patients. This legislation attempts to fill the gaps in certain state laws and regulations as well as to complement existing volunteer protections under federal laws.
Thus far, many of the executive orders and policies affecting healthcare providers in our state are focused on practical administration issues and patient care. However, all healthcare workers and providers should remain vigilant and aware of the potential liability involved.
If you are a doctor, nurse or other healthcare worker, take strict precautions and follow all the recommended CDC and AMA guidelines. Do so in addition to following guidelines set forth by your employer.
If you manage your own practice and are still open or are reopening under state guidelines, be vigilant and aware of your obligations. This includes reporting instances of potential contagion and your duties as a healthcare provider. You should take the time to sit down with a legal professional to ensure you protect yourself and your practice from potential lawsuits and that you are in full compliance with the law.
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