Senate Bill Provides Extra Protection for Healthcare Providers on the Frontline During the COVID-19 Pandemic – Health Law and Regulation Update Blog Post by CindyAnn Ross
Health Law and Regulation Update Blog Post by CindyAnn Ross.
On March 25, 2020, the United States Senate passed H.R. 749 also referred to as ‘‘Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act’’ or the ‘‘CARES Act’’. In addition to offering economic relief for families and businesses, the bill addresses a number of issues which impact the way healthcare workers provide care and interact with the public during the public health emergency.
Section 3215 provides limitations on liability for volunteer healthcare professionals during the Covid-19 emergency. Under this provision, volunteer healthcare professions will not be held liable under State or Federal law for acts or omissions while providing health care services in connection with the COVID-19 public health emergency. These services must be performed in their capacity as a volunteer and cannot exceed the scope of their license as defined by the State of licensure. This exclusion does not apply to acts/omissions of gross negligence, reckless misconduct, willful or criminal misconduct or conscious disregard for the safety of others. A volunteer healthcare professional is defined as someone who does not received compensation or any other value in lieu of compensation for the health care services rendered. There are exclusions for items used exclusively for rendering healthcare services and travel expenses. This section remains in effect only during the public health emergency and only applies to claims for harm which occurred on or after enactment of the Act.
The Act encourages the use of electronic and telecommunication technology to monitor and provide care for patients during the public health emergency. There are exemptions which ease the requirements for providing Telehealth services during the public health emergency. Section 3705 provides a temporary waiver of the requirement for physicians to have face-to-face visits with home dialysis patients. Healthcare providers can now use Telehealth to conduct recertifications for hospice care. (Sec. 3706). Telecommunications systems can also be used for monitoring home health patients. (Sec. 3707)
Be sure to check with your CSKL Healthcare Practice Group contact for the latest information concerning the medico-legal challenges we are facing.
To subscribe to our Health Law and Regulation Update Blog, please click here.