Rep. Stanley, Rep. Lawn & Sen. Barrett Pass Legal Protections for Health Care Workers, Facilities, and Organizations Responding to COVID-19

[April 22, 2020] – BOSTON – On April 17, Rep. Stanley, Rep. Lawn and Sen. Barrett along with their colleagues in the Massachusetts House of Representatives and State Senate, passed legislation to shield those providing critical health care services from legal liability for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency.

Under the legislation, health care professionals, facilities and volunteer organizations assisting in the state’s efforts to respond and treat COVID-19 would be protected from suit and civil liability for alleged damages related to the virus. Health care facilities and professionals would still be subject to consumer complaints brought by the Attorney General and protections would not extend to acts of negligence, recklessness, or intent to harm or acts of discrimination.  These protections would apply retroactively to March 10, 2020, and remain in effect for the duration of the State of Emergency.

“This legislation will provide critical protections and relief for our health care workers and heath care facilities as they continue to care for an unprecedented number of patients during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Rep. Stanley. “Together, the House and Senate acted with urgency to provide peace of mind protections to our front-line health care workers who are going above and beyond to help those in critical need of care during this incredibly difficult time.”

“This urgently needed legislation will ensure that our healthcare system will be able to expand capacity quickly to treat patients during the surge of COVID-19 in Massachusetts,” said Rep. Lawn. “This bill maximizes protections for a wide variety of healthcare workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 response, who are sometimes being asked to work in very unique settings like field hospitals and other locations.”

The bill, which is the latest action by the Legislature to address the COVID-19 public health crisis and its effects on Massachusetts, has been signed by the Governor.