COVID-19 UpdatesHCN News & Notes

Governor Aims to Provide Healthcare Workers Liability Protections During Pandemic

BOSTON — Gov. Charlie Baker filed legislation this week to provide healthcare workers and facilities protections from civil liability while they are on the front lines of the Commonwealth’s COVID-19 response.

The legislation would protect healthcare professionals, including doctors, nurses, and emergency medical technicians, as well as certain healthcare facilities, from liability and lawsuits when the care they provide is impacted by the COVID-19 emergency. The bill would also provide protections for the health workers staffing the field medical stations at the DCU Center in Worcester, the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, and other locations.

“Ensuring that our healthcare workers have the resources and protections they need has been a top priority for our administration since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Baker said. “This legislation offers important protections for healthcare workers and facilities facing the unprecedented challenges that come with the outbreak of this virus, and we look forward to working with our legislative partners to enact this bill and take another step in our efforts to support the Commonwealth’s medical system.”

Added Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, “Massachusetts is blessed to be home to some of the world’s best healthcare workers and institutions, and it’s important that the fear of liability does not prevent them from delivering the kind of medical response we need during this pandemic. We look forward to working with our colleagues in the Legislature to enact this bill and further support our healthcare system during this emergency.”

Baker also issued a directive that will maximize protections for healthcare workers under the federal Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act during the state of emergency. The directive will ensure that healthcare workers and facilities that distribute and administer testing, drugs, and medical devices for the diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19 are protected from lawsuits and liability to the maximum extent possible under the PREP Act.