ISMA continues to advocate for more comprehensive liability protections for services provided during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As reported last week, Indiana law already provides some civil immunity protections for licensed health care workers and facilities providing health care services in response to a “disaster” event, such as the current public health emergency. In general, this immunity applies if all of these conditions are met:
- The person or facility is licensed to provide health care services (in Indiana or another state).
- The services provided are within the scope of that license.
- The services are performed at a location where services are provided during a disaster event.
- The conduct does not constitute gross negligence or willful misconduct.
This protection closely mirrors the immunity put in place by governors across the country in response to COVID-19.
However, because of the unique circumstances created by the pandemic, ISMA is seeking broader immunity protections for health care providers than those already in place. For instance, many physicians are redeploying to intensive care units to help treat COVID-19 patients, which often means they are working outside of their usual specialties. Others may be forced to make difficult decisions regarding the use of ventilators – either rationing usage or using them in unconventional ways, such as splitting them between two patients. ISMA is advocating for clarity of the Indiana statute to ensure immunity exists in these scenarios.
Furthermore, Governor Holcomb’s recent Executive Order 20-13
expanded who may provide health care services in the state during the public health emergency. For example, under the executive order, retired physicians and medical students are able to quickly enter or re-enter the health care workforce to build surge capacity. As a result, ISMA is also advocating to ensure immunity protections are available to those who are not formally licensed but are responding to the public health emergency pursuant to the executive order. ISMA will continue to push for expanded immunity and keep you informed of any developments.
Review the current Indiana immunity statute here