Sen. Sal DiDomenico and Rep. Joseph McGonagle have announced that the State Senate and House of Representatives passed legislation to provide legal protection to health care personnel and facilities to rapidly respond to the COVID-19 emergency.
“Our health care workers are on the front lines of this public health emergency, and it is critical we do everything we can to protect them as they confront the pandemic and provide treatment for our residents,” said Senator DiDomenico. “As Massachusetts enters the midst of its COVID-19 surge, this legislation is key to ensuring our health care system can quickly respond to the crisis and our brave medical personnel can continue providing critical care for patients.”
“Healthcare workers need to know that their state officials have their backs and will do what’s necessary to aide them,” said Representative McGonagle. “These days it is hard to carry out ‘business as usual’ so we need to give our frontline workers the flexibility they deserve.”
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.
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.