Request for state executive order for pandemic liability protection

For Immediate Release

April 20, 2020
Contact Deborah Pacyna

The California Association of Health Facilities released the following statement on its request for a state executive order for pandemic liability protection.

“Skilled nursing facilities have been on the front lines of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and have suffered from a lack of access to testing and personal protective equipment, diminished nurse staffing and inconsistent directives from county, state and federal agencies, including pressure to take untested patients. 

We are seeking baseline protection from the expected surge in litigation that will inevitably engage in the second-guessing of caregivers seeking to do their best under impossible circumstances. The proposed liability protection is not absolute and facilities are still exposed to liability resulting from willful conduct during the emergency. 

Existing California law (Gov’t Code 8659) provides identical civil liability protection during declared emergencies as the coalition letter states, but current law only covers hospitals, physicians, nurses and other specified practitioners. No other type of health facility is protected.

In light of the pandemic, the insurance markets for health facilities have become extremely challenging and skilled nursing facilities are losing access to affordable liability insurance coverage for claims made during or after the emergency. A significant amount of the costs associated with insurance coverage are passed on to the Medi-Cal program as a state cost.

Governor's have granted similar executive orders in the following states: New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Hawaii, Michigan, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, Connecticut, Arizona, Arkansas and Georgia."  

Liability Protection Coalition letter