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Pennsylvania Health Care Vulnerable to Another Threat During COVID-19

As Pennsylvania moves into day 78 of Governor Wolf’s emergency declaration, the commonwealth’s health care community continues to make difficult decisions under extraordinary circumstances; doing so without hesitation, but also without the acknowledgment of policymakers that the current COVID-19 environment has placed clinical decision making and resource allocation in uncharted territory leaving them vulnerable to frivolous lawsuits.

In light of this inaction, the Pennsylvania Provider Coalition—representing physical and behavioral health, long-term care, and intellectual and developmental disabilities providers— sent a letter to both state and federal lawmakers urging action to enact good faith civil liability protections for health care professionals, providers, and facilities.

While Governor Wolf signed an Executive Order on May 6 granting liability protections for individual practitioners, the order does not extend to facilities or agencies where the services were provided. The Governor’s action directly acknowledges the legal exposure that all providers face for actions and decisions made in response to the unprecedented public health emergency.

A number of other states, most notably Pennsylvania’s neighbors, New York and New Jersey, both have extended these protections to health care facilities and other providers.

For more information, contact HAP’s Laura Stevens Kent, senior vice president, strategic integration, or Stephanie Watkins, vice president, state legislative advocacy.

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