On May 6, 2020, Governor Wolf issued an executive order conferring civil immunity to a wide range of health care professionals responding to the COVID-19 emergency. Legally speaking, the order expands governmental immunity by treating various health care professionals as “agents of the Commonwealth”. Practically speaking, civil immunity applies to health care professionals, i.e., those with a health care license, certificate, registration or certification, who provide emergency services related to COVID-19 at a health care facility, nursing facility, or alternate COVID-19 care site.
Although the term “health care facility” is broad and includes hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, and home health care agencies, it does not include physician practice offices. Moreover, immunity does not extend to the facilities themselves, nor to cases of gross negligence or willful misconduct.
Please do not hesitate to contact a member of our Professional Liability Practice Group to discuss how the ongoing legal developments may affect you, your practice, or your healthcare facility.