On behalf of every emergency physician who is risking his or her life combatting the COVID-19 pandemic and may be forced to make extremely difficult or impossible treatment decisions, ACEP is actively working to secure immunity from liability.
Here are some of the specific actions we have taken:
- Raised this issue on a call with Vice President Mike Pence
- Actively worked with Congressional lawmakers to include liability protections in future COVID-19legislation
- Included this issue in our list of top policy priorities that has been distributed to every member of Congress;
- Provided a template letter to every state chapter asking for full immunity
- Reached out to many state chapters offering to help individualize the letter to contact their governors asking for an emergency declaration on this issue.
To date, New York, Illinois, Massachusetts and Connecticut have made declarations that have included strong liability protections for frontline health care practitioners. Several other states have indicated that they believe that statutes related to declared emergencies provide this protection. A couple of other states have indicated that the governors do not believe they have authority to do this. There is political momentum on this issue, and ACEP believes that we will see this addressed in many more states soon. It is important to note that our current efforts have been fully focused on work by working physicians, not Good Samaritans.
Finally, please know that medical liability reform has always been always a priority for ACEP. After this crisis is over, we will make the case that liability protections appropriate for the crisis are also good policy during normal times.