Good Samaritan Professionals Act Would Offer Protections for Medical Volunteers Assisting with COVID-19 and Preserve Patient Rights
(Rockville, MD, March 20, 2020) The Medical Professional Liability Association (MPL Association) President and CEO Brian K. Atchinson issued the following statement about (H.R. 6283),the Good Samaritan Health Professionals Act that was introduced by Representatives Raul Ruiz, MD (D-CA) and Larry Bucshon, MD (R-IN):
“During this time of pandemic and in other times of catastrophe, it is vital for patients to have access to quality, timely medical care. Unfortunately, health care professionals who cross state lines to volunteer their medical services during disasters are not adequately protected by federal law.Additionally, the current patchwork of state laws designed to encourage medical volunteerism compound the problem by being ambiguous and inconsistent, especially when applied to large-scale disasters. This could mean that vital medical volunteers are deterred from helping, turned away, or forced to limit their services at a time when their help is most needed.
We commend Representative Ruiz and Representative Bucshon for introducing The Good Samaritan Health Professionals Act, a measure that, while important for any future catastrophe, is particularly relevant now as it would provide civil liability protections to licensed health care professionals who volunteer their time and skills to treat coronavirus patients. The bill also would preserve a victim’s access to compensation if an injury is the result of willful or criminal misconduct, gross negligence, reckless misconduct, or a conscious flagrant indifference to the rights or safety of the patient.
The MPL Association will continue to build bipartisan support in Congress in order to pave a path forwardfor the enactment of this measure.”