June 12, 2020
The California Medical Association (CMA)—in conjunction with the American Medical Association and 42 other state, specialty, and national medical associations representing hundreds of thousands of physicians—sent a letter to Congressional leaders, urging them to pass legislation to protect physicians from unfair lawsuits during COVID-19 pandemic.
During this unprecedented national health emergency, physicians and other health care professionals have been putting themselves at risk every day while facing shortages of medical supplies and safety equipment, and making critical medical decisions based on changing directives and guidance,” the letter said. “These physicians and other health care professionals are now facing the threat of years of costly litigation due to the extraordinary circumstances.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented challenges to our nation’s health care system. In addition to facing inadequate supplies and safety equipment, physicians, hospitals, and other frontline health care professionals have been faced with rapidly changing guidance and directives from all levels of government.
Examples include suspending elective in-person visits and procedures, being assigned to provide care outside the physician’s general practice area, rationing care due to shortages of equipment such as ventilators, inadequate testing that could lead to delayed or inaccurate diagnosis, and delays in treatment for patients with conditions other than COVID-19.
In these and other scenarios, physicians face the threat of costly and emotionally draining medical liability lawsuits due to circumstances that are beyond their control. These lawsuits may come months or even years after the current ordeal is over.
The coalition letter calls on Congress to pass targeted and limited liability protections for physicians, other health care professionals, and the facilities in which they practice as they continue their efforts to treat COVID-19 under unprecedented conditions.
Read the full letter here.