April 21, 2020
Timilty Joins Colleagues in Passing Legal Protections for Health Care Workers, Facilities, and Organizations Responding to COVID-19
State Senator Walter F. Timilty (D-Milton) presided over the Massachusetts State Senate when it passed legislation to shield those providing critical health care services from legal liability for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency.
“I have always been a strong advocate for health care workers, in supporting both safe patient care and safe working conditions for nurses,” said Timilty. “Our health care workers are on the front line. They have been thrust into this fight against the insidious and highly contagious virus, which has claimed the lives of thousands in the Commonwealth.”
“Health care workers should only have to be concerned with saving lives right now. They deserve legal protections so that they may continue to do the best job possible in this uncharted territory. We are so thankful to each and every one in the healthcare industry, especially now in the midst of the pandemic,” Timilty stated.
Under this legislation, health care professionals, facilities and volunteer organizations assisting in the Commonwealth’s efforts to respond and treat COVID-19 during the State of Emergency would be protected from suit and civil liability for alleged damages related to the virus. Healthcare facilities and professionals would still be subject to consumer complaints brought by the Attorney General and protections would not extend to acts of negligence, recklessness, or intent to harm or acts of discrimination. These protections would apply retroactively to March 10, 2020, and remain in effect for the duration of the State of Emergency.
“This legislation offers critical support for both providers and institutions that have committed their skills and resources to the Commonwealth’s response to this global public health crisis,” Timilty added.
“I’m so thankful to both the State Senate and Massachusetts House of Representatives for quickly advancing this legislation,” said Timilty.
The bill, which is the latest action by the Legislature to address the COVID-19 public health crisis and its effects on Massachusetts, was signed by the Governor on April 17, 2020.