On April 6, 2021 the Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed a bill that will ultimately protect not only healthcare workers, but also various facilities and businesses. According to the article reports, by a 107-to-94 vote, this bill will specifically protect businesses, health care facilities, nursing homes, and schools from “lawsuits alleging COVID-19 exposure, absent claims of gross negligence or intentional misconduct.”
Supporters of the bill argue that this bill falls short of giving blanket immunity and that those covered would still have to follow all guidelines. The bill covers health care facilities and practitioners, schools, colleges and universities, child care centers, local governments and companies that make personal protective equipment. Nevertheless, there is an ongoing theme that claims for professional negligence against healthcare facilities and practitioners are “opportunistic lawsuits that seek to take advantage of the Covid-19 emergency,” said Curt Schroder, executive director of the Pennsylvania Coalition on Civil Justice Reform. The Pennsylvania Health Care Association, which represents nursing and personal care homes in the state, also supports the bill.
Bill sponsor Rep. Torren Ecker, R-Cumberland believes it’s important to note the purpose, and meaning behind this bill passing. “Businesses that did their best to provide our communities with safe ways to get essential goods and followed the necessary precautions should not have to worry about the threat of costly litigation. Furthermore, my bill does not protect any sort of criminal act or reckless, knowing or intentional misconduct.”