What's the news. Healthcare providers and facilities should expect medical professional liability claims both directly and indirectly related to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a March 17, 2020, article from Milliman, an actuarial and consulting firm. Hospitals may be particularly at risk once the spread slows and it can then be proven that they had to the capacity to handle cases of COVID-19 under crisis standards of care, the author says.
Why it matters. In the short term, hospitals may not find themselves at as great a risk for COVID-19-related liability, the author says, noting that it would be difficult to allege malpractice for a lack of ventilators when "thousands of other hospitals are short as well." The interpretations of Good Samaritan laws could provide protections against malpractice for providers who are called to work outside of their specialty during the pandemic. "But if the spread can be slowed to a rate at which most hospitals have the capacity to handle these cases (at least under a crisis standard of care), it may be easier to allege malpractice against those hospitals with overwhelmed emergency departments or that experience adverse results relative to others."
How ECRI can help. ECRI has developed the COVID-19 Resource Center to help healthcare and aging services organizations protect healthcare workers, residents, and patients.