New York State Legislature Passes Treatment Protection Act Repealing Immunity to Nursing Homes and Hospitals Against COVID Malpractice Lawsuits

On Wednesday March 24, 2021, the New York State Senate unanimously passed legislation that repeals protections for nursing homes and hospitals against liability for COVID malpractice lawsuits. The bill had previously passed the New York State Assembly.  The NY Senate press release is available here.

As discussed in previous posts, New York’s “Emergency Disaster Treatment Protection Act” went into effect with the New York State budget in April 2020. In August 2020, we reported that legislation had been passed that rolled back legal immunity to hospitals and nursing homes.

The Treatment Protection Act repeals the extra protections against liability that were granted to nursing homes, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities for treating patients during the COVID pandemic. It also mandates a prominent display in nursing homes to inform residents of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program and requires the Department of Health to publish the patient bill of rights for the nursing home in the six most common non-English languages spoken in New York.  It also reforms the review process for change of ownership or operations proposals filed with the Public Health and Health Planning Council, which is intended to add transparency regarding the ownership and operation of nursing homes.

We will continue to report on this issue as further developments may lead to increased litigation for nursing home and health care facilities related to the care and treatment of patients during the pandemic.

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