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PA Bill Offering Healthcare Providers COVID-19 Civil Immunity Vetoed

Healthcare Alert | December 7, 2020
By: Daniel J. Ferhat, Erin P. Hohol and Jason W. Poore

On November 30, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf vetoed HB 1737 which would have afforded healthcare providers across the Commonwealth immunity from civil suits related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In his veto statement, Governor Wolf referenced his May 6 Order, noting that he supported protections against liability for emergency and disaster services activities taken by healthcare providers, but felt HB 1737 went too far. Wolf’s office stated that the proposed legislation “would have undermined COVID-19 mitigation efforts and endangered the public health,” and categorized the civil immunity afforded by the bill “overly broad.” Wolf noted that he withheld his signature from the bill because he felt believed it would invite the potential for carelessness and provide protection to noncompliant actors at a time when the COVID-19 virus is spreading rapidly. Wolf also explained his position that COVID-19 immunity should be paired with increased employee protections, including paid sick leave for employees.

White and Williams covered HB 1737 when it passed both Houses of the Pennsylvania state legislature in mid-November and will continue to monitor proposed legislation and/or policies which could afford healthcare providers immunity from suit amid the COVID-19 crisis.

If you have questions or would like additional information, please contact Daniel J. Ferhat (ferhatd@whiteandwilliams.com; 215.864.6297), Erin P. Hohol (hohole@whiteandwilliams.com; 215.864.6310) Jason W. Poore (poorej@whiteandwilliams.com; 215.864.6806) or another member of the Healthcare Group.

As we continue to monitor COVID-19, White and Williams lawyers are working collaboratively to stay current on developments and counsel clients through the various legal and business issues that may arise across a variety of sectors. Read all of the updates here.

This correspondence should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances. The contents are intended for general informational purposes only, and you are urged to consult a lawyer concerning your own situation and legal questions.
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