When COVID-19 began to spread, it was a largely unknown foe. Hospitals, doctors, pharmacies, nursing homes, and long-term care facilities were all struggling to find ways to stop the spread, protect patients and employees alike, and understand more about the virus. Now, lobbyists for California’s healthcare providers have asked Governor Newsom to use emergency powers and grant them civil and criminal immunity for their handling of the pandemic. This raises a number of interesting points and issues as it relates to transparency at California nursing homes and concerns of abuse or neglect during the pandemic.
Not only are hospitals, doctors, nurses, and healthcare plans asking for immunity, California Assisted Living Association and LeadingAge California have joined in the request for an Executive Order to make facilities, plans, doctors, and healthcare employees immune from administrative sanction, criminal liability, or “civil liability or claim for any injury, death, or loss” stemming from care provided during the state of emergency. The protection from liability, however, will “not excuse willful misconduct.”