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Nursing home industry wants immunity for COVID-19-related litigation

By Kyla Ashbury | The Center Square

(The Center Square) – COVID-19 has claimed the lives of many residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities, with these residents accounting for more than 40 percent of coronavirus deaths across the country. Now, the industry is asking for legal immunity when it comes to the virus.

The Indiana Health Care Association (IHCA)/Indiana Center for Assisted Living (INCAL) President Zach Cattell said IHCA and INCAL support a current law in the state regarding immunity.

IHCA/INCAL “is aware of the existing Indiana statute regarding immunity from civil liability for the provision of professional health care services by licensed health care providers during a declared disaster emergency,” Cattell told The Center Square. “It is important to note that the statute is not blanket immunity and any health care provider is still liable for gross negligence or willful misconduct.”

Cattell said the origins of the law were unknown to the agencies.

“Though we are not aware of the specific circumstances that led the legislature to pass this law more than a decade ago, we support the existing law as it provides basic assurances to health care providers that their reasonable actions to provide patient care in response to the disaster emergency may be protected,” Cattell said.

The Herald Bulletin reported that there are currently more than 20 states that have passed laws or executive orders providing immunity to nursing homes and long-term care facilities from COVID-19-related lawsuits.

In April, Indiana clarified its own law providing immunity aside from gross negligence and willful misconduct.

AARP Indiana said it didn’t support the law.

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