September 2, 2020

Call to Action! Protect Physicians from COVID-19 Liability!

ALERT! The SCMA needs your help!

The Senate and House are considering legislation to protect physicians from COVID-19 lawsuits.  Act now to ensure this legislation is passed.  Physicians should not be sued for serving the public during a pandemic.

Ask: Call or email your Senator or House member.

Why: Proposed Senate Joint Resolution 1259 or House Bill 5527 must be passed to protect physicians from liability due to COVID-19 related claims. 

When: Now! This week and next week. The Senate is intermittently in this week and next. The House and Senate are in on September 15th. 

How: If you know your local Senator and House member, call them. If you do not, you can still easily call or email. Click here and put in your home address. The website will pull up your representatives.  Simply click the name of your state Senator or House member and the website will provide the correct phone number and email address.

What to Say: Ask your Senator and House member to vote YES to limiting liability for physicians from COVID-19 related legislation. Let them know that physicians have been protecting the public and appreciate them protecting physicians. 

Your voice is best heard when the message comes in YOUR VOICE and not a script. Below is the background for why the legislation is needed, and the important points so that you can effectively tell your legislators why they must protect physicians and pass legislation to limit liability from COVID-19 related lawsuits.

  1. Encourage Businesses to Follow COVID-19 Safety Precautions: Limiting liability or providing a "safe harbor" requires a physician follow DHEC and CDC guidance.  It does not protect bad actors or those who willfully ignore guidance on COVID-19 or act recklessly.  In protecting physicians, it also encourages them to meet current guidelines and comply with protective standards of care. 
  2. Physicians Serve Others Even in a Pandemic: Physicians cannot close because of a pandemic.  Physicians have struggled to obtain PPE, learn new guidelines, and run their businesses, all while learning a new disease.
  3. What Protections Should Be Provided:  Protect physicians from being sued for trying novel treatments for a new disease; for staying open to care for patients when everyone else closed despite exposure concerns; and for delaying care of other patients to save PPE for those who need it the most.
  4. All the States Around SC have Already Provided Protection:  All of our neighboring states have passed laws to provide broad immunity for businesses that operate and may expose clients/patients/customers to COVID-19:  Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina and Tennessee. 
  5. Lawsuits are Everywhere: As of August 13th, we know of over 4,000 COVID-19 complaints filed nationwide, with 26 filed in South Carolina. Physicians, like other business owners, should not be liable for COVID-19 issues when the physicians act reasonably and consistent with federal and state guidelines.

We cannot do this without you! Legislation must be passed to protect physicians from liability due to COVID-19 related claims.  Please call and email your Senator and House member and ask them to vote YES and support protections for physicians. Click below to read the proposed legislation in the House and Senate. 

House Bill 5527, known as the South Carolina COVID-19 Liability Safe Harbor Act 

Senate Joint Resolution 1259, JR to Provide Liability Protections for a Limited Time Period for Health Care Providers and Businesses that Follow Public Health Guidance