Hospitals Seek Liability Protections Before Starting Elective Surgeries

Credit: CDC/ Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAMS

Hospitals at center of fight over liability protections in coronavirus relief bill



Hospitals are warning they will be slow to restart elective procedures like knee surgeries and colonoscopies without assurances from Congress they won’t get sued by patients and their own workers if they are infected by the coronavirus during those visits.

Powerful industry lobbies like the American Hospital Association pressing for relief in the next rescue package have gained a sympathetic ear from Republican leaders in Congress. They’ll be joining with a raft of other industries seeking legal protections, ranging from manufacturers to casinos, while facing opposition from Democrats concerned about stripping patients’ legal rights.

The dispute echoes past fights over tort reform and medical malpractice suits that pitted trial lawyers, unions and consumer groups aligned with Democrats against doctors and other health providers claiming they were swamped by frivolous lawsuits.

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