HCA Continues Push for Home Care, Hospice in COVID-19 Liability Protection Statute

Over the past several weeks, HCA has requested amendments to the Emergency or Disaster Treatment Protection Act — a COVID-19 liability statute that was part of the recently enacted state budget — to also include home care and hospice providers in the protections against liability that may result from treating individuals with COVID-19.

The new law limits the liability for health care professionals, health care facilities, and organizations that provide treatment and services related to the COVID-19 pandemic. It specifically defines health care facility to mean “a hospital, nursing home, or other facility licensed or authorized to provide health care services for any individual under article twenty-eight of this chapter, article sixteen and article thirty-one of the mental hygiene law or under a COVID-19 emergency rule.” Article 36 home care agencies and Article 40 hospices are left out of this definition, leaving a home care agency and hospice provider open to liability if the “health care professional” is alleged to have engaged in an act of omission in the course of arranging for providing health care services.

HCA argues that just as facilities are covered, independent of the actual professional working in that facility, home care agencies and hospices should likewise be covered independent from the working professionals in those settings. Therefore, home care “agencies” and hospices should be included in the definition of a health care provider under the immunity provisions of the act.

HCA shared this legislative amendment with the Department of Health and Governor’s office. As of the time of this writing, the state has not provided HCA with any updates on amending the statute. In addition to providing its own amendment, HCA has also supported a separate legislative vehicle for immunity advanced by numerous associations and stakeholders. HCA will keep providers updated as more information becomes available.

For questions or concerns, please contact Alyssa Lovelace at alovelace@hcanys.org.