Assembly panel to hear bill ending healthcare liability protections on Monday
The Assembly Health Committee will assess a bill to remove liability protections given to for-profit health care facilities at the start of the pandemic on Monday after increasing pressure from residents on the legal shield.
The bill, initially presented last August, went unanswered for months.
“I don’t think there has been the will, honestly, to do anything about it for a while, and that’s understandable,” said MP Joann Downey (D-Freehold), her sponsor. principal to the lower house.
The legal shield was put in place at the start of the pandemic, when knowledge of how to treat patients infected with COVID-19 was scarce.
But it has remained in place even after the emergence of treatments and inoculations for the virus, and advocates and lawyers have started calling for liability protections to end.
“Distressed facilities should remain subject to litigation,” Downey said. “There must be a responsibility.”
The MP said she intends to change the bill so that liability protections disappear 90 days after its enactment or with the end of the state’s public health emergency, whichever comes first. contingency.
Gov. Phil Murphy, Speaker of the Senate Steve Sweeney (D-West Deptford) and Speaker of the Assembly Craig Coughlin (D-Woodbridge) announced on Friday that the governor would allow the declaration of emergency to expire in mid-June though legislation giving his administration unspecified powers to continue to deal with the pandemic has been sent to his office.
Sweeney told the New Jersey Globe on Thursday that talks about ending healthcare liability protections were just beginning and the fate of the bill was still uncertain.
The legislative branch did not promise to take the bill to the ground, Downey said, although they saw the new move as cause for optimism.
“Do I have a formal commitment? No, she said. “But I feel pretty good now that it’s going to be heard in the Health Committee that it can be displayed, if adopted, for a vote in the Assembly.”