On May 6, 2020, Governor Wolf issued an Executive Order [hereinafter “Order”] to “Enhance Protections for Healthcare Professionals.” The Order decrees on two general areas:
- It broadly relaxes or suspends regulatory requirements pertaining to licensure and certification of healthcare professionals and EMS personnel.
- It grants limited Immunity to individuals licensed or certified to provide healthcare services, regardless of whether they are paid or volunteer, for “emergency services activities” or the “provision of disaster services activities” in response to COVID-19.
This paper explores the practical effect of the Order on claims against healthcare providers.
In summary, although there are a few positive declarations in the Order, it is mostly illusory, with no practical protections for those within the proverbial litigation crosshairs. Currently, traditional medical malpractice defenses remain the strongest protection on anticipated COVID claims.