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New York Senate Repeals Nursing Home and Hospital Immunity Bill

Posted April 6, 2021

Last April, in an effort to support first responders in getting aid out amid the pandemic crisis, Governor Cuomo issued an executive order protecting them from civil and criminal liability claims. It had some unintended consequences, though. “This immunity stripped thousands of grieving families of their right to seek legal recourse,” added Senator Allesandra Biaggi. The protection has been lifted incrementally, with Governor Cuomo signing a preliminary bill in November rolling back the blanket protections for healthcare workers and facilities that were not involved in the direct diagnosis, treatment, assessment, or care of COVID-19. Still, there was room for injustice of those who fell victim to negligence.

Last Wednesday, the New York Senate unanimously passed a bill to fully repeal the state’s COVID-19 nursing home and hospital immunity provisions. “We’re going back to normal, standard liability where patients and nursing home residents and families have their rights restored,” said Assemblyman Ron Kim, sponsor of the repeal bill.

While legislators back the bill, hospital associations and healthcare providers fear a surge in malpractice suits since the pandemic is still claiming lives daily and reporting daily cases remain in the thousands.

The next step is for the bill to be signed into law by Governor Cuomo, however with a Democratic supermajority in the Senate and Assembly, they have the power to override a veto.

The bill does not apply retroactively to past cases, however it will return the right to victims and families to pursue legal action for COVID-related negligence in the future. If you or someone you know suspects an institution or provider of negligence, contact Langsam Law to review the circumstances and timeline. There may still be a possibility to seek legal recourse.

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