In May 2020, the General Assembly passed Senate Bill 704 and Governor Roy Cooper signed it into law.  Section 3D.7(a) of the bill, entitled the Emergency or Disaster Treatment Protection Act (“Act”) protects health care workers and health care facilities from lawsuits for deaths and injuries occurring during the Covid-19 crisis.  The protection period began March 10, 2020, and will continue until Governor Cooper signs an Executive Order rescinding emergency actions to prevent the spread of the illness.

The Act expands protections Governor Cooper provided in Executive Order No. 130, which offered immunity to all health care workers for the Covid-19 crisis and amends Chapter 90 of the North Carolina General Statutes, which outlines licensed healthcare professionals’ duties and obligations.

Health Care Facilities Under the Bill

The act loosely defines the health care facilities it covers.  Essentially, it covers any entity that offers any kind of health care during the Covid-19 crisis.  Such would include (but are not limited to):

  • Adult Care Homes
  • Maternity Homes
  • Foster Care Facilities
  • Hospitals
  • Substance Abuse Facilities

Health Care Workers Under the Bill

As well, the Act loosely defines the health care workers it covers.  Basically, it offers immunity to all who look after those who seek care at any health care facility during the Covid-19 crisis.   Such individuals include (but are not limited to):

  • Doctors
  • Nurses
  • Pharmacists
  • Aides
  • Health Care Facility Administrators
  • Health Care Facility Managers
  • Health Care Facility Officers
  • Volunteers

Protected Services

The Act covers any kind of service the health care worker offers at the health care facility.

Conditions for Immunity

The state, however, does not arbitrarily hand out this immunity.  Two elements must exist:  1) services must be provided in good faith (honestly and fairly); and, 2) a verified or presumed case of Covid-19 must impact the decision for services.

Exceptions to Immunity

Should a health care facility or health care worker cause injury due to reckless misconduct, negligence, or intentional infliction of harm, immunity will not apply.

If you have questions about treatment you or a loved one received during the Covid-19 crisis, book an appointment with us and we will figure out if there is an exception to immunity.  Email info@ballantynelegal.com or call us at 704-887-4981.