October 26, 2020

Volume X, Number 300

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October 23, 2020

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Publications Ohio House Passes Bill to Protect Health Care Providers from Civil Liability and Professional Disciplinary Actions

The Ohio House of Representatives has voted overwhelmingly in favor of House Bill 606, known as the “Good Samaritan Expansion Bill.” The bill grants temporary immunity from civil liability and professional disciplinary actions to a wide range of health care providers for injury, death, or damages arising from health care services rendered in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The immunity will also protect health care facilities, such as hospitals and other settings where health care services are provided. If enacted into law, the immunity provisions will retroactively be made effective as of March 9, 2020, the date of Governor Mike DeWine’s order declaring a state of emergency in Ohio due to the threat of COVID-19, and will extend to December 31, 2020. 

The immunity is limited insofar as it does not apply to actions that constitute reckless disregard, willful misconduct, or gross negligence, nor will it immunize health care providers practicing outside the scope of their skills, education, and training unless such actions are undertaken in good faith and in response to a lack of resources caused by the COVID-19 emergency. The bill defines “reckless disregard” as “conduct by which, with heedless indifference to the consequences, the health care provider disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the health care provider’s conduct is likely to cause, at the time health care or emergency services were rendered, an unreasonable risk of injury, death, or loss to person or property.” Despite these limitations, the bill affords expansive protection to providers and facilities acting in good faith to treat patients in response to this pandemic.  

Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, health care providers and facilities have suffered from a lack of scientific data and a constantly changing landscape of guidance from organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In passing this bill, the Ohio House of Representatives has acknowledged the precarious nature of providing health care services in the midst of a pandemic and the risks inherent in making health care decisions based on sparse information. Granting immunity to health care providers and facilities will provide much-needed stability by better enabling such providers and facilities to take action to treat patients and address the pandemic.

The Good Samaritan Expansion Bill was introduced in the Ohio Senate on June 2, 2020. On June 3, 2020, the Ohio Senate passed a similar bill, Senate Bill 308, which would also provide immunity to health care providers from civil liability and professional disciplinary actions. It is unclear at this time how the two bills will be reconciled or what protections the final legislation will contain for health care providers. We will continue to provide updates on this legislation. Please contact your Dinsmore health care attorney with any questions regarding this bill.

© 2020 Dinsmore & Shohl LLP. All rights reserved.National Law Review, Volume X, Number 156
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About this Author

Eric J. Plinke, Dinsmore Law, Health Care Lawyer, Corporate Attorney
Partner

Eric Plinke is a Partner in the Corporate Department and Health Law Practice Group, and he routinely advises corporate and individual clients regarding a wide-range of health care industry legal issues. He has counseled clients in practice formation and acquisition, hospital and joint venture transactions, hospital and medical practice affiliations, contract review and preparation, compliance programs, HIPAA regulations, scope of practice issues, telemedicine and Stark law and Anti-kickback statutes, as well as significant experience counseling in ambulatory surgery centers and other joint...

614-227-4213
Daniel S. Zinsmaster, Dinsmore Law Firm, Health Care Lawyer
Partner

Dan provides trusted counsel and advocacy to health care clients on a variety of matters, such as corporate compliance, provider credentialing, administrative proceedings and litigation.  He also advises clients on practice formation and acquisition, as well as contract review and preparation.  In recent years, Dan has helped health care companies and providers navigate through fraud and abuse investigations, antitrust reviews, and other white collar criminal matters.  He is a frequent author and lecturer on telehealth and telemedicine issues.

Prior to joining Dinsmore, Dan practiced for nearly seven years with the State Medical Board of Ohio, where he advised board members and agency personnel on issues related to the Medical Practices Act of Ohio, Chapter 119 Administrative Procedures, and federal rules and regulations implicating the area of health care.  His substantial regulatory experience enables him to bring a unique and insightful perspective to handling diverse and complex health care matters, and his thorough understanding of health care laws and policies helps him serve as a valuable resource to corporations, health care associations, hospitals, medical practices and individual practitioners. 

In addition to his experience with federal and state health care regulatory agencies, Dan has successfully aided clients appearing before a number of other administrative or executive entities, including the Ohio Department of Commerce, Accountancy Board of Ohio, and the Ohio Board of Registration for Professional Engineers and Surveyors.  He previously served as an extern for the Legal Office of the Ohio governor, as well as the Business & Regulations Division of the Columbus city attorney’s office.

(614) 628-6949
Courtney White, Dinsmore Law Firm, Corporate Attorney
Associate

Courtney is a member of our Corporate Department where she focuses her practice on health care law.

While at the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, she was a managing editor on the Ohio State Law Journal. She also earned the Ernest Karam Book Award for academic achievement in Legal Analysis and Writing and was named a Public Service Fellow with Dean’s Special Recognition.

614-628-6952
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