Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response • Have you downloaded COVIDWISE, Virginia's COVID-19 exposure notification app? Add your phone to the fight here. For up-to-date information, assistance, and resources from across state government, click here.
NUMBER SIXTY (2020)
CLARIFICATION OF CERTAIN IMMUNITY FROM LIABILITY FOR HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS IN RESPONSE TO NOVEL CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)
Importance of the Issue
The Commonwealth of Virginia continues to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The number of confirmed cases, hospitalizations, and persons under investigation in Virginia has increased substantially. As testing increases, it is highly likely that these numbers will continue to rise. Hospitals and nursing homes across the Commonwealth are reporting large numbers of patients presenting with COVID-19 symptoms, which is putting significant stress on these facilities, as they were already dealing with a more severe seasonal influenza than usual. Healthcare providers are experiencing critical shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other supplies. In some cases, they are being required to reuse PPE where possible and appropriate. Healthcare providers are not able to quickly resupply these critical resources due to severe supply chain disruptions as a result of increased equipment use in the worldwide COVID-19 response. In addition, staffing levels at hospitals are often strained by the inability to transfer patients with COVID-19 to other sites of care such as assisted living facilities, hospice facilities, and nursing homes because of the need to contain the spread of the virus. All of these difficulties are created by the effects of COVID-19 and present less than optimal conditions to deliver the healthcare indicated by conventional standards of care.
Response to the COVID-19 disaster will require both public and private healthcare providers and other persons to deliver care using personnel, supplies, and equipment in ways that would not be undertaken in conventional practices. Examples could include the need to use a single ventilator for multiple patients at the same time, reuse of PPE, and withholding healthcare services in certain situations. It is in the public interest to afford healthcare providers involved in the delivery of healthcare impacted by COVID-19 with adequate protection against liability for good faith actions or omissions taken in their efforts to combat this health emergency.
Sections 8.01-225.01 and 8.01-225.02 of the Code of Virginia provide certain liability protection to healthcare providers during a state of emergency.
Section 8.01-225.01 provides in relevant part:
Section 8.01-225.02 in relevant part provides:
It is apparent that in enacting these provisions, the General Assembly intended to afford healthcare providers immunity from certain liability in exactly the circumstances presented by the COVID-19 health crisis. And so, is it imperative that it is clear that the liability protections in these provisions are meant to protect healthcare providers providing healthcare in response to the COVID-19 health emergency.
Therefore, by virtue of the authority vested in me by Article V, Section 7 of the Constitution of Virginia, by § 44-146.17 of the Code of Virginia and in furtherance of Executive Order No. 51, I clarify the following with respect to my executive actions and §§ 8.01-225.01 and 8.01-225.02 of the Code of Virginia:
Effective Date of this Executive Order
This Executive Order shall be effective until the expiration of Executive Order 51 unless sooner amended or rescinded.
Given under my hand and under the Seal of the Commonwealth of Virginia, this 28th day of April, 2020.