On April 6, Governor Cuomo signed into law Chapter 96 of the Laws of 2021, which completely repeals the health care facility and provider COVID-19 immunity from liability provisions adopted in April 2020 as part of the Emergency or Disaster Treatment Protection Act (Public Health Law §§ 3080-82). As a result, health care facilities, their leadership, and health care professionals in general no longer are protected from civil or criminal liability when their “treatment of the individual is impacted by a health care facility’s or health care professional’s decisions or activities in response to or as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. . . .”
Without this statutory protection, health care providers and leaders need to be extra cautious with regard to the impact COVID-19 may have on their provision of services. They face significant civil, and potentially criminal, liability if they fail to properly take COVID-19 issues into account when providing services. This is particularly true given the enforcement and regulatory climate currently in New York state.