MacDonald ‘disappointed’ in veto of health care worker protection bill

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Michael D. MacDonald on Monday expressed his disappointment with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s veto of his legislation to legally protect health care workers during a state of emergency or disaster.

“I am greatly disappointed that the governor has decided to protect trial lawyers instead of the front-line health care workers who are making critical decisions each day to save lives from COVID-19,” said MacDonald, R-Macomb Township. “By vetoing this measure, the governor is just making it harder for medical professionals to do their job. As this global pandemic continues, our doctors and nurses should be able to focus on providing the best care possible for their patients without worrying about possible lawsuits.”

Senate Bill 899 would have clarified that health care professionals and facilities who render services during a disaster or emergency declaration are not considered liable for the death or injury sustained by a person by reason of those services.

The immunity granted would not have applied in the event of willful misconduct, gross negligence, willful or intentional criminal misconduct, or intentional infliction of harm.

Prior to final passage, a subsection was added to specifically address medical liability pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill’s immunity protections would have extended until Jan. 1, 2021 for a death or injury that results from an act or omission by a health care provider or health care facility under certain circumstances during the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.