Senate passes MacDonald health care worker immunity bill

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate on Thursday approved legislation sponsored by Sen. Michael D. MacDonald to legally protect health care workers during a state of emergency or disaster.

“Front-line health care workers in Macomb and across our state have risked their lives and made huge sacrifices to help provide critical care during the COVID-19 public health crisis,” said MacDonald, R-Macomb Township. “In the face of a global fight against a virus with no known cure, our medical professionals have made incredibly difficult decisions and used innovative approaches to save lives. They should not have to worry about possible lawsuits as they decide how best to treat a patient.”

Senate Bill 899 would amend the Emergency Management Act to clarify provisions that provide health care professionals and facilities with immunity from civil or criminal liability during a declared state of disaster or declared state of emergency. The immunity granted would not apply in the event of an act or omission that is willful or intentional misconduct or constitutes gross negligence.

Under the bill, immunity granted to health care professionals and facilities for the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic are to remain in effect through the duration of the COVID-19 state of emergency or state of disaster or Sept. 30, whichever is later.

“If enacted into law, this legislation would ensure that Michigan health care workers have the necessary legal protections to enable them to focus their time and energy on providing the best care possible for patients battling the coronavirus,” MacDonald said.

SB 899 now heads to the Michigan House of Representatives for consideration.