As the number of deaths continues to climb from the coronavirus pandemic, nursing homes across the nation are seeking immunity from lawsuits.
There are over 15,000 nursing homes in the United States, and nursing home residents have been hit extremely hard by the coronavirus, with deaths near 12,000 people.
Six states have provided immunity to nursing homes from lawsuits stemming from COVID-19, and six more have provided immunity to health care providers which could be interpreted to include nursing home personnel.
Patients and their families are concerned that providing immunity will shield nursing homes that have been accused of extreme neglect. In addition, it is argued that this allows nursing homes to dismiss patient needs and could lead to even further neglect.
The American Health Care Association, which represents more than 14,000 for-profit nursing homes, said in a statement, "Long-term care workers and centers are on the frontline of this pandemic response and it is critical that states provide the necessary liability protection staff and providers need to provide care during this difficult time without fear of reprisal."
It is anticipated that this issue will be the subject of much litigation in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, as plaintiff's lawyers attempt to hold negligent health care providers accountable for any injury or death arising from deviation from the accepted standards of care.