For Immediate Release
May 6, 2020
HARRISBURG - PA Chamber of Business and Industry President and CEO Gene Barr issued the following statement regarding the need for liability protections for employers and the healthcare industry in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic:
“The COVID-19 pandemic has created an all-hands on deck effort throughout the Commonwealth. Indeed, those who are on the front lines of battling this virus, businesses working to make personal protective equipment, and those who are doing their best to ensure that our critical supply chains continue shouldn’t just be thanked for their efforts – they should be protected from unscrupulous lawsuits as well.
“Unfortunately, Governor Wolf’s announcement today regarding liability protections for some healthcare workers doesn’t go nearly far enough. These protections must be extended to the entire medical community – including hospitals and health systems – who continue to make great economic sacrifices as they work to slow the spread of the virus and treat patients. In preparing for a potential patient surge, they put a hold on elective procedures in order to ensure that resources could be dedicated toward battling the virus.
“In addition, businesses across the state have also made bold changes in order to help combat COVID-19, including closing their physical locations and re-working their operations to comply with social distancing orders and shifting their production lines to provide the medical community with the personal protective equipment they desperately need right now. If they continue to proceed in these efforts without liability protections in place, hospitals and businesses could face mountains of lawsuits – which would further stall our recovery efforts, and lead to closures and shutdowns. It’s important to note, this would not be blanket immunity, but protection that is targeted, narrow and temporary.
“This is not a partisan issue, and it is one that has broad public support. In fact, a new poll by the Institute for Legal Reform found that a vast majority of Americans support putting such liability protections in place. Over the past several weeks, the federal government has approved huge sums of funding to help provide greater assistance during this crisis. But, the focus must now be on putting Pennsylvania’s economy back on track. In order to really move the economy forward, the state needs to pass targeted liability protections for Pennsylvania employers and the healthcare industry.”
The Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry is the state's largest broad-based business association, with its statewide membership comprising businesses of all sizes and across all industry sectors. The PA Chamber is The Statewide Voice of BusinessTM.