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State Senate committee eyes extending COVID legal protections for health providers

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Hush Naidoo
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A law that provides protections for providers from lawsuits related to issues such as transmission of COVID and treatment of people with COVID is scheduled to expire March 29,

The state Senate Judiciary Committee next week will consider a proposal that would extend COVID-19 legal protections for health care providers.

The committee is scheduled to take up the measure (SPB 7014) during a Nov. 30 meeting.

Lawmakers during the 2021 legislative session passed a bill (SB 72) that provided protections to health care providers and other businesses from lawsuits related to issues such as transmission of COVID-19 and treatment of people with COVID-19.

The law is scheduled to expire March 29, one year after it took effect.

The new Senate bill focuses on health care providers and would extend legal protections for them to June 1, 2023.

The legal protections, for example, include a higher standard of proof for plaintiffs in COVID-19 cases against health-care providers. In such cases, plaintiffs have to prove “by the greater weight of the evidence that the health care provider was grossly negligent or engaged in intentional misconduct.”

The bill that would extend the protections is filed for the 2022 legislative session, which will start in January.