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Bill to limit liability protections for nursing homes, hospitals treating COVID-19 patients heads to Cuomo’s desk

Both the New York State Senate and Assembly voted late-thursday to partly repeal legislation that previously shielded nursing homes, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities from lawsuits during the Coronavirus Pandemic.

A law was added to the state budget in April, shortly after the pandemic began, giving nursing homes, hospitals, and similar healthcare facilities liability protections while treating those with the Novel Coronavirus, or COVID-19.

“We could never possibly repay our heroic health care workers for all of their selfless service during this health crisis.,” Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said, “this legislation ensures that New Yorkers have access to legal recourse against bad actors, while acknowledging the unimaginable sacrifices of our health care workers.”

The updated proposal narrows the legal immunity provisions, but doesn’t go as far as some hoped it would.

Senator Jim Tedisco offered an amendment to the bill on the floor to create a state panel with subpoena power to investigate the thousands of nursing home deaths since the pandemic began.

“If you’re loosening [protections] up, providing liability at some level, you should be finding out exactly what took place with the loss of all those lives,” Senator Tedisco said.

When the legislation reaches Governor Andrew Cuomo, he’ll have 10 days to sign or veto it.