Oklahoma lawmakers Wednesday sent a bill protecting health care providers from lawsuits stemming from Covid-19 treatment to Gov. Kevin Stitt’s desk.
The Oklahoma Senate passed the measure (SB 300) on a vote of 43-4. The state House had passed it Monday, 95-2.
Sen. Julie Daniels (R), the bill’s author, said lawmakers wanted to provide “some limited immunity” to medical care providers and facilities treating patients with, or suspected of having, the disease caused by the highly infectious coronavirus.
“There are so many issues swirling around all at once in the care of these people in this emergency that we wanted to make sure that our providers were protected from any suit alleging an injury due to their care,” Daniels said in a phone interview.
If signed by the governor, medical providers would be given immunity from civil lawsuits “for any loss or harm to a person with a suspected or confirmed diagnosis” of Covid-19 “caused by an act or omission by the facility or provider” during the public health emergency, according to a bill summary by the senator.
Protection wouldn’t extend to cases of misconduct or gross negligence. The immunity would remain in place through the end of October or until the governor concludes his emergency declaration.
“I hope very much that this emergency is so short-lived that this issue of liability will not be as important a consideration as we in the Legislature think it is today,” Daniels said.