Ducey extends lawsuit protection for Arizona COVID health care workers

Dec 31, 2020, 4:00 PM

Medical staff members transport a patient into the COVID-19 intensive care unit (ICU) at the United...

Medical staff members transport a patient into the COVID-19 intensive care unit (ICU) at the United Memorial Medical Center on December 29, 2020, in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Go Nakamura/Getty Images)

(Photo by Go Nakamura/Getty Images)

PHOENIX – Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey on Thursday extended an executive order that prevents health care professionals from being sued over their work on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic in most cases.

The “Good Samaritan” order protects health care workers and facilities from civil liability in their treatment of COVID-19 patients if they “acted in good faith.”

The order was issued April 9 and had previously been renewed on June 25 through the end of 2020. The latest extension runs through March 31.

“The extension of the ‘Good Samaritan’ order will help maintain staffing levels in our hospitals and ensure our medical professionals are protected when acting in good faith in emergency situations,” Ducey said in a press release.

The order doesn’t apply in cases of gross negligence and reckless or willful misconduct. For example, a health care worker who was drunk or under the influence of an intoxicating drug would not be protected against lawsuits.

The move came one day after Ducey announced three actions related to the coronavirus pandemic more patients were being hospitalized for COVID-19 on than ever before.

First, Ducey revealed that Arizona’s three public universities are receiving $115 million for their ongoing pandemic efforts. The money is coming from the coronavirus relief fund as part of the federal CARES Act.

Then he deferred renewals for standard driver licenses that expire between March 1, 2020, and Feb. 28, 2021, by one year. That extended a September order that originally covered expiration dates through Thursday.

Finally, he issued an order aimed at speeding up distribution of the coronavirus vaccine.

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Ducey extends lawsuit protection for Arizona COVID health care workers