Partner Jack Lord was quoted in the Daily Business Review article, “Lawyers Navigating ‘Gray Line’ Between ‘Essential’ and ‘Nonessential’ Health Care Workers,” about the difficulty many health care facilities are having differentiating the services that hybrid employees are allowed to provide in order to best protect themselves from liability if the worker becomes infected with coronavirus.
The issue has surfaced in light of a recent Florida executive order prohibiting hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers, dentists and other health care providers from providing medically unnecessary or non-urgent procedures. Lord noted that so long as their employees are deemed providers of essential services, hospitals and businesses are unlikely to be exposed to litigation claims from the coronavirus outside of workers’ compensation claims.
Similarly, Lord does not think a health care worker who does not have an adequate supply of personal protective equipment and contracts the new virus would have grounds to assert a legal claim against his or her employer, other than through the workers’ compensation system. Lord notes, while masks and helpful, they are not “fail-safe.”
”We all go to work. We might get the flu; we might get even pneumonia. Is that normally a workers’ comp claim?” Lord said. “Not normally. So, probably the worst-case scenario is a workers’ comp claim.”
Lord is the co-chair of Foley’s Labor & Employment Practice.