House of Representatives

Emergency Bill Passed to Protect Healthcare Providers during Pandemic


5/4/2020 2:32:00 PM

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma House of Representatives today passed Senate Bill 300, creating the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Limited Liability Act. The measure, authored by House Majority Whip Terry O’Donnell, R-Catoosa, and State Sen. Julie Daniels, R-Bartlesville, is meant to protect healthcare providers from civil liability during our state’s public health crisis that is not the result of gross negligence or willful or wanton misconduct.

"I want to thank our healthcare providers for their extraordinary service and tremendous dedication throughout this pandemic," O’Donnell said. "This measure protects them and the facilities for which they work from frivolous lawsuits. Now, more than ever, as they work to provide care to those suffering, they themselves don’t need to be facing the threat of such actions."

O’Donnell said Oklahoma’s dedicated healthcare professionals are working long hours and doing everything within their power to treat people who are sick or near death during this pandemic. Stress factors already are leading to additional mental health challenges for those providers, he said.

"Yet, litigants already are looking for anything to sue over related to the pandemic," O’Donnell said. "We need to protect our healthcare workers, just as they have been protecting us. We don’t need frivolous lawsuits to add to what already is a stressful time."

This act will only apply to those being treated for COVID-19 and not other patients. The act will only apply to any civil action filed on or after the effective date of this act and will end Oct. 31, 2020, or until the governor concludes any emergency declarations, whichever comes later.

O’Donnell said SB300 is important to health care in our state.