Indiana law provides some protections for those who furnish health care in response to a disaster emergency declared by the governor, as Governor Eric Holcomb did to address the current COVID-19 pandemic. As news reports have made clear, our medical personnel and facilities have been faced with treating unanticipated numbers of patients for a new virus without the benefit of research or experience. Under Indiana statutes, a person who has a license to provide health care under Indiana law or the law of another state and who provides care within the scope of the license at a location where such services are provided during an event which is declared a disaster cannot be held civilly liable. The grant of immunity applies regardless of whether the services occurred before or after the declaration of a disaster emergency. Indiana legislators also foresaw the potential need for assistance from licensed providers from other states and granted them immunity as well. While Indiana affords reasonable protections during an emergency, a health care provider is not immune from civil liability for damages resulting from gross negligence or willful misconduct.
Under the Indiana Code, a “facility or other location” providing such health care services also has immunity. The reference to a “location” extends immunity to non-facility locations, such as testing tent sites or temporary hospitals erected in sporting arenas or other spaces, which are set up in response to an emergency situation.
This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute legal advice.