It is patently clear that Covid is having a substantial impact on the Health Care Industry, not only for
its impact on the daily lives of doctors and nurses, but for its present and future impact on laws
related to health care employment.
We previously wrote a blog concerning responses that physicians should consider when employers
demand modification of their employment contracts because of decreased practice incomes as a result
of the pandemic. In this blog, we discuss the broader landscape of Covid’s impact on doctors and
You can anticipate that Federal and State legislatures will soon create laws that limit rights that
health care employees have as a result of their employment with health care systems. These new laws
will prevent physicians and nurses from making claims against their employers for termination of
employment, hazard pay, claims of employer contract breach, claims of employer negligence and
In addition, it is likely that both patients and their families will file negligence claims against health care
providers. Defending against claims will become a problem because it is likely that insurance
companies will in bad faith claim that the policies do not provide for events that are considered acts
of God, which some are already claiming.
After the pandemic subsides, physicians and nurses will have claims for post-traumatic stress and
other forms of chronic illness as a result of the pandemic. Some of these claims will be based upon
absenteeism and inability to work as a result of illness contracted in the workplace and their forced
labor during the pandemic. Some will seek payment for disability and/or unpaid overtime benefits.
Some will claim that the system was negligent in not providing them with a safe environment and or
protective equipment. Some will claim that they have been wrongfully terminated. Estates of some
workers will have claims for wrongful death.
Health Care Systems are now praising their employees for their dedication and sacrifice. That will
change when the pandemic is controlled. Systems are notoriously stingy when it comes to paying
employee claims and/or damages based upon negligence.
Health care attorneys are preparing for this onslaught of claims against health care systems and health
care providers. They are ready to assist physicians, nurses, and other health care employees pursue
their legitimate claims.
Probably the pandemic will ebb in 2021, but you should contact a health care attorney as soon as
possible if you already believe that you have or will have any of the claims briefly described above.
It is also important for you to work with your various associations in resisting the lobbying activities
of health care systems. The systems want the Federal and State governments to block any litigation
by doctors and nurses to recover damages that they have incurred during the pandemic.