What liability protections exist for hospitals and other healthcare providers during a disaster?

Several statutes provide qualified immunity to persons rendering aid and healthcare facilities providing care during an emergency and address the need to provide liability protection to healthcare providers during an emergency. (Pages 110-114 of the California Department of Public Health Standards and Guidelines for Healthcare Surge During Emergencies Volume I: Hospitals is available for download below.

A summary of these statues is below.

California Civil Code Section 1714.5: Provides immunity from liability for disaster service workers as well as an owner or operator including a public agency that owns or maintains any building or premises which is used as a mass care center, first-aid station, temporary hospital annex or other necessary facility for mitigating the effects of an emergency.

California Health and Safety Code Section 1317: Provides immunity from liability for upon the health facility, the officers, members of the staff, nurses, or employees of the health facility who may be at risk for loss of life.

California Emergency Services Act, Government Code Section 8659: Any physician or surgeon (whether licensed in this state or any other state), hospital, pharmacist, nurse or dentist who renders services during a state of war emergency, a state of emergency or local emergency at the express or implied request of any responsible state or local official or agency shall have no liability for any injury sustained by any person by reason of such services, regardless of how or under what circumstances or by what cause such injuries are sustained; provided.

California Business and Professions Code Section 1627.5: Same as above for dentists.

California Business and Professions Code Section 2395; California Business and Professions Code Section 2727.5; California Business and Professions Code Section 2861.5; California Business and Professions Code Section 3503.5: No licensee (physician, registered nurse, licensed vocational nurse or physicians’ assistant) who in good faith renders emergency care at the scene of an emergency or during a medical disaster, shall be liable for any civil damages as a result of any acts or omissions by such person in rendering the emergency care.

Government Code Section 178, Article 5: This section addresses the liability of health professionals providing service outside the state by which they are licensed.