This week, members of the House Civil Justice & Property Rights Subcommittee passed HB 7 relating to COVID 19 civil liability by a vote of 11-6. The provisions of HB 7 were heavily debated by the committee, and all amendments filed to the bill failed. A priority of House Leadership, the bill is widely supported by the business community.
Under the measure, all COVID-19 claims must be accompanied with an affidavit signed by a physician - confirming the physician's belief that the plaintiff's COVID-19-related injury occurred because of the defendant's conduct.
The legislation does not include health care providers or entities. A separate committee bill, sponsored by the House Health and Human Services Committee, offering health care providers protection from lawsuits, is anticipated soon. On Thursday, the Committee held a workshop on the subject. Health care groups testified on behalf of extending protections to providers and hospitals who stepped-up and ran toward the danger to help individuals suffering from COVID-19.
State Surgeon General Scott Rivkees testified before the Senate Health Policy Committee concerning the State’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts. Committee members cited a number of concerns with the current process ranging from technical registration issues to prioritizing teachers for vaccinations.
According to Dr. Rivekees, the State plan prioritizes health care providers and individuals over the age of sixty-five, a demographic representing four million Floridians. He went on to say the state is only receiving eight-hundred-thousand vaccines a month, and it’s going to take time. Seniors are going to have to be patient. “We are in a supply-limited situation and hopefully as more vaccines become available and other manufacturers get approval; we can move beyond this group.”
Dr. Rivekees also announced the state was piloting a new statewide vaccine registration system. The Department hopes to have it available for registrations soon.