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S.C. medical and business associations support liability protection legislation

Staff Report //June 4, 2020//

S.C. medical and business associations support liability protection legislation

Staff Report //June 4, 2020//

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As AccelerateSC wrapped up its final report last week, the S.C. Manufacturers Alliance, S.C. Chamber of Commerce, S.C. Hospital Association, S.C. Medical Association and S.C. Retail Association commended the task force’s recommendation for COVID-19 liability legislation. 

“If policymakers are really serious about opening our economy back up and allowing South Carolinians to get back to work, they must pass liability reform that protects those following health and safety guidelines from frivolous lawsuits,”  Ted Pitts, president and CEO of the S.C. Chamber of Commerce, said in a news release. “This issue can’t wait, and we are thankful that the governor and the AccelerateSC Task Force agree.”

Pitts and Sara Hazzard, president and CEO of the S.C. Manufacturers Alliance,  served on AccelerateSC’s response team.

The recommendation, stated in the news release, is that “these protections are needed at the state and federal level to cover potential state and federal claims and should be temporary. The U.S. Congress is considering legislation to protect businesses from liability. Gov. (Henry) McMaster cannot limit liability by executive order, and it is incumbent on the General Assembly to take up this issue and consider appropriate legislation.”

AccelerateSC called for temporary and limited legislation, pertaining only to the spring’s COVID-19 pandemic and recovery. The response group argued that businesses that did not follow public health guidance would not be immune to related lawsuits.

Recommendations also include protections for health care providers ranging from hospitals to sole practitioners.

“As hospitals resume normal operations and reopen to the communities they serve to provide critical medical care, we must protect the health care community that is working 24/7 to follow the latest guidelines from the CDC, DHEC and other health authorities. We are grateful that AccelerateSC recognizes the need to assure that hospitals and clinicians have these protections,” Thornton Kirby, president of the S.C. Hospital Association, said in the release.