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Virginia Lawyer magazine is the official publication of the Virginia State Bar, and for the month of February, the magazine devoted its pages to covering important health law issues. An article from our founding attorney, Beth A. Norton, which focuses on liability for COVID-19 deaths occurring at long-term care facilities, was featured in the magazine’s February issue.
In the article, attorney Norton discusses the high COVID-19 death-rate among residents at long-term care (LTC) facilities. Although residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities make up only 1% of the U.S. population, LTC facilities account for roughly 40% of COVID-19 deaths in the country. According to the CDC, the communal nature of LTC facilities combined with the aging population they serve leaves people in nursing homes at increased risk of contracting COVID-19.
As a result, there have been massive outbreaks of the deadly virus in LTC facilities across the nation. The article breaks down the grim death toll from outbreaks at facilities in Kansas, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Virginia. Attorney Norton also discusses the current lawsuits and criminal charges that these facilities are facing, as well as the fines that have been issued for various violations of state and federal nursing home laws.
Attorney Norton explains that while Senate Republicans proposed a failed bill that would have provided immunity for LTC facilities, other states, such as Virginia, have adopted their own laws acknowledging that healthcare providers and nursing home were presented with less than optimal conditions to deliver the type of healthcare indicated by conventional standards of care due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, Attorney Norton notes that whether these new laws will provide LTC facilities with immunity from negligence claims for non-COVID related care provided during a declared state of emergency is still unclear. Although there aren’t any current COVID lawsuits against LTC facilities in Virginia, cases filed over negligence and willful conduct that have been filed in other states might provide valuable insight into some of the various acts and omissions that meet Virginia’s applicable standards.
To learn more about the pressing legal questions regarding whether LTC facilities can be held liable for both COVID and non-COVID related deaths, please click here: https://virginialawyer.vsb.org/publication/?m=53176&i=690953&p=14&ver=html5
Have you lost a loved one who passed away from or contracted COVID-19 due to conditions at an LTC facility? If so, please reach out to Norton Health Law, P.C. to discuss all of your legal options with a compassionate consumer healthcare lawyer.
Call (434) 978-3100 today to request a free case consultation with our dedicated legal team in Charlottesville.