Not including hospitals in Senate Bill 4 could have a major impact on state hospitals

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — State lawmakers have yet to vote on Senate Bill 4, which is one of the most controversial proposals introduced during the special session. Senate Bill 4 will prevent people from suing businesses, non-profits, and government agencies if they contract COVID-19 in their establishment.

However, hospitals are not included in the legislation. Dr. Marc J. Kahn, the dean of medicine at UNLV School of Medicine, says this could have a major impact on hospitals.

“We’re concerned, but we have to see the way this plays out,” said Dr. Kahn.

Lawmakers are still in limbo over the liability legislation.

“Without relief of possible liability, as it stands, there’s going to be some limitation into the number of guests and visitors allowed in the hospital,” Kahn said.

According to Kahn, there’s a big potential problem with that. Patient transfers could be restricted, meaning people wouldn’t be able to leave the hospital to go to a rehab center, leading to capacity concerns amid COVID-19.

“If we can’t discharge patients, then we run the potential risk or not being able to get people out of the hospital, and we run into a potential situation where hospitals get overfilled,” said Dr. Kahn. “I think in the middle of a pandemic, anything that increases capacity or restricts the ability to discharge patients is going to be problematic.”

Kahn says he believes hospitals were excluded because they’re already covered by medical malpractice, but advocates say the two are not* connected.

“The hospitals are a business just like any other organization, and so they should be afforded the same kind of protections,” said Mary Beth Sewald
President & CEO, Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce.

The Nevada State Senate is expected to further discuss Senate Bill 4 Wednesday, and could also vote on it soon.

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