Henson Fuerst is proud to share that Henson Fuerst Partner Carma Henson has written an article that has been published in North Carolina Lawyers Weekly, a leading newspaper for North Carolina lawyers, judges, and legal professionals.
North Carolina Lawyers Weekly, which began publication in 1988, covers legal news, daily court opinions, verdicts and settlements, and other resources for the North Carolina legal community.
In the article, Commentary: Language in COVID-19 relief bill strips patients of protections, Henson discusses the impact that the language in Senate Bill 704, signed by the governor on May 4, will have on North Carolinians who suffer harm while seeking health care during this time.
The article discusses the bill’s included immunity clause, which protects not only those on the front lines providing health care, but also those who own health care businesses and make decisions in the boardroom directly impacting patients.
This allows businesses to potentially relax their standards of care and act in their own best interests, including their bottom-lines, rather than in the best interests of their patients.
Although the bill states that acts of gross negligence, reckless misconduct, or intentional infliction of harm are not included within the immunity clause, the article also discusses that any of these types of conduct are still immune if they occur as a result of a staffing shortage.
Henson shares how this potentially takes away any incentives for nursing home facilities to pay more employees to work, which may result in inadequate care and long-lasting consequences for residents.
Inadequate staffing of nursing homes was a major issue even prior to the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Despite understanding that sufficient staffing is one of the most important factors in ensuring good care, nursing homes still chose to understaff their facilities.
Prior to COVID-19, the intentional decision to inadequately staff a nursing home facility could certainly have been considered gross negligence, reckless misconduct, or intentional infliction of harm.
But with the signing of Senate Bill 704, our vulnerable, elderly nursing home residents are no longer protected from this irresponsible decision to lack the necessary staff. In fact, these individuals are protected even less.
Henson Fuerst is honored to have Carma Henson, who has spent her career fighting for the rights of others (including our elderly), recognized by such a long-respected publication and encourages everyone to read the article to learn more.