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COVID-19 liability protections will remain in place for long-term care facilities in Florida for at least another year. 

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Thursday signed SB 7014, which extends the duration of liability protections from COVID-19 against nursing homes and other healthcare providers, through June 1, 2021. The measure cleared the full legislature earlier this month. 

“COVID-19 continues to present challenges for long-term care providers. Even with countless preventative measures in place, the virus can find its way into even the highest quality facilities,” said Steve Bahmer, LeadingAge Florida president and CEO, in a statement Friday. 

“While the terribly sad toll of the virus is clear, long-term care providers have to be able to deliver quality care without threats of opportunistic lawsuits that will only drain resources and distract from their ongoing, lifesaving work,” he added. 

Somes states, like New York, have already begun peeling back liability protections. Others, such as Florida and Indiana, have pushed to keep them in place for providers. 

The Florida Health Care Association previously estimated that since the original liability protections were passed last year, there were about 15 nursing home claims and at least four assisted living claims as of November.

“This legislation preserves avenues for holding bad actors accountable, while preventing frivolous lawsuits that do nothing to enhance long-term care quality or accountability,” Bahmer said.