Image of nurses' hands at computer keyboard

A legal expert urged providers to document everything related to their responses to the coronavirus pandemic. It’s a move that could help providers defend themselves in any potential lawsuit stemming from their actions, she said. 

“Documentation is critical,” said Christy Tosh Crider, chair of Baker Donelson’s Health Care Litigation Group and the Women’s Initiative. “Document, document, document your efforts.”

She issued the warning during an April webinar hosted by the Society for Healthcare Organization Purchasing Professionals (SHOPP). 

Many providers may be subject to lawsuits in coming months due to unfortunate patient outcomes from the new coronavirus, she warned. She added that procurement officers may become “critical witnesses” in such litigation. The first known lawsuit against the site of the first known U.S. outbreak, a nursing home in Kirkland, WA, recently was filed. 

Tosh Crider said the focus of future lawsuits against nursing homes may involve staff members who have tested positive for the disease returning to work; struggles to get personal protective equipment; and staff training on how to effectively use PPE. 

“What’s unfortunate is that you’re going to be judged against a standard six months from now that is not the standard today and wasn’t the standard yesterday, or last week,” she said.