Whitmer vetoes bill that would grant legal immunity to health care providers

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Dr. Joneigh Khaldun give an update on COVID-19 | Gov. Whitmer office photo

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer vetoed a bill Monday that would have protected health care providers from lawsuits if a patient receiving treatment at a hospital or residents in nursing homes were injured during a state of emergency.

Senate Bill 899, sponsored by Sen. Mike MacDonald, (R-Macomb Twp.), would have made it so healthcare providers and facilities would not be held liable for the injury or death of a patient during a state of emergency unless it was criminal misconduct or intentional. 

Whitmer said the bill is “an overbroad attempt to fix a problem created by the Republican-led legislature” and would “endanger patients and workers unnecessarily.” 

“Republicans in the legislature refuse to acknowledge that Michigan, along with all fifty state and the federal government, are in a state of emergency and continue to try to block our efforts to address the pandemic,” Whitmer said in a statement. “I previously extended special liability protections for certain health care providers during the first peak of COVID-19 to ensure that hospitals did not become overwhelmed, preserving their ability to provide care.” 

The bill was passed through the Legislature largely along party lines.

Allison Donahue
Allison Donahue covers education, women's issues and LGBTQ issues. Previously, she was a suburbs reporter at the St. Cloud Times in St. Cloud, Minn., covering local education and government. As a graduate of Grand Valley State University, she has previous experience as a freelance researcher for USA Today and an intern with WOOD TV-8. When she is away from her desk, she spends her time going to concerts, comedy shows or getting lost on hikes in different places around the world.