Earlier this year, Wyoming enacted a statute entitled “Volunteer Health Services Program” (“Act”) which provides health care providers with immunity from personal liability for medical malpractice claims from low income patients if the health care providers delivered the health care services to low income persons in consideration for being deemed a public employee or medical facility under the Wyoming Governmental Claims Act when performing duties within the scope of a contract under the Act.
The Act defines “volunteer health care” to be services intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent impairments of the normal state of the mind and body when the provider of those services does not charge or receive compensation for the services from, or on behalf of, the patient.
The Act defines “low income person” as a person with an income not greater than two hundred percent (200%) of the current poverty line as specified by the poverty guidelines updated periodically in the Federal Register by the United States Department of Health and Human Services under the authority of 42 U.S.C. 9902(2) and:
(A) The person is not a covered individual under a health insurance or health care policy, contract or plan; or
(B) The person is a covered individual under a health insurance or health care policy, contract or plan, but was denied coverage by the policy, contract or plan.
Before a low income person receives volunteer health care services pursuant to the Act, he or his legal representative must sign a disclosure statement. The low income person may elect to decline treatment under the provisions of the Act.
The Act provides that the exclusive remedy for any injury or damage suffered as the result of any negligence of the health care provider or the medical facility, while acting within the scope of a contract under the Act, is an action against the state of Wyoming brought under the Wyoming Governmental Claims Act, and that neither the patient nor any person claiming by or through the patient has any claim whatsoever against the health care provider or medical facility on account of health care provided to such patient within the scope of a contract under the Act.
Source W.S. 35-31-101 through 35-31-103.
Wyoming Governmental Claims Act
The Wyoming Government Claims Act limits the liability of a health care provider who is a governmental entity to not more than one million dollars to any claimant for any number of claims arising out of a single transaction or occurrence or one million dollars for all claims of all claimants arising out of a single transaction or occurrence. The state of Wyoming has the duty to defend a health care provider alleged to have been negligent in the provision of volunteer health care pursuant to a contract provided the health care provider cooperates as described in W.S. 1-41-103(e)(iv).
If you or a loved one were injured due to medical negligence in Wyoming in another U.S. state, you should find a Wyoming medical malpractice lawyer, or a medical malpractice lawyer in your state, who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you or your loved one in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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