Assemblyman Herb Conaway, chair of the Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee, reintroduced legislation granting civil immunity for certain volunteer physicians, nonprofit clinics, and federally qualified health centers.
A volunteer physician is defined in this bill, A-2178, as a physician who is retired but maintains licensed and is not receiving compensation for patient care.
New Jersey is projected to be short by nearly 3,000 physicians by the end of the decade. Medical specialties, including OB-GYNs, are expected to be among the hardest hit. By protecting volunteer physicians, nonprofit clinics, and federally qualified health centers – acting in good faith – from liability, A-2178 would remove a significant disincentive to practice in areas in which there is high demand for such services.
Assemblyman Conaway is also the sponsor of A-1806, which would accomplish similar objectives and reverse the 2010 New Jersey Supreme Court decision in Ryan v. Renny. The decision gutted the state’s affidavit of merit statute.