Liability: Medical Practitioner and Dental Hygienist
A medical practitioner or a dental hygienist, who, voluntarily and without compensation, provides care to an uninsured patient at no cost will not be held legally responsible for acting or failing to act. They can be held legally responsible if acting with extreme carelessness, intent to cause harm, or maintain malpractice insurance covering such services.
Limits on liability of medical practitioner or dental hygienist who provides services without compensation
(1) A medical practitioner, as defined in 37-2-101, or a dental hygienist licensed under Title 37, chapter 4, who renders, at any site, any health care within the scope of the provider’s license, voluntarily and without compensation, to a patient of a clinic, to a patient referred by a clinic, or in a community-based program to provide access to health care services for uninsured persons is not liable to a person for civil damages resulting from the rendering of the care unless the damages were the result of gross negligence or willful or wanton acts or omissions by the medical practitioner or dental hygienist. Each patient must be given notice that under state law the medical practitioner or dental hygienist cannot be held legally liable for ordinary negligence if the medical practitioner or dental hygienist does not have malpractice insurance. (2) For purposes of this section: (a) “clinic” means a place for the provision of health care to patients that is organized for the delivery of health care without compensation or that is operated as a health center under 42 U.S.C. 254b; (b) “community-based program to provide access to health care services for uninsured persons” means a local program in which care is provided without compensation to individuals who have been referred through that community-based program and in which the medical practitioner or dental hygienist has entered into a written agreement to provide the service; (c) “health care” has the meaning provided in 50-16-504; (d) “without compensation” means that the medical practitioner or dental hygienist voluntarily rendered health care without receiving any reimbursement or compensation, except for reimbursement for supplies. (3) Subsection (1) applies only to a medical practitioner or dental hygienist who: (a) does not have malpractice insurance coverage because the medical practitioner or dental hygienist is retired or is otherwise not engaged in active practice; or (b) has malpractice insurance coverage that has a rider or exclusion that excludes coverage for services provided under this section.