Nursing homes in Michigan protected from COVID-19 lawsuits 

By now, we know that the elderly are most at risk of the direst COVID-19 symptoms and it can wreak havoc in nursing homes. But even if the nursing homes don't provide masks and follow social distancing, they are immune from being sued for negligence.

Michigan is one of six states in the U.S. where nursing homes cannot be sued for negligence. That means if the nursing homes don't provide masks, follow social distancing, or simply being too lazy to take care of your loved ones, they're immune from lawsuits.

It was all part of Governor Gretchen Whitmer's executive order 2020-30, which game temporary relief from certain restrictions and requirements. The order does allow nursing homes to be sued if they've committed what's known as "gross negligence." However, gross negligence is a very high standard that, many lawyers would say, nearly amounts to an intentional act.

Attorney Donna MacKenzie wants to change that and hold nursing homes accountable to our most vulnerable population.

"When you start to pull back on accountability you're risking the safety and the health and welfare of not only the residents but the workers," she said. "You've got nursing homes around the state that have 20 plus residents who have the disease and family members have no idea their loved one is even one of those people. So, it's a problem."

The president of the Michigan Healthcare Association, which advocates for nursing homes said this

"The COVID-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented public health emergency. There is concern about the potential liability of health care providers, including long term care facilities, who are responding to the pandemic and providing high-quality patient care while following updated guidance that has been issued by federal agencies such as CDC and CMS."

MacKenzie said the immunity clause is a problem.

"All immunity is doing is telling them if you don't comply with the CDC guidelines or you don't comply with the CMS guidelines, it's okay," she said.