90-21.16. Volunteer health care professionals; liability limitation.

(a) This section applies as follows:

(1) Any volunteer medical or health care provider at a facility of a local health department or at a nonprofit community health center,

(2) Any volunteer medical or health care provider rendering services to a patient referred by a local health department as defined in G.S. 130A-2(5), nonprofit community health center, or nonprofit community health referral service at the provider's place of employment,

(3) Any volunteer medical or health care provider serving as medical director of an emergency medical services (EMS) agency, or

(4) Repealed by Session Laws 2011-355, s. 7, effective June 27, 2011.

(5) Any volunteer medical or health care provider licensed or certified in this State who provides services within the scope of the provider's license or certification at a free clinic facility, who receives no compensation for medical services or other related services rendered at the facility, center, agency, or clinic, or who neither charges nor receives a fee for medical services rendered to the patient referred by a local health department, nonprofit community health center, or nonprofit community health referral service at the provider's place of employment shall not be liable for damages for injuries or death alleged to have occurred by reason of an act or omission in the rendering of the services unless it is established that the injuries or death were caused by gross negligence, wanton conduct, or intentional wrongdoing on the part of the person rendering the services. The free clinic, local health department facility, nonprofit community health center, nonprofit community health referral service, or agency shall use due care in the selection of volunteer medical or health care providers, and this subsection shall not excuse the free clinic, health department facility, community health center, or agency for the failure of the volunteer medical or health care provider to use ordinary care in the provision of medical services to its patients.

(b) Nothing in this section shall be deemed or construed to relieve any person from liability for damages for injury or death caused by an act or omission on the part of such person while rendering health care services in the normal and ordinary course of his or her business or profession. Services provided by a medical or health care provider who receives no compensation for his or her services and who voluntarily renders such services at the provider's place of employment, facilities of free clinics, local health departments as defined in G.S. 130A-2, nonprofit community health centers, or as a volunteer medical director of an emergency medical services (EMS) agency, are deemed not to be in the normal and ordinary course of the volunteer medical or health care provider's business or profession.

(c) As used in this section, a "free clinic" is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization organized for the purpose of providing health care services without charge or for a minimum fee to cover administrative costs.

(c1) For a volunteer medical or health care provider who provides services at a free clinic to receive the protection from liability provided in this section, the free clinic shall provide the following notice to the patient, or person authorized to give consent for treatment, for the patient's retention prior to the delivery of health care services:

"NOTICE

Under North Carolina law, a volunteer medical or health care provider shall not be liable for damages for injuries or death alleged to have occurred by reason of an act or omission in the medical or health care provider's voluntary provision of health care services unless it is established that the injuries or death were caused by gross negligence, wanton conduct, or intentional wrongdoing on the part of the volunteer medical or health care provider."

(d) A nonprofit community health referral service that refers low-income patients to medical or health care providers for free services is not liable for the acts or omissions of the medical or health care providers in rendering service to that patient if the nonprofit community health referral service maintains liability insurance covering the acts and omissions of the nonprofit health referral service and any liability pursuant to subsection (a) of this section.

(e) As used in this section, a "nonprofit community health referral service" is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization organized to provide for no charge the referral of low-income, uninsured patients to volunteer health care providers who provide health care services without charge to patients. (1991, c. 655, s. 1,; 1993, c. 439, s. 1; 1995, c. 85, s. 1; 2000-5, s. 4; 2001-230, ss. 1(a), 1(b); 2009-435, s. 1; 2011-355, s. 7; 2013-49, s. 1.)