HHS Invites Comments On Health Center Program Federal Tort Claims Policy Manual

July 1, 2010

The Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) Policy Manual (Manual) posted here that the Department of Health & Human Services intends to serve as the primary policy source for information on FTCA for Health Center Program grantees funded under section 330 (Section 330) of the Public Health Service (PHS) Act. August 6, 2010 is the deadline to share feedback on the Manual in response to an invitation from HHS published in the July 1, 2010 Federal Register. See here.  

The Manual is intended to consolidate, update and replace a variety of guidance previously issued by HHS about the FTCA Medical Malpractice program for participating Health Center Program grantees. HHS previously has issued numerous Program Information Notices (PINs) and Program Assistance Letters (PALs) related to the Health Center FTCA Medical Malpractice Program. HHS consolidated these PINs and PALs to create the Manual. HHS intends for the Manual to convey guidance about existing policy and current processes, and to serve as the principal policy resource on FTCA matters for Health Center Program grantees and related stakeholders. HHS going forward plans to update the Manual as it issues new policy and program guidance.

The Health Center Program supports more than 1,100 organizations operating almost 8,000 health care delivery sites, including community health centers, migrant health centers, health care for the homeless centers, and public housing primary care centers. Health centers serve medically underserved communities delivering preventive and primary care services to patients regardless of their ability to pay.

Health Center Program grantees funded under section 330 of the PHS Act, including Community Health Centers, Migrant Health Centers, Health Care for the Homeless Health Centers, and Public Housing Primary Care Health Centers, have access to medical malpractice coverage under the FTCA. FTCA is the legal mechanism for compensating people who have suffered personal injury due to the negligent or wrongful action of employees of the U.S. Government.

Under section 224 of the PHS Act, as amended by the Federally Supported Health Centers Assistance Act (FSHCAA) of 1992 and 1995, a section 330-funded health center, as well as its officers, directors, employees, and certain contractors, may be considered deemed to be Federal employees for the purpose of medical malpractice coverage under the FTCA. Accordingly, they are immune from personal liability for claims of medical malpractice arising from their deemed employment, contract for services, or duties as an officer or director of the deemed health center. FSHCAA requires health centers to apply for deemed status in order for FTCA coverage to be effective.

The author of this update, attorney Cynthia Marcotte Stamer, has extensive experience advising and assisting health care providers and other health industry clients with reimbursement, compliance, public policy, regulatory, staffing, and other operations and risk management matters. You can get more information about her health industry experience here.  If you need assistance with these or other compliance concerns, wish to inquire about arranging for compliance audit or training, or need legal representation on other matters please contact Ms. Stamer at (469) 767-8872 or via e-mail here

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For More Information

We hope that this information is useful to you. If you need assistance evaluating or responding to the Health Care Reform Law or health care compliance, risk management, transactional, operational, reimbursement, or public policy concerns, please contact the author of this update, Cynthia Marcotte Stamer, at (469) 767-8872, cstamer@Solutionslawyer.net.

Vice President of the North Texas Health Care Compliance Professionals Association, Past Chair of the ABA Health Law Section Managed Care & Insurance Section and the former Board Compliance Chair of the National Kidney Foundation of North Texas, Ms. Stamer has more than 23 years experience advising health industry clients about these and other matters. A popular lecturer and widely published author on health industry and human resources matters, Ms. Stamer continuously advises health industry clients about health industry and other related concerns. Ms. Stamer also publishes and speaks extensively on health and managed care industry regulatory, staffing and human resources, compensation and benefits, technology, public policy, reimbursement and other operations and risk management concerns. Her insights on these and other related matters appear in the Health Care Compliance Association, Atlantic Information Service, Bureau of National Affairs, World At Work, The Wall Street Journal, Business Insurance, the Dallas Morning News, Modern Health Care, Managed Healthcare, Health Leaders, and a many other national and local publications. For additional information about Ms. Stamer, her experience, involvements, programs or publications, see here.

You can review other recent health care and internal controls resources and additional information about the health industry and other experience of Ms. Stamer here. If you or someone else you know would like to receive future updates about developments on these and other concerns, please be sure that we have your current contact information – including your preferred e-mail – by creating or updating your profile at here or e-mailing this information here. To unsubscribe, e-mail here.

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