The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) granted medical malpractice coverage through the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) to volunteer Free Clinic health care professionals. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act extended this coverage to free clinic board members, officers, employees, and individual contractors.
Congress first appropriated funds for FTCA medical malpractice protection for volunteer health care professionals in 2004. Free clinic volunteers, board members, employees, or contractors who meet all the requirements may be sponsored by the free clinic and "deemed" a federal employee by HRSA for the purpose of FTCA medical malpractice coverage.
FTCA deemed status provides the covered individual with immunity from medical malpractice lawsuits resulting from his/her subsequent performance of clinical medical, dental or related functions within the scope of his/her work at the free clinic.
Unlike health centers, free clinics are not deemed as an entity. Free clinic employees, volunteers, board members, etc., are not automatically covered under FTCA and have to apply for coverage. An “FTCA deemed” status provides the covered individual with immunity from medical malpractice lawsuits resulting from his/her subsequent performance of clinical medical, dental or related functions within the scope of his/her work at the free clinic.
Congress enacted FTCA medical malpractice protection for volunteer Free Clinic health care professionals through Section 194 of HIPAA (Public Law 104-91) by amending section 224 of the Public Health Service Act (42. U.S.C. 233, 42 U.S.C. 233(o)). This protection was extended by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) (Public Law 111-148) making board members, officers, employees, and contractors also eligible for FTCA coverage.
Federal Tort Claims Act Program
Office of Quality and Data
Bureau of Primary Health Care
Health Resources and Services Administration
5600 Fishers Lane, Room 6A-55
Rockville, MD 20857
The Bureau of Primary Health Care is pleased to announce the release of Calendar Year 2014 Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) Deeming Application for Free Clinics, PAL 2013-06
Currently more than 200 free clinics sponsor individuals.
More than 9,000 health care professionals are deemed to be employees of the Public Health Services for medical malpractice coverage provided by the Federal Tort Claims Act
Patient FTCA Limited Liability Notice (DOC - 24 KB)