If you go into your local clinic for medical care, you may be in for a surprise: a doctor or nurse who looks like a private practitioner could really be a federal employee.
Thousands of local community clinics and free clinics receive financial support from the federal government and are therefore “deemed” federally funded clinics for purposes of the FTCA. Normally this won’t impact your care, but if you have a potential medical malpractice claim, it greatly impacts where and how you file your case. It can be difficult to find out when a provider is covered by the FTCA, and there are a host of FTCA presuit requirements and deadlines that could destroy your claim if you don’t comply. This has caught many lawyers by surprise, unfortunately too late to timely file an FTCA case – which puts your case at risk, instead of the negligent health care providers.
If you have been the victim of medical malpractice at a federally funded clinic by an individual that has been deemed an employee of the United States federal government, you can only file suit under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). There are over 300 federally funded clinics in Texas alone and perhaps thousands across the country. These clinics may not always advertise their federally funded status, but it’s important to know because that will determine whether you can bring a case under the FTCA. If you bring a lawsuit against one of these clinics without realizing that the facility is under the Federal Tort Claims Act, your entire lawsuit may be thrown out of court.
If you have a potential FTCA medical malpractice case arising out of a community clinic, you may need to investigate whether that clinic receives federal funding and/or the providers responsible are “deemed” federal employees for purposes of the FTCA. Our attorneys have significant experience in determining whether a facility is federally funded.
How Do You Know Whether a Clinic Is “Federally Funded”?
You can use many techniques to determine whether you are dealing with a federally funded clinic, including:
- Look at the Clinic or Facility’s website. Sometimes you will be able to find out whether the clinic is “deemed” covered by the FTCA.
- Ask the clinic directly.
- Contact the Bureau of Primary Health Care (BPHC) of the Heath Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the Health and Human Services (HHS) Department.
- Searching the Health and Human Services (HHS) website for “deemed” facilities. HHS has multiple methods of searching and sometimes you have to know where to look. Contact us with questions on your specific case and we may be able to evaluate it.
- If you or your attorney has Westlaw or LexisNexis database access, search those databases for specific information related to the facility.
Finding out whether your clinic is federally funded and covered by the FTCA may be difficult. If you need a consultation, please contact us.
How Do I Sue a Federally Funded Clinic for Medical Malpractice?
First, you must remember that you cannot file a lawsuit against an employee of the federally funded clinic. Instead, you must file suit against the United States of America under the Federal Tort Claims Act. Before you can file suit under the Federal Tort Claims Act, individuals must follow the strict rules of the Federal Tort Claims Act.
- You must file a Standard Form 95 with the appropriate agency. With federally funded clinics, you must additionally make the determination of what agency to file your claim with. If you do not file your claim with the appropriate agency, you may forfeit your rights to bring a lawsuit.
- You must state the nature of your claim and what’s called a “sum certain.”
- You have to file the Form 95 within 2 years of the date of accrual.
Once the Form 95 has been filed with the appropriate federal agency, then you must work with the agency to resolve your claim. There are a lot of pitfalls if you do not know what you are doing. If you cannot successfully resolve the claim administratively, you have the option of filing suit so long as you file within the appropriate limitations period. Our attorneys have decades of trial experience and are able to assist you in this process. Please contact us if you need a free evaluation of your claim. Once you have filed your form 95, you must wait at least 6 months (maybe more depending on the course of your administrative claim) before you can file a federal lawsuit.
If you believe you are a victim of FTCA medical malpractice, call us now—if you wait too long, it may be too late.
You can look at our national reach page to see our success in states across the United States. You can also see our full results on our case results page. Here are some of the cases that we have won against Federally Funded Clinics:
Department of Health Wrongful Death of Child, Choctaw Health Center $1,675,000 settlement on appeal $418,750 attorneys’ fees $105,745 litigation expenses $1,150,505 client recovery after fees and expenses. Chickaway v. United States Choctaw Health Center A 12-year old boy died following a clinic’s failure to diagnose a hip infection, which resulted…