Rep. Meadows Introduces Brian Tally VA Medical Care and Liability Improvement Act

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WASHINGTON, July 22, 2019 | Ben Williamson (202-225-6401) | comments

RELEASE:
Rep. Meadows Introduces Brian Tally VA Medical Care and Liability Improvement Act

Washington, D.C. – This week, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) introduced the Brian Tally VA Medical Care and Liability Improvement Act — a bill to reform how the Department of Veterans Affairs handles medical malpractice claims against contract care providers.

The bill is inspired by the story of Brian Tally, a Marine Corps veteran who received a nearly fatal misdiagnosis for what was ultimately a staph infection in his spine—leaving him all but physically debilitated and unable to work. Given it was a textbook medical malpractice instance, Tally should have been able to receive damages for the misdiagnosis. However, after spending months pursuing the case, Tally was notified at the 11th hour that because his misdiagnosis came from an independent contractor through the VA, he had to sue the provider in state court under the tight restrictions of a one-year statute of limitations that had already passed. Since the contractor was not technically a VA employee, Tally could not sue the VA in federal court.. He was essentially left without any timely options.

Rep. Meadows bill would protect Veterans like Mr. Tally from experiencing the same runaround process. The bill makes critical changes to current law by requiring the VA to notify any veteran making a malpractice claim of both their care provider’s employment status and their options for a malpractice claim under their individual state law in 30 days or less. If the VA fails to provide this information within 30 days, the agency becomes liable and can be sued in federal court. It also places tighter restrictions on contractors working through the VA—creating a new penalty where a contractor is banned from working with the VA if they are found liable in 3 medical malpractice incidents over a five year window.

Ultimately, the bill aims to provide veterans the information they need and increase accountability for both the VA and the private contractors they work with.

Rep. Meadows released the following statement on the bill.

“We owe our veterans the absolute best healthcare we can provide, so it’s both heartbreaking and unacceptable to read about stories like that of Brian Tally. What happened to Brian, and others like him, must never be allowed to happen again. It’s our responsibility to make sure we provide our veterans all of the information they need to make quick, informed decisions about their healthcare, and hold our government accountable to make sure we get our servicemembers high quality care. I want to thank Brian Tally for working with us on this bill, and remind him—along with all of our veterans—of a clear message: you stepped up to the plate for our country. It’s now our turn to step up to the plate for you. My hope is that with this bill, we can take another step in that process of better stepping up to serve our veterans.”

Brian Tally also added the following:

"I am extremely honored to have Congressman Mark Meadows take the lead on this legislation and introduce this extraordinary 'VA Accountability' bill that will protect all veterans who seek treatment at VA Hospitals and clinics. We have politely and energetically engaged Congress and have asked for a motivated member of congress to be the Champion for all veterans. We are honored that Congressman Meadows has answered that call to service, and is now taking the necessary steps, and will be playing a monumental role in effectively closing a 73 year legal loophole that has destroyed the lives of veterans and their families for generations. I look forward to working with the VA Committee, House Republicans, as well as House Democrats to ensure successful passage of the 'Brian Tally VA Medical Care and Liability Improvement act'. Together as one, we can, and we will see this through."

For more information on the bill, click here.

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Tags: Veterans

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