CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
H.R. 1745 is expected to be considered on the House floor on Wednesday, September 22, 2010, under a suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority vote for passage. Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA) introduced H.R. 1745 on March 26, 2009, and it was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce. On July 28, 2010, the Energy and Commerce Committee reported the bill by voice vote.
H.R 1745 would amend the Public Health Service Act to provide medical malpractice insurance and liability protections under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) for volunteer practitioners at community health centers.
Currently all medical professionals employed by federally qualified free clinic or federally qualified community health center get medical malpractice protection under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). In order to receive this coverage, each health center must undergo extensive risk management training and have in place continuous oversight mechanisms to reduce the risk of malpractice.
Individuals seeking to volunteer at a health center must either have their own independent coverage or rely on the Volunteer Protection Act (VPA), which can complicate a health center's risk management practices. VPA coverage does not have the same malpractice coverage as FTCA. Moreover, the possibility of malpractice litigation may dissuade some professionals from volunteering.
CBO estimates that implementing the bill would cost $1 million for 2011 and $18 million over the 2011-2015 period, assuming the appropriation of necessary amounts. CBO estimates that funding the act would require appropriations totaling $6 million in 2011 and $31 million over the 2011-2015 period. Pay-go does not apply.