[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 126 (Thursday, July 1, 2010)]
[Pages 38109-38110]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-15971]



Health Resources and Services Administration

Notice of Availability of Draft Policy Document for Comment

AGENCY: Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), HHS.

ACTION: The Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) Policy Manual was developed 
to serve as the primary policy source for information on FTCA for 
Health Center Program grantees funded under section 330 of the Public 
Health Service (PHS) Act (``section 330''). The Policy Manual is 
currently posted on the Internet at http://bphc.hrsa.gov/draftsforcomment/ftcamanual/.


DATES: Comments must be received by August 6, 2010.

ADDRESSES: Comments should be submitted to [email protected] by 
close of business on August 6, 2010.
SUMMARY: HRSA believes that community input is valuable to the 
development of policies and policy documents related to the 
implementation of HRSA programs, including the Health Center Program. 
Therefore, we are requesting comments on the FTCA Policy Manual 
referenced above. Comments will be reviewed and analyzed, and a summary 
and general response to comments will be published as soon as possible 
after the comment submission deadline.

BACKGROUND: HRSA administers the Health Center Program, which 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 
Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). FTCA, enacted in 1946, is the legal 
mechanism for compensating people who have suffered personal injury due 
to the negligent or wrongful action of employees of the

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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. As such, 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.
    HRSA has issued numerous Program Information Notices (PINs) and 
Program Assistance Letters (PALs) related to the Health Center FTCA 
Medical Malpractice Program. HRSA consolidated these PINs and PALs to 
create this FTCA Policy Manual. It is intended to convey guidance 
regarding existing policy and current processes, and to serve as the 
principal policy resource on FTCA matters for Health Center Program 
grantees and related stakeholders. It will be updated as new policy and 
program guidance are issued.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For questions regarding this notice, 
please contact the HRSA Bureau of Primary Health Care, Office of 
Quality and Data, at 301-594-0818.

    Dated: June 24, 2010.
Mary K. Wakefield,
[FR Doc. 2010-15971 Filed 6-30-10; 8:45 am]