Update: The Tally Bill, Something Important That Veterans Need to Know
Time and time again, Marine Veteran Brian Tally attempted to get satisfaction from the VA over his malpractice claim. The constant wall of rejections wore thin on this former business owner. But then…light began to break. He has been working with Rep Duncan Hunter on a bill that every Veteran needs to know about: who is really taking care of you – a regular VA doctor or a contracted one? Because the contracted ones are treated differently in any malpractice case. The Tally Bill is legislation that will give US Veterans a fighting chance.
After we put out numerous reports on Brian’s case, the local news media, CBS8 TV in San Diego, picked it up – you can listen to their newsclip here, and read the article at this link. Brian also was able to find an attorney that would take his case. That is going forward with support now, support that was absent before. But it’s the Tally Bill that could make a huge difference for other veterans:
Brian posted this on Facebook:
I was asked to briefly write about a Bill that I’m extremely passionate about as I’m a victim of VA Malpractice / Neglect. I was denied compensation for my injuries due to a law that was written in 1946 and a VA loophole that was designed to deflect liability and accountability. I’m currently working on a bill that will help protect veterans from a VA loophole that has destroyed my life physically, emotionally, and financially. I hope my story can be the last, and certainly hope this devastating story doesn’t go wasted, and all of the pain and suffering my family and I have endured can go into forcing a new bill, to protect some of the most honorable citizens in our Country! Please stand with me in bringing the “TallyBill” to LIFE!
We are currently in the planning stages of developing and proposing a bill to protect Veterans from reckless Independent Contractors that are hiding behind the VA veil. I’m currently working with Congressman Duncan Hunter, Tommy Marquez, Michael Harrison and his staff.
Know who is caring for you. What is there employment status? Is your VA doctor / RN / ER staff etc; “Independent Contractors or “VA Employees” Veterans are being denied Malpractice / Negligence claims due to “technicalities” and “employment statuses”.
My proposal is to make it law that all employees inside all VA hospitals, and VA clinics, wear appropriate identification stating if they are “VA Employees” or if they are “Independent Contractors”
A color coded badge would work well as visual identification.
Malpractice and Negligence causing permanent injury or death doesn’t happen very often, but when it does and mistakes have been made, it can be catastrophic to one’s life if the affected Veteran doesn’t know the Employment status of the provider he/she is seeing. Knowing how and where to file a malpractice claim is extremely important.
The Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), established 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 U.S. government.
It’s time to modify this act from 1946. This was written 72 years ago. In 2018 the VA is hiring more “Independent Contractors” than ever before and is expected to climb in the coming years due to budgets, and liability.
The FTCA does not cover “Independent Contractors” working for the VA, even though they are wearing VA badges, have VA laptop computers, VA ID cards that they slide into the computer with their VA credentials to complete, update, and generate official VA doctors reports. They have white doctors coats with the letters “VA” embroidered on them. They have business cards and show up to the same place of business everyday, and even have an office out of the VA facility. That doesn’t sound like “Independent Contractors” to me.
As Veterans how are we protected to know who we are dealing with as they don’t identify themselves as any other person or entity than the VA. This VA (Non disclosure) policy of Independent contractors must change.
Who holds the “Independent Contractors” accountable for their actions inside of a VA Hospital or VA Clinic.
After all appointments, procedures, or emergency services provided to the Veteran, he/she must be advised on who was providing the care, and what their employment status is by a simple checkbox on there medical report marking if they are an “Independent Contractor” or “VA Employee”.
During a phone call in February, with regional counsel, I spoke to a VA attorney, and I asked a simple question. “How is the Veteran supposed to know the difference between a VA employee vs. an Independent Contractor inside a VA hospital or VA clinic”? She stated you wouldn’t know the difference. That’s why it took the VA 10 months to inform me that the accused Doctor was an Independent Contractor therefore blowing my statute of limitations to seek legal counsel vs. my primary care doctor, (The Independent contractor)
The VA’s top Attorney at the Office of General Counsel in Washington DC, stated to me on the phone last week. “It’s not tattooed on their foreheads if they are VA Employees or Contractors, it takes time to find out the employment statuses of our staff. In your case it was 10 months, I’ve seen it take well over a year before. It’s harder than you think” Again that’s where an easy fix would come into play and simply check a box!
My next question was, has this happened before to other Veterans?. He said , “unfortunately yes”. How can this keep happening with no simple fix in line to prevent serious financial hardship for the most vulnerable people in society, “an injured veteran who can no longer work and provide for their family through no fault of their own due to medical malpractice and negligence”.
The fact that the VA has stated to me that this has happened before is discouraging that they knew about the problem and haven’t made a simple fix to correct it, therefore negatively affecting my families lives, and the lives of other Veterans.
VA Accountability act…President Trump has been speaking about the “VA Accountability Act” a quite a bit lately, however accountability is nowhere to be found as I’m fighting for my life and justice. My former primary care doctor is still operating under VA hiding behind the VA independent contractor status even though she was found to be guilty of malpractice, neglect, and failing to meet the standard of care, with no repercussions.
I’m trying to hold the VA accountable for their inaction on this known problem because they obviously don’t seem to think its serious enough or lack the resources to make a change.
A private doctor (Independent Contractor) is 1 year statute of limitations in California and 2 years for the VA, my proposal would be to make them both the same. If you contract to the VA it should fall under the same VA umbrella.
I have also been trying to hold the VA accountable from a legislative stand point to provide better disclosure to veterans. We are working alongside Congressman Duncan Hunter, Michael Harrison and Tommy Marquez to draft such a bill.
This needs to stop! And here is the start to protecting Veterans from unidentified , and non disclosed, Independent Contractors contracting with the VA.
I have reached out to the VA with open arms, and have challenged them, and have asked for their full support and commitment to making positive change at the VA relating to Independent contractors and the FTCA Law. With the support of VA Employees, Veterans, and the Veteran Community we can create positive change and turn this horrific situation and story into a positive and happy ending. This will protect veterans for many years to come. Please stand with me and bring the “TallyBill” to life.