FTCA Volunteer Coverage

Hello Everyone! My name is Info. I am your friendly FTCA Guide. Today, I want to talk to you about some very
exciting news! Volunteer Health Professionals working at
FTCA deemed health centers are now eligible for medical malpractice liability protection
under the FTCA! Let’s get right to the details about what’s
covered and how you can apply for coverage. As you all know, FTCA medical malpractice
liability coverage is extended to governing board members, officers, employees, and certain
individual contractors of FTCA covered entities, i.e., health centers that receive section
330 funds and have been deemed as employees of the Public Health Service. Historically, FTCA coverage has not been available
to health center volunteers; however, through the enactment of the 21st Century Cures Act
liability protections are now available to Volunteer Health Professionals (also known
as VHPs) for the performance of medical, surgical, dental, and related functions at health centers
that are FTCA deemed. But wait! Coverage is not available to volunteers just
by virtue of that legislation. There is a deeming process for health centers
that wish to sponsor volunteers for deemed employee status. The FTCA VHP program is separate from the
FTCA Health Center Program and requires a separate deeming process for volunteers. Eligible health center VHPs do not receive
deemed PHS employee status automatically, nor do they receive it simply by volunteering
at the health center. Instead, health centers must submit an annual
application for deeming on behalf of each of their individually named VHPs to HRSA. So, sponsoring health centers may now begin
submitting supplemental applications through the Electronic Handbooks for deemed status
for volunteers at their health center. The application will not require all of the
standard information that must be submitted with initial and/or redeeming applications,
but rather, sponsoring health centers will be asked to attest that the health center
has maintained its credentialing, privileging, and risk management systems. For each Volunteer Health Professional, you
will be required to answer various questions and provide documents. Before you go, here are some important coverage
requirements to note in preparation of submitting your application:
(1) Only a deemed health center may sponsor volunteer health professionals,
(2) Volunteer health professionals are eligible to receive the same liability protections
as employees, qualified contractors, governing board members and officers, and
(3) Similar to regular Health Center initial and redeeming, sponsoring health centers must
continue to adhere to credentialing and privileging, Quality Improvement/Quality Assurance, risk
management and claims management requirements. We know that was a lot of information in a
short amount of time but don’t worry! Complete guidance, including coverage and
application requirements, can be found in the VHP Program Assistance Letter (PAL) and
the VHP deeming webcast that aired on August 31st, 2017. Both are available on the FTCA VHP website. As always, if you have any questions please
contact the BPHC Helpline at 1-877-974-2742, Option 2 or via their Web form at http://www.hrsa.gov/about/contact/bphc.aspx
The phone line is available 8:00 am to 5:30 pm ET, Monday through Friday (except Federal
holidays). Thank you for watching.

Stephen Childs

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