42 U.S.C. § 233 - Civil actions or proceedings against commissioned officers or employees

Cite as:42 U.S.C. § 233
Currency:Current through P.L. 115-238
 
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(a) Exclusiveness of remedy

The remedy against the United States provided by sections 1346(b) and 2672 of title 28, or by alternative benefits provided by the United States where the availability of such benefits precludes a remedy under section 1346(b) of title 28, for damage for personal injury, including death, resulting from the performance of medical, surgical, dental, or related functions, including the conduct of clinical studies or investigation, by any commissioned officer or employee of the Public Health Service while acting within the scope of his office or employment, shall be exclusive of any other civil action or proceeding by reason of the same subject-matter against the officer or employee (or his estate) whose act or omission gave rise to the claim.

(b) Attorney General to defend action or proceeding; delivery of process to designated official; furnishing of copies of pleading and process to United States attorney, Attorney General, and Secretary

The Attorney General shall defend any civil action or proceeding brought in any court against any person referred to in subsection (a) of this section (or his estate) for any such damage or injury. Any such person against whom such civil action or proceeding is brought shall deliver within such time after date of service or knowledge of service as determined by the Attorney General, all process served upon him or an attested true copy thereof to his immediate superior or to whomever was designated by the Secretary to receive such papers and such person shall promptly furnish copies of the pleading and process therein to the United States attorney for the district embracing the place wherein the proceeding is brought, to the Attorney General, and to the Secretary.

(c) Removal to United States district court; procedure; proceeding upon removal deemed a tort action against United States; hearing on motion to remand to determine availability of remedy against United States; remand to State court or dismissal

Upon a certification by the Attorney General that the defendant was acting in the scope of his employment at the time of the incident out of which the suit arose, any such civil action or proceeding commenced in a State court shall be removed without bond at any time before trial by the Attorney General to the district court of the United States of the district and division embracing the place wherein it is pending and the proceeding deemed a tort action brought against the United States under the provisions of title 28 and all references thereto. Should a United States district court determine on a hearing on a motion to remand held before a trial on the merit that the case so removed is one in which a remedy by suit within the meaning of subsection (a) of this section is not available against the United States, the case shall be remanded to the State Court: Provided, That where such a remedy is precluded because of the availability of a remedy through proceedings for compensation or other benefits from the United States as provided by any other law, the case shall be dismissed, but in the event the running of any limitation of time for commencing, or filing an application or claim in, such proceedings for compensation or other benefits shall be deemed to have been suspended during the pendency of the civil action or proceeding under this section.

(d) Compromise or settlement of claim by Attorney General

The Attorney General may compromise or settle any claim asserted in such civil action or proceeding in the manner provided in section 2677 of title 28 and with the same effect.

(e) Assault or battery

For purposes of this section, the provisions of section 2680(h) of title 28 shall not apply to assault or battery arising out of negligence in the performance of medical, surgical, dental, or related functions, including the conduct of clinical studies or investigations.

(f) Authority of Secretary or designee to hold harmless or provide liability insurance for assigned or detailed employees

The Secretary or his designee may, to the extent that he deems appropriate, hold harmless or provide liability insurance for any officer or employee of the Public Health Service for damage for personal injury, including death, negligently caused by such officer or employee while acting within the scope of his office or employment and as a result of the performance of medical, surgical, dental, or related functions, including the conduct of clinical studies or investigations, if such employee is assigned to a foreign country or detailed to a State or political subdivision thereof or to a non-profit institution, and if the circumstances are such as are likely to preclude the remedies of third persons against the United States described in section 2679(b) of title 28, for such damage or injury.

(g) Exclusivity of remedy against United States for entities deemed Public Health Service employees; coverage for services furnished to individuals other than center patients; application process; subrogation of medical malpractice claims; applicable period; entity and contractor defined

(1)

(A) For purposes of this section and subject to the approval by the Secretary of an application under subparagraph (D), an entity described in paragraph (4), and any officer, governing board member, or employee of such an entity, and any contractor of such an entity who is a physician or other licensed or certified health care practitioner (subject to paragraph (5)), shall be deemed to be an employee of the Public Health Service for a calendar year that begins during a fiscal year for which a transfer was made under subsection (k)(3) (subject to paragraph (3)). The remedy against the United States for an entity described in paragraph (4) and any officer, governing board member, employee, or contractor (subject to paragraph (5)) of such an entity who is deemed to be an employee of the Public Health Service pursuant to this paragraph shall be exclusive of any other civil action or proceeding to the same extent as the remedy against the United States is exclusive pursuant to subsection (a).

(B) The deeming of any entity or officer, governing board member, employee, or contractor of the entity to be an employee of the Public Health Service for purposes of this section shall apply with respect to services provided-

(i) to all patients of the entity, and

(ii) subject to subparagraph (C), to individuals who are not patients of the entity.

(C) Subparagraph (B)(ii) applies to services provided to individuals who are not patients of an entity if the Secretary determines, after reviewing an application submitted under subparagraph (D), that the provision of the services to such individuals-

(i) benefits patients of the entity and general populations that could be served by the entity through community-wide intervention efforts within the communities served by such entity;

(ii) facilitates the provision of services to patients of the entity; or

(iii) are otherwise required under an employment contract (or similar arrangement) between the entity and an officer, governing board member, employee, or contractor of the entity.

(D) The Secretary may not under subparagraph (A) deem an entity or an officer, governing board member, employee, or contractor of the entity to be an employee of the Public Health Service for purposes of this section, and may not apply such deeming to services described in subparagraph (B)(ii), unless the entity has submitted an application for such deeming to the Secretary in such form and such manner as the Secretary shall prescribe. The application shall contain detailed information, along with supporting documentation, to verify that the entity, and the officer, governing board member, employee, or contractor of the entity, as the case may be, meets the requirements of subparagraphs (B) and (C) of this paragraph and that the entity meets the requirements of paragraphs (1) through (4) of subsection (h).

(E) The Secretary shall make a determination of whether an entity or an officer, governing board member, employee, or contractor of the entity is deemed to be an employee of the Public Health Service for purposes of this section within 30 days after the receipt of an application under subparagraph (D). The determination of the Secretary that an entity or an officer, governing board member, employee, or contractor of the entity is deemed to be an employee of the Public Health Service for purposes of this section shall apply for the period specified by the Secretary under subparagraph (A).

(F) Once the Secretary makes a determination that an entity or an officer, governing board member, employee, or contractor of an entity is deemed to be an employee of the Public Health Service for purposes of this section, the determination shall be final and binding upon the Secretary and the Attorney General and other parties to any civil action or proceeding. Except as provided in subsection (i), the Secretary and the Attorney General may not determine that the provision of services which are the subject of such a determination are not covered under this section.

(G) In the case of an entity described in paragraph (4) that has not submitted an application under subparagraph (D):

(i) The Secretary may not consider the entity in making estimates under subsection (k)(1).

(ii) This section does not affect any authority of the entity to purchase medical malpractice liability insurance coverage with Federal funds provided to the entity under section 254b, 254b, or 256a of this title.1

(H) In the case of an entity described in paragraph (4) for which an application under subparagraph (D) is in effect, the entity may, through notifying the Secretary in writing, elect to terminate the applicability of this subsection to the entity. With respect to such election by the entity:

(i) The election is effective upon the expiration of the 30-day period beginning on the date on which the entity submits such notification.

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