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Rep. Brat Introduces New Bill Designed To Protect Veterans

Press Release

Date: Oct. 30, 2018
Location: Washington, DC
Issues: Veterans

Today, Representative Dave Brat (R-VA) announced he is introducing a new veterans bill titled, "Tally Bill." The bill would bring VA independent contractors under the medical malpractice procedures for other federal employees and increase accountability for both employees and contractors who provide care to our veterans.

The "Tally Bill" is named after Brian Tally, a former Marine who experienced misdiagnosis, neglect, and malpractice at the VA that led to lifelong spinal injuries. Brian was never even given the chance to make his case to be compensated because of bad public policy.

"Brian experienced injustice at the hands of an independent contractor, and due to a public policy loophole he was never able to be fully compensated for his injuries. This is wrong, and my legislation would ensure it does not happen to veterans in the future," said Rep. Dave Brat.

"It's too late for me to ever have my wrongs righted, but it's not too late for other veterans. My story cannot go to waste. We must change this shameful loophole to protect all veterans." - Brian Tally

Brian Tally went to the VA for debilitating back pain in January 2016. At the VA, he was seen by an independent contractor who sent him home with a bag of pills for the pain. Soon after, Brian's condition got much worse, and he began fearing for his life. He paid out of pocket for an MRI, and Brian learned he had a staph infection in his spine -- an ailment a doctor could have found through a simple blood test.

Brian went back to the VA and was able to get an emergency operation through the VA Choice Act, but it was too late. The infection had caused permanent damage to his spine -- leaving Brian crippled for the rest of his life.

Of course, Brian filed a claim at the VA. But the VA determined the fault was due to the independent contractor and not a VA employee, so his only recourse was to sue the contractor in state court for medical malpractice. By the time all of this was sorted, however, the statute of limitations had already run out, and Brian was prohibited from filing suit and receiving compensation. If the malpractice had been done by a VA employee, he would have had an additional year to bring his case in federal court.

"Brian's story is heartrending. This should not have happened to him. And I hope we can make sure it does not happen to anyone else," Rep. Brat continued.

The "Tally Bill" would include VA independent contractors under the Federal Tort Claims Act so that veterans who have been misdiagnosed, neglected, or have experienced malpractice will not be left without recourse.