38 U.S. Code § 7316. Malpractice and negligence suits: defense by United States
(1) The remedy—
for damages for personal injury, including death, allegedly arising from malpractice or negligence of a health care employee of the Administration in furnishing health care or treatment while in the exercise of that employee’s duties in or for the Administration shall be exclusive of any other civil action or proceeding by reason of the same subject matter against the health care employee (or employee’s estate) whose act or omission gave rise to such claim.
For purposes of paragraph (1), the term “health care employee of the Administration” means a physician, dentist, podiatrist, chiropractor, optometrist, nurse, physician assistant, expanded-function dental auxiliary, pharmacist, or paramedical (such as medical and dental technicians, nursing assistants, and therapists), or other supporting personnel.
The Attorney General shall defend any civil action or proceeding brought in any court against any person referred to in subsection (a) (or such person’s 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 such person or an attested true copy thereof to such person’s 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.
Upon a certification by the Attorney General that the defendant was acting in the scope of such person’s employment in or for the Administration 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. After removal the United States shall have available all defenses to which it would have been entitled if the action had originally been commenced against the United States. Should a United States district court determine on a hearing on a motion to remand held before a trial on the merits that the employee whose act or omission gave rise to the suit was not acting within the scope of such person’s office or employment, the case shall be remanded to the State court.
The Secretary may, to the extent the Secretary considers appropriate, hold harmless or provide liability insurance for any person to whom the immunity provisions of this section apply (as described in subsection (a)), for damage for personal injury or death, or for property damage, negligently caused by such person while furnishing medical care or treatment (including the conduct of clinical studies or investigations) in the exercise of such person’s duties in or for the Administration, if such person is assigned to a foreign country, detailed to State or political division thereof, or is acting under any other circumstances which would preclude the remedies of an injured third person against the United States, provided by sections 1346(b) and 2672 of title 28, for such damage or injury.
The exception provided in section 2680(h) of title 28 shall not apply to any claim arising out of a negligent or wrongful act or omission of any person described in subsection (a) in furnishing medical care or treatment (including medical care or treatment furnished in the course of a clinical study or investigation) while in the exercise of such person’s duties in or for the Administration.
Effective Date of 2003 Amendment