CHARLOTTE, N.C. - For the first time soldiers will be able to be compensated for negligent medical care but the Department of Defense is still “reviewing” how that will work.
The National Defense Authorization Act goes into effect at midnight. One provision in the NDAA, sparked by a series of FOX 46 investigations into the botched care of North Carolina Green Beret Sgt. 1st Class Richard Stayskal, tasks the DoD with investigating and paying out military medical malpractice claims up to $100,000. The Treasury Department would authorize amounts greater than that to be paid out.
Congress has set aside $400 million over the next decade to pay out claims.
The DoD has opposed any changes to the Feres Doctrine. The 1950 Supreme Court ruling prevents active duty soldiers from suing the government for malpractice. FOX 46 asked the DoD its position on the new law and exactly how the process will work.
“We are in the process of reviewing the legislation to determine how it will be implemented,” said DoD spokesperson Lisa Lawrence. “We are unable to provide any additional comment at this time.”
Stayskal plans to file his medical malpractice claim on Jan. 1, according to his attorney, Natalie Khawam.
“We…are excited to be the first claim to be filed under the SFC Richard Stayskal Military Medical Accountability Act!,” said Khawam. “We are looking forward to implementation of our legislation in 2020!!!”