Purpose of this part.

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§ 45.1 Purpose of this part.

(a) In general. The purpose of this part is to establish the rules and procedures for members of the uniformed services or their representatives to file claims for compensation for personal injury or death caused by the medical malpractice of a Department of Defense (DoD) health care provider. Claims under this part may be settled and paid by DoD under the Military Claims Act, Title 10, United States Code, Chapter 163, specifically section 2733a of Title 10 (hereinafter 10 U.S.C. 2733a, section 2733a, or the statute), as added to the Military Claims Act by section 731 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 (Pub. L. 116-92; 133 Stat. 1457). Claims are adjudicated under an administrative process. This administrative process follows a set of rules and procedures set forth in this part. These rules and procedures are based primarily on a number of detailed provisions in the statute.

(b) Relationship to military and veterans' compensation programs. Federal law provides a comprehensive system of compensation for military members and their families in cases of death or disability incurred in military service. This system applies to all causes of death or disability incurred in service, whether due to combat injuries, training mishaps, motor vehicle accidents, naturally occurring illnesses, household events, with limited exceptions (e.g., when the member is absent without leave or the injury is due to the member's intentional misconduct or willful negligence). This comprehensive compensation system applies to cases of personal injury or death caused by medical malpractice incurred in service as it does to all other causes. This part provides for the possibility of separate compensation in certain cases of medical malpractice but in no other type of case. A medical malpractice claim under this part will have no effect on any other compensation the member or family is entitled to under the comprehensive compensation system applicable to all members. However, a claimant under this part does not receive duplicate compensation for the same harm. Thus, with some limited exceptions, a potential malpractice damages award under this part is reduced or offset by the total value of the compensation the claimant is expected to receive under the comprehensive compensation system, whether or not the claimant ultimately receives such compensation, and the ultimate amount of a settlement under this part will be the amount, if any, that a potential malpractice damages award determined under the terms and conditions of this part exceeds the value of all the compensation and benefits the claimant is otherwise expected to receive from DoD or the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

(c) Relationship to Healthcare Resolutions Program. The medical malpractice claims process under this part is separate from the Military Health System Healthcare Resolutions Program. The Healthcare Resolutions Program, under Defense Health Agency Procedural Instruction 6025.17, is an independent, neutral, and confidential system that promotes full disclosure of factual information - including information involving adverse events and outcomes - and mediation of clinical conflicts. The program is part of the Military Health System's commitment to transparency, which also includes a patient's right to be heard as part of any quality assurance review of care provided. The Healthcare Resolutions Program is not involved in legal proceedings, compensation matters, or the adjudication of claims under this part. However, any member of the uniformed services may engage the Healthcare Resolutions Program to address non-monetary aspects of his or her belief that he or she has been harmed by medical malpractice by a DoD health care provider. Because it is not involved in claims or legal proceedings, the Healthcare Resolutions Program disengages when a claim is filed by a service member or his or her representative.

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