Federal Tort Claims Act for Free Clinics

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) granted medical malpractice coverage through the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) to volunteer Free Clinic health care professionals. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care act extended this coverage to Free Clinic board members, officers, employees, and individual contractors.

A Free Clinic must apply for and sponsor a qualified individual for FTCA medical malpractice coverage deeming. FTCA medical malpractice protection provides the covered individual with immunity from medical malpractice lawsuits resulting from his/her subsequent performance of medical, dental, or related functions within the scope of his/her work at the Free Clinic.

The Free Clinics FTCA Program has four major requirements that are based on statutory requirements:

  • Credentialing and privileging system
  • Quality Improvement/Quality Assurance (QI/QA) program including a risk management (RM) system
  • Professional Liability
  • Annual Data Reporting.

The sponsoring Free Clinic must meet the following requirements:

  • Must be a 501(c)3 organization
  • Must be licensed or certified in accordance with applicable state law
  • Must not receive any compensation for service from individual or third-party payors (Note: Free Clinics are allowed to accept donations.)

For more information:
The FTCA Free Clinics Program is administered by the U.S. Department of Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Bureau of Primary Health Care (BPHC). Application and technical resources are available on their website:

The Bureau of Primary Health Care Helpline – 877-974-2742 – is available business days from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Information is also available through the ECRI Institute’s Free Clinic Risk Management Resources available through https://www.ecri.org.