WASHINGTON — A major breakthrough on Capitol Hill means military service-members could soon have the right to sue the government for medical malpractice. Sources told WUSA9 there is a final agreement on the defense spending bill or N.D.A.A and it includes reform of the Feres Doctrine.
So, for the first time in decades, service-members and their families would have a way to get some type of justice if they suffer injury or die as a result of medical malpractice. In the agreement, active-duty military personnel would have the ability to file a claim in these cases.
It authorizes a pot of $400 million, out of which the government can pay those claims.
The Feres Doctrine has prevented active-duty service-members from suing for decades. SFC Richard Stayskal is dying of cancer and lobbied Congress for the change. WUSA9 traveled from North Carolina to Washington, D.C. with the Stayskals as they met with lawmakers.
Here's the process of how we got here and what's next: NDAA Conferees met earlier Monday to review what is in the final report. Once conferees sign to note their agreement, the final report will be filed in the House.
They are looking for it to come to the full House for a vote by Wednesday.
Also included in the agreement is an update to another WUSA9 investigation. Lawmakers in the conference have approved an increase in the amount of money the branches can reimburse military spouses for re-licensing costs when a family is moved from base to base.
It was $500; it will be increased to $1,000.
A WUSA9 investigation in May revealed while Congress approved this program in December of 2017, none of the branches had announced their reimbursement policies.
Since then, each branch has said it is starting to reimburse spouses for these costs.
Another WUSA9 investigation revealed, while the Army was the first branch to announce its policy, some spouses found personnel didn’t know what to do with the forms.