8 Investigates

Veteran fights to close a VA loophole that can deny vets compensation

(WRIC) -- A veteran trying to close a VA loophole takes his fight to Washington in hopes of helping other veterans avoid his pain.

"I drafted a bill here,” says Marine veteran Brian Tally.

Tally is turning his pain and suffering into a mission to save his fellow veterans.

He's created the Tally Bill.

“It will protect veterans from independent contractors that are working within the VA,” explained Tally.

8News first brought you the story of Brian Tally back in July. Tally was misdiagnosed, the VA even admitted doctors messed up.

Yet, a little-known loophole allowed the VA to deny his malpractice claim.

Now he's making the rounds in Washington, sharing his story with VA leaders and members of Congress including Virginia Congressman Dave Brat.

"I have been left with permanent injury and I almost died because of it,” says Tally.

Tally had been suffered debilitating back pain that left him bedridden.

A doctor at his VA hospital in California told him it was just a bad back sprain.

Turned out, he had a staph infection that was eating away at his bones.

"To this point, there has been no accountability and no justice,” says Tally.

That's because Tally's doctor at the VA hospital was a contractor and a little known federal law says the VA is not responsible for medical malpractice committed by a contractor.

"They effectively blew him off,” says attorney Glen Sturtevant.

The Richmonder accompanied Tally to Washington as they push to change the law.

Part of the Tally Bill would require the VA to identify independent contractors.

"They are not identifiable. They have VA ID's, they have a VA doctor's coat on,” says Tally.

“Only once it was too late for him to do anything about it, he was told this doctor is an independent contractor, we're not responsible for them,” explained Sturtevant.

At the capitol, lawmakers were supportive. Many were in disbelief, saying they never even knew the 72-year-old law existed.

"My family and I have been through hell. I have built up enough courage to stand up and to fight for what is right,” says Tally.

It's too late for Tally to receive financial compensation.

Had he known at the time of his visit the doctor was a contractor, he could have filed a lawsuit in state court.

By the time the VA revealed the doctor was a contractor, the statute of limitations had run out.

Tally will be going back and forth to DC to gather support for his bill. You can help sponsor his trips.  He has set up a GoFundMe page.


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