Here's what Daniel Perrone writes on Jurist (excerpt):
The Limited Exception To The Feres Doctrine Created By The NDAA
The NDAA created a limited exception to the Feres Doctrine “for personal injury or death incident to the service of a member of the uniformed services that was caused by the medical malpractice of a Department of Defense health care provider,” provided that the “act or omission constituting medical malpractice occurred in a covered military medical treatment facility.” The term “Department of Defense health care provider” means “a member of the uniformed services, civilian employee of the Department of Defense, or personal services contractor of the Department [of Defense] …” while a “covered military treatment facility” includes certain military medical treatment facilities maintained by the Secretary of Defense.
While the NDAA certainly chips away at some of the unfortunate consequences of the Feres Doctrine, at least insofar as medical malpractice claims are concerned, the plain terms of its text do not extend to claims against the US for personal injury or death incident to the service of a member of the uniformed services that either: (a) occurred in a medical treatment facility other than a “covered military treatment facility,” such as one maintained and operated by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs; or (b) was caused by the medical malpractice of a civilian employee of the Department of Veterans Affairs or a personal services contractor of the Department of Veterans Affairs. The latter is worrisome since the Department of Veterans Affairs enters into agreements with medical education programs to train its neophyte matriculants:
In Academic Year 2017, 43,565 medical residents, 24,683 medical students, 463 Advanced Fellows, and 849 dental residents and dental students received some or all of their clinical training in VA.
The NDAA either reflects an intention of the legislature to leave members of the uniformed services without recourse for harms suffered incident to their service caused by the medical malpractice of untrained medical residents and students, among others, or demonstrates ignorance that “VA health care facilities are available to active duty service members in emergency situations and upon referral by military treatment facilities through Sharing Agreements or under your TRICARE coverage,” meaning active-duty members of the uniformed services may suffer harms incident to their service caused by the medical malpractice of healthcare providers other than those contemplated by the NDAA at medical facilities other than those contemplated by the NDAA.