A-10547, AUGUST 5, 1925, 5 COMP. GEN. 95

A-10547: Aug 5, 1925

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CIVILIAN PERSONNEL OF THE ARMY ON DUTY IN THE CANAL ZONE ARE AVAILABLE WITHOUT CHARGE TO SUCH PERSONNEL. THE PANAMA CANAL IS ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FROM ARMY APPROPRIATIONS FOR SUBSISTENCE FURNISHED CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES OF THE ARMY IN CONNECTION WITH MEDICAL TREATMENT FURNISHED BY THE CANAL FACILITIES. SUCH SUBSISTENCE CHARGES SHOULD NOT BE CHECKED AGAINST THE EMPLOYEES WHO ARE ENTITLED TO FREE HOSPITALIZATION UNDER THE EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION ACT OF SEPTEMBER 7. 1925: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF JULY 17. AS FOLLOWS: THERE ARE TRANSMITTED HEREWITH COPIES OF CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN THIS COMMISSION. THE BENEFICIARIES OF THIS COMMISSION ARE ENTITLED TO FREE HOSPITALIZATION IN GOVERNMENT HOSPITALS ON ACCOUNT OF INJURIES RECEIVED IN THE PERFORMANCE OF THEIR DUTY.

A-10547, AUGUST 5, 1925, 5 COMP. GEN. 95

MEDICAL TREATMENT AND SUBSISTENCE - CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES OF THE ARMY INJURED IN PERFORMANCE OF DUTY AT PANAMA CANAL THE MEDICAL FACILITIES, EXCLUSIVE OF SUBSISTENCE, PROVIDED BY THE APPROPRIATION ACT OF JUNE 7, 1924, 43 STAT. 494, AND SUBSEQUENT APPROPRIATION ACTS OF LIKE TENOR, FOR COMMISSIONED, ENLISTED, AND CIVILIAN PERSONNEL OF THE ARMY ON DUTY IN THE CANAL ZONE ARE AVAILABLE WITHOUT CHARGE TO SUCH PERSONNEL. THE PANAMA CANAL IS ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FROM ARMY APPROPRIATIONS FOR SUBSISTENCE FURNISHED CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES OF THE ARMY IN CONNECTION WITH MEDICAL TREATMENT FURNISHED BY THE CANAL FACILITIES, BUT SUCH SUBSISTENCE CHARGES SHOULD NOT BE CHECKED AGAINST THE EMPLOYEES WHO ARE ENTITLED TO FREE HOSPITALIZATION UNDER THE EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION ACT OF SEPTEMBER 7, 1916, 39 STAT. 742.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL GINN TO THE CHAIRMAN UNITED STATES EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION COMMISSION, AUGUST 5, 1925:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF JULY 17, 1925, REQUESTING DECISION OF A QUESTION PRESENTED, AS FOLLOWS:

THERE ARE TRANSMITTED HEREWITH COPIES OF CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN THIS COMMISSION, THE PANAMA CANAL, AND THE WAR DEPARTMENT CONCERNING COLLECTION BY THE PANAMA CANAL FOR SUBSISTENCE FURNISHED BENEFICIARIES OF THIS COMMISSION HOSPITALIZED IN PANAMA CANAL HOSPITALS.

UNDER SECTION 9 OF THE ACT OF SEPTEMBER 7, 1916 (39 STAT. 742), AND 23 COMPTROLLER'S DECISION, 776, THE BENEFICIARIES OF THIS COMMISSION ARE ENTITLED TO FREE HOSPITALIZATION IN GOVERNMENT HOSPITALS ON ACCOUNT OF INJURIES RECEIVED IN THE PERFORMANCE OF THEIR DUTY.

WHILE, UNDER THIS LEGISLATION, THE PANAMA CANAL AUTHORITIES ADMIT THEIR OWN EMPLOYEES INJURED IN THE PERFORMANCE OF THEIR DUTY TO THE CANAL HOSPITALS FREE OF CHARGE, THEY REFUSE TO ADMIT WITHOUT CHARGE CIVIL EMPLOYEES OF THE WAR DEPARTMENT INJURED IN THE PERFORMANCE OF THEIR DUTY AND ENTITLED TO FREE HOSPITALIZATION AS BENEFICIARIES OF THIS COMMISSION.

TO SUPPORT THE CHARGE THE PANAMA CANAL AUTHORITIES REFER TO THE FACT THAT THE WAR DEPARTMENT APPROPRIATIONS PROVIDE FOR REIMBURSEMENT TO THE CANAL FOR SUBSISTENCE CHARGES ON ACCOUNT OF CIVIL EMPLOYEES OF THE WAR DEPARTMENT TREATED IN THE CANAL HOSPITALS, BUT THE FACT IS OVERLOOKED ENTIRELY THAT IF THE EMPLOYEES ARE ADMITTED FOR TREATMENT ON ACCOUNT OF INJURIES RECEIVED IN THE PERFORMANCE OF THEIR DUTY THEY ARE NOT BEING ADMITTED AS CIVIL EMPLOYEES OF THE WAR DEPARTMENT BUT AS BENEFICIARIES OF THIS COMMISSION, AND AS SUCH ENTITLED TO FREE HOSPITALIZATION.

THE PROCEDURE FOLLOWED IN MAKING THE COLLECTION IS FOR THE PANAMA CANAL TO BILL THE WAR DEPARTMENT, THE WAR DEPARTMENT TO CHECK THE EMPLOYEES' PAY, AND THE EMPLOYEES TO CLAIM REIMBURSEMENT FROM THIS COMMISSION UNDER SECTION 9 OF THE ACT OF SEPTEMBER 7, 1916. THE RESULT IS THAT THIS COMMISSION PAYS THE PANAMA CANAL, INDIRECTLY, FOR THE HOSPITALIZATION OF INJURED CIVIL EMPLOYEES OF THE GOVERNMENT ENTITLED TO FREE HOSPITALIZATION IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE COMPENSATION ACT AND THE

IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT THE ULTIMATE COST FALLS ON THIS COMMISSION, PLEASE ADVISE WHETHER THERE IS ANY AUTHORITY FOR THE PANAMA CANAL TO MAKE CHARGES FOR SUBSISTENCE FURNISHED CIVIL EMPLOYEES OF THE WAR DEPARTMENT INJURED IN THE PERFORMANCE OF THEIR DUTY AND THEREFORE ENTITLED TO FREE HOSPITALIZATION AS BENEFICIARIES OF THIS COMMISSION.

IT WOULD APPEAR THAT WHILE IN GENERAL, THROUGH ITS MEDICAL DEPARTMENT, THE ARMY HAS ADEQUATE MEDICAL FACILITIES FOR ITS COMMISSIONED, ENLISTED, AND CIVILIAN PERSONNEL, IT HAS FEW OR NO FACILITIES IN THE CANAL ZONE FOR TAKING CARE OF ITS SICK AND INJURED PERSONNEL, BUT PROVISION IS MADE IN THE ANNUAL APPROPRIATION ACTS UNDER THE HEADING "HOSPITAL CARE, CANAL ZONE GARRISON," AUTHORIZING THE USE OF THE FACILITIES AFFORDED BY THE PANAMA CANAL HOSPITALS UPON THE PAYMENT OF CERTAIN PRESCRIBED ALLOWANCES THEREIN PROVIDED. THE ACT OF JUNE 7, 1924, 43 STAT. 494, CURRENT AT THE TIME THE QUESTION AROSE, AND WHICH IS SIMILAR TO PROVISIONS IN PREVIOUS APPROPRIATION ACTS, IS AS FOLLOWS:

FOR PAYING THE PANAMA CANAL SUCH REASONABLE CHARGES, EXCLUSIVE OF SUBSISTENCE, AS MAY BE APPROVED BY THE SECRETARY OF WAR FOR CARING IN ITS HOSPITALS FOR OFFICERS, ENLISTED MEN, MILITARY PRISONERS, AND CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES OF THE ARMY ADMITTED THERETO UPON THE REQUEST OF PROPER MILITARY AUTHORITY, $35,000: PROVIDED, THAT THE SUBSISTENCE OF THE SAID PATIENTS, EXCEPT COMMISSIONED OFFICERS, SHALL BE PAID TO SAID HOSPITALS OUT OF THE APPROPRIATION FOR SUBSISTENCE OF THE ARMY AT THE RATES PROVIDED THEREIN FOR COMMUTATION OF RATIONS FOR ENLISTED PATIENTS IN GENERAL HOSPITALS.

THE PAYMENT TO THE PANAMA CANAL FOR THE MEDICAL FACILITIES FURNISHED THE ARMY PERSONNEL IS EXPRESSLY AUTHORIZED BY THIS ACT, AND IS PAYABLE FROM THE APPROPRIATIONS INVOLVED ON THE BASIS OF EACH COMMISSIONED OFFICER, ENLISTED MAN, OR CIVILIAN ADMITTED TO THE HOSPITALS UPON THE REQUEST OF PROPER MILITARY AUTHORITY. YOUR QUESTION, HOWEVER, INVOLVES ONLY THE CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES OF THE ARMY INJURED IN THE PERFORMANCE OF THEIR DUTY AND ARE THUS BROUGHT WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF SECTION 9 OF THE ACT OF SEPTEMBER 7, 1916, 39 STAT. 742, PROVIDING:

THAT IMMEDIATELY AFTER AN INJURY SUSTAINED BY AN EMPLOYEE WHILE IN THE PERFORMANCE OF HIS DUTY, WHETHER OR NOT DISABILITY HAS ARISEN, AND FOR A REASONABLE TIME THEREAFTER, THE UNITED STATES SHALL FURNISH TO SUCH EMPLOYEE REASONABLE MEDICAL, SURGICAL, AND HOSPITAL SERVICES AND SUPPLIES UNLESS HE REFUSES TO ACCEPT THEM. SUCH SERVICES AND SUPPLIES SHALL BE FURNISHED BY UNITED STATES MEDICAL OFFICERS AND HOSPITALS, BUT WHERE THIS IS NOT PRACTICABLE SHALL BE FURNISHED BY PRIVATE PHYSICIANS AND HOSPITALS DESIGNATED OR APPROVED BY THE COMMISSION AND PAID FOR FROM THE EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION FUND. IF NECESSARY FOR THE SECURING OF PROPER MEDICAL, SURGICAL, AND HOSPITAL TREATMENT, THE EMPLOYEE, IN THE DISCRETION OF THE COMMISSION, MAY BE FURNISHED TRANSPORTATION AT THE EXPENSE OF THE EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION FUND.

THE FREE MEDICAL, SURGICAL, AND HOSPITAL SERVICES AUTHORIZED BY THE ABOVE ACT FOR CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES OF THE ARMY STATIONED IN THE CANAL ZONE WHO ARE INJURED IN THE PERFORMANCE OF THEIR DUTY ARE THOSE SUPPLIED BY THE FACILITIES EXPRESSLY AUTHORIZED BY LAW FOR SUCH ARMY EMPLOYEES.

YOU ARE ACCORDINGLY ADVISED THAT THE PAYMENT FOR SUBSISTENCE FURNISHED ARMY EMPLOYEES STATIONED IN THE CANAL ZONE INJURED IN THE PERFORMANCE OF THEIR DUTY SHOULD BE MADE TO THE PANAMA CANAL FROM THE APPROPRIATION FOR SUBSISTENCE OF THE ARMY, AS PROVIDED IN THE ACT OF JUNE 7, 1924, CITED, BUT SUCH SERVICE IS FREE TO THE BENEFICIARIES OF THE UNITED STATES EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION COMMISSION UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 9 OF THE ACT OF SEPTEMBER 7, 1916, 23 COMP. DEC. 776, AND COLLECTION OF THE CHARGES THEREFOR SHOULD NOT BE MADE BY THE MILITARY AUTHORITIES FROM THE EMPLOYEE, AS IS PROVIDED BY ARMY REGULATIONS FOR CERTAIN CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES ENTITLED TO MEDICAL ATTENTION, BUT WHO DO NOT COME WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF THE COMPENSATION ACT; AND IN CASES IN WHICH THE AMOUNT OF SUCH SUBSISTENCE CHARGES HAS BEEN DEDUCTED FROM THE PAY OF EMPLOYEES WHO ARE BENEFICIARIES OF YOUR COMMISSION THEY HAVE THE RIGHT TO PRESENT TO THIS OFFICE A CLAIM FOR THE AMOUNT THUS ERRONEOUSLY DEDUCTED.