A-10937, SEPTEMBER 23, 1925, 5 COMP. GEN. 218

A-10937: Sep 23, 1925

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ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL - CARE OF FEDERAL PRISONERS WHO ARE PENSIONERS THE PENSION OF A FEDERAL PRISONER. IS CHARGEABLE WITH THE CARE OF THE PATIENT WHILE IN ST. ARE LIABLE FOR THE CARE OF INSANE FEDERAL PRISONERS TRANSFERRED FROM A FEDERAL PENITENTIARY TO ST. IT APPEARS FROM THE RECORD THAT THE CLAIMANT WAS CONVICTED AND SENTENCED TO IMPRISONMENT IN THE FEDERAL PENITENTIARY. HE WAS TRANSFERRED AND ADMITTED TO ST. IT IS STATED THAT THE PRISON SENTENCE EXPIRED APRIL 13. CLAIMANT WAS NOT RELEASED FROM ST. PRESUMABLY BECAUSE BETWEEN SAID DATED PROCEEDINGS WERE PENDING ON AN APPLICATION FOR A WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS. SAVAGE WAS GRANTED A PENSION UNDER THE ACT OF JUNE 5. THAT THE BASIS FOR SAID PENSION WAS THE CLAIMANT'S MENTAL CONDITION.

A-10937, SEPTEMBER 23, 1925, 5 COMP. GEN. 218

ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL - CARE OF FEDERAL PRISONERS WHO ARE PENSIONERS THE PENSION OF A FEDERAL PRISONER, BECOMING INSANE DURING CONFINEMENT IN A FEDERAL PENITENTIARY AND TRANSFERRED TO ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 7, 1882, 22 STAT. 330, IS CHARGEABLE WITH THE CARE OF THE PATIENT WHILE IN ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL DURING THE PERIOD OF HIS PRISON SENTENCE AND SUBSEQUENT THERETO UNTIL LAWFULLY RELEASED, IN THE AMOUNT FIXED BY REGULATIONS OF THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 4849, REVISED STATUTES, AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 2, 1909, 35 STAT. 592. THE APPROPRIATIONS FOR ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL, RATHER THAN THE APPROPRIATIONS UNDER THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE FOR THE SUPPORT OF PRISONERS, ARE LIABLE FOR THE CARE OF INSANE FEDERAL PRISONERS TRANSFERRED FROM A FEDERAL PENITENTIARY TO ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL. 4 COMP. GEN. 445, DISTINGUISHED.

DECISION BY ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL GINN, SEPTEMBER 23, 1925:

JOHN A. SAVAGE HAS FILED CLAIM IN THIS OFFICE FOR THE SUM OF $190 DEDUCTED FROM HIS PENSION FOR BOARD WHILE AN INMATE OF ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL.

IT APPEARS FROM THE RECORD THAT THE CLAIMANT WAS CONVICTED AND SENTENCED TO IMPRISONMENT IN THE FEDERAL PENITENTIARY, LEAVENWORTH, KANS., FOR USING THE MAILS TO DEFRAUD. ON AUGUST 21, 1924, HE WAS TRANSFERRED AND ADMITTED TO ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL AS INSANE IN ACCORDANCE WITH AN ORDER OF THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, REQUESTED BY THE ATTORNEY GENERAL UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 7, 1882, 22 STAT. 330. IT IS STATED THAT THE PRISON SENTENCE EXPIRED APRIL 13, 1925, BUT CLAIMANT WAS NOT RELEASED FROM ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL UNTIL MAY 8, 1925, PRESUMABLY BECAUSE BETWEEN SAID DATED PROCEEDINGS WERE PENDING ON AN APPLICATION FOR A WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS.

THE COMMISSIONER OF PENSIONS HAS REPORTED THAT MR. SAVAGE WAS GRANTED A PENSION UNDER THE ACT OF JUNE 5, 1920, 41 STAT. 982, AT THE RATE OF $30 PER MONTH, EFFECTIVE FROM SEPTEMBER 16, 1924, DATE OF APPLICATION THEREFOR, AND THAT THE BASIS FOR SAID PENSION WAS THE CLAIMANT'S MENTAL CONDITION, ON ACCOUNT OF WHICH HE WAS CONFINED IN ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL.

IN ACCORDANCE WITH SECTION 4849, REVISED STATUTES, AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 2, 1909, 35 STAT. 592, AND REGULATIONS OF THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR PURSUANT THERETO, THE HOSPITAL AUTHORITIES RECEIVED THE PENSION MONEY OF THE CLAIMANT AT THE RATE OF $30 PER MONTH, COVERING THE PERIOD FROM SEPTEMBER 16, 1924, TO APRIL 30, 1925, AMOUNTING IN ALL TO $228. THE AMOUNT OF $190 WAS APPLIED BY THE HOSPITAL FOR BOARD OF THE PATIENT, AND $38, OR ONE-SIXTH OF THE PENSION, SET ASIDE TO HIS CREDIT. OF THIS $38 CLAIMANT DREW $1.35 MARCH 7, 1925, AND WAS PAID THE BALANCE OF $36.65, AUGUST 27, 1925, AFTER HE HAD LEFT THE HOSPITAL.

CLAIMANT IS CONTENDING THAT THE APPROPRIATION FOR "SUPPORT OF PRISONERS," UNDER THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, IS PROPERLY AND EXCLUSIVELY CHARGEABLE WITH THE COST OF HIS CARE DURING THE PERIOD OF HIS SENTENCE WHILE IN THE PRISON AND ALSO WHILE IN ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL; ALSO THAT HE WAS UNLAWFULLY TRANSFERRED AND COMMITTED TO ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL, UNLAWFULLY DETAINED AFTER THE EXPIRATION OF HIS SENTENCE, AND THAT HIS PENSION MONEY IS NOT LIABLE FOR HIS CARE FOR THAT PERIOD.

REPORTS HAVE BEEN MADE BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE AUTHORITIES OF ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL IN WHICH IT IS CONTENDED THAT THE APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE HOSPITAL WERE CHARGEABLE WITH THE CARE OF THIS PATIENT DURING THE ENTIRE PERIOD OF HIS CONFINEMENT THERE, AND NOT THE APPROPRIATION UNDER THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, AND THAT SUCH HOSPITAL APPROPRIATION IS ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT TO THE EXTENT OF THE REGULATION AMOUNT DEDUCTIBLE FROM THE PATIENT'S PENSION MONEY. APPARENTLY THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE CONCURS IN THE VIEW OF THE AUTHORITIES OF ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL RELATIVE TO THE APPROPRIATION AVAILABLE FOR THE CARE OF THE CLAIMANT.

THE ACT OF AUGUST 7, 1882, 22 STAT. 330, PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

THAT UPON THE APPLICATION OF THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL, THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR BE, AND HE IS HEREBY, AUTHORIZED AND DIRECTED TO TRANSFER TO THE GOVERNMENT HOSPITAL FOR THE INSANE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA ALL PERSONS WHO, HAVING BEEN CHARGED WITH OFFENSES AGAINST THE UNITED STATES, ARE IN THE ACTUAL CUSTODY OF ITS OFFICERS, AND ALL PERSONS WHO HAVE BEEN OR SHALL BE CONVICTED OF ANY OFFENSE IN A COURT OF THE UNITED STATES AND ARE IMPRISONED IN ANY STATE PRISON OR PENITENTIARY OF ANY STATE OR TERRITORY, AND WHO DURING THE TERM OF THEIR IMPRISONMENT HAVE OR SHALL BECOME AND BE INSANE.

IT IS ALLEGED BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICERS THAT THE TRANSFER OF THE CLAIMANT TO ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL DURING THE PERIOD OF HIS SENTENCE IN THE FEDERAL PENITENTIARY WHILE HE WAS "IN THE ACTUAL CUSTODY" OF THE OFFICERS OF THE UNITED STATES WAS REGULARLY AFFECTED UNDER THIS STATUTE, AND NOTHING APPEARS TO INDICATE ANY ILLEGALITY IN THE TRANSFER AND COMMITMENT OF CLAIMANT TO ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL EXCEPT HIS OWN STATEMENT AND ARGUMENTS RELATIVE TO ABSENCE OF HEARING AND DUE PROCESS OF LAW. WILL BE NOTED THAT THE STATUTE DOES NOT REQUIRE OR PROVIDE FOR ANY HEARING AS A PREREQUISITE TO THE TRANSFER AUTHORIZED TO BE EFFECTED BY THE ATTORNEY GENERAL AND THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR. FURTHERMORE, CLAIMANT'S STATEMENTS AND ARGUMENTS WITH RESPECT TO THE ILLEGALITY OF HIS TRANSFER AS INSANE TO ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL ARE INCONSISTENT WITH HIS APPLICATION FOR AND RECEIPT OF A PENSION FROM THE GOVERNMENT ON THE BASIS OF HIS MENTAL CONDITION FOR WHICH HE WAS CONFINED IN ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL. IF HE WAS NOT MENTALLY INCAPACITATED AT THE TIME OF TRANSFER TO AND DURING HIS CONFINEMENT IN ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL, THEN IT WOULD APPEAR THAT THERE WAS NO LEGAL AUTHORITY FOR THE GRANT OF PENSION FOR SUCH PERIOD. HOWEVER, FOR SUCH PERIOD AND FOR THE PERIOD SUBSEQUENT TO HIS RELEASE THE LEGALITY OF THE PENSION IS A MATTER FOR DETERMINATION BY THE COMMISSIONER OF PENSIONS UNDER THE TERMS OF THE CONTROLLING STATUTE ON THE BASIS OF THE ACTUAL MENTAL OR PHYSICAL CONDITION OF THE CLAIMANT.

REGARDLESS OF WHETHER CLAIMANT'S CONFINEMENT AND DETENTION IN THE HOSPITAL WAS LEGAL OR ILLEGAL, HE WAS IN FACT DURING THE PERIOD HERE INVOLVED "AN INMATE OF" THE HOSPITAL WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF THE PROVISIONS IN SECTION 4849, REVISED STATUTES, AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 2, 1909, 35 STAT. 592, WHICH READS:

* * * DURING THE TIME THAT ANY PENSIONER SHALL BE AN INMATE OF THE GOVERNMENT HOSPITAL FOR THE INSANE, ALL MONEY DUE OR BECOMING DUE UPON HIS OR HER PENSION SHALL BE PAID BY THE PENSION AGENT TO THE SUPERINTENDENT OR DISBURSING AGENT OF THE HOSPITAL, UPON A CERTIFICATE BY SUCH SUPERINTENDENT THAT THE PENSIONER IS AN INMATE OF THE HOSPITAL AND IS LIVING, AND SUCH PENSION MONEY SHALL BE BY SAID SUPERINTENDENT OR DISBURSING AGENT DISBURSED AND USED, UNDER REGULATIONS TO BE PRESCRIBED BY THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE PENSIONER, AND, IN CASE OF A MALE PENSIONER, HIS WIFE, MINOR CHILDREN, AND DEPENDENT PARENTS, OR, IF A FEMALE PENSIONER, HER MINOR CHILDREN, IF ANY, IN THE ORDER NAMED, AND TO PAY HIS OR HER BOARD AND MAINTENANCE IN THE HOSPITAL, THE REMAINDER OF SUCH PENSION MONEY, IF ANY, TO BE PLACED TO THE CREDIT OF THE PENSIONER AND TO BE PAID TO THE PENSIONER OR THE GUARDIAN OF THE PENSIONER IN THE EVENT OF HIS OR HER DISCHARGE FROM THE HOSPITAL; OR, IN THE EVENT OF THE DEATH OF SAID PENSIONER WHILE AN INMATE OF SAID HOSPITAL, SHALL, IF A FEMALE PENSIONER, BE PAID TO HER MINOR CHILDREN, AND, IN THE CASE OF A MALE PENSIONER, TO BE PAID TO HIS WIFE, IF LIVING; IF NO WIFE SURVIVES HIM, THEN TO HIS MINOR CHILDREN; AND IN CASE THERE IS NO WIFE OR MINOR CHILDREN, THEN THE SAID UNEXPENDED BALANCE TO HIS OR HER CREDIT SHALL BE APPLIED TO THE GENERAL USES OF SAID HOSPITAL: * * *.

IT WILL BE NOTED THAT THE STATUTE INCLUDES ANY PENSIONER. IT IS IMMATERIAL, THEREFORE, UNDER WHAT LAW THE PENSIONER ENTERS THE HOSPITAL OR WHAT APPROPRIATION MAY BE OTHERWISE CHARGEABLE WITH THE COST OF THE PATIENT'S CARE. UNDER THE PLAIN TERMS OF THE STATUTE INVOLVED THE ONLY PREREQUISITE TO THE PAYMENT OF THE PENSION MONEY TO THE AUTHORITIES OF THE HOSPITAL AND THE APPLICATION OF A PORTION THEREOF TO COVER COST OF THE PENSIONER'S BOARD IS THE "CERTIFICATE BY SUCH SUPERINTENDENT THAT THE PENSIONER IS AN INMATE OF THE HOSPITAL AND IS LIVING.' THE FACT THAT THE GOVERNMENT WOULD HAVE BORNE THE EXPENSES OF THIS MAN'S CARE AND MAINTENANCE IF HE HAD REMAINED IN THE FEDERAL PRISON DURING THE PERIOD IN QUESTION CAN NOT OPERATE TO AUTHORIZE PAYING THE PENSION HERE INVOLVED TO THE PENSIONER IN CONTRAVENTION OF THE PLAIN PROVISIONS OF THE STATUTE, SUPRA. FOR THE PERIOD BETWEEN THE EXPIRATION OF THE PRISON SENTENCE AND THE DATE OF RELEASE OF THE CLAIMANT THE SUPERINTENDENT OF ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL COULD NOT HAVE RELEASED HIM BECAUSE OF THE PENDING HABEAS CORPUS PROCEEDING WHICH HAD BEEN INSTITUTED ON BEHALF OF CLAIMANT BEFORE THE EXPIRATION OF THE PRISON SENTENCE, AND AS HE REMAINED AN INMATE OF THE INSTITUTION THE CERTIFICATE MADE BY THE SUPERINTENDENT TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR WOULD BE SUFFICIENT BASIS FOR CHARGING THE PENSION MONEY OF THE CLAIMANT WITH THE REGULATION AMOUNT UP TO THE DATE OF FINAL RELEASE FROM THE INSTITUTION. ACCORDINGLY THE CLAIM FOR THE AMOUNT WITHHELD ON ACCOUNT OF BOARD, TO WIT, $190, MUST BE AND IS DISALLOWED AND THE DISBURSING OFFICER OF THE HOSPITAL IS AUTHORIZED TO COVER SAID AMOUNT INTO THE TREASURY TO THE CREDIT OF THE PROPER APPROPRIATION FOR THE SUPPORT OF ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL.

THE FURTHER QUESTION HAS BEEN PRESENTED BY THE RECORD WHETHER THE APPROPRIATION "SAINT ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL," ACT OF JUNE 5, 1924, 43 STAT. 429, OR THE APPROPRIATION "SUPPORT OF PRISONERS," UNDER THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, ACT OF MAY 28, 1924, 43 STAT. 223, WAS ULTIMATELY CHARGEABLE WITH THE CARE OF THIS PATIENT WHILE IN ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL OVER AND ABOVE THE AMOUNT CHARGEABLE TO THE PENSION.

THE APPROPRIATION "SAINT ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL" PROVIDES:

FOR SUPPORT, CLOTHING AND TREATMENT IN SAINT ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL FOR THE INSANE * * * PERSONS CHARGED WITH OR CONVICTED OF CRIMES AGAINST THE UNITED STATES WHO ARE INSANE, * * * PROVIDED, THAT DURING THE FISCAL YEAR 1925 THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, OR ANY BRANCH OF THE GOVERNMENT REQUIRING SAINT ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL TO CARE FOR PATIENTS FOR WHICH THEY ARE RESPONSIBLE, SHALL PAY BY CHECK TO THE SUPERINTENDENT, UPON HIS WRITTEN REQUEST, EITHER IN ADVANCE OR AT THE END OF EACH MONTH, ALL OR PART OF THE ESTIMATED OR ACTUAL COST FOR SUCH MAINTENANCE AS THE CASE MAY BE, AND BILLS RENDERED BY THE SUPERINTENDENT OF SAINT ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL IN ACCORDANCE HEREWITH SHALL NOT BE SUBJECT TO AUDIT OR CERTIFICATION IN ADVANCE OF PAYMENT; PROPER ADJUSTMENTS ON THE BASIS OF THE ACTUAL COST OF THE CARE OF PATIENTS PAID FOR IN ADVANCE SHALL BE MADE MONTHLY OR QUARTERLY, AS MAY BE AGREED UPON BETWEEN THE SUPERINTENDENT OF SAINT ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL AND THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA GOVERNMENT, DEPARTMENT, OR ESTABLISHMENTS CONCERNED. ALL SUMS PAID TO THE SUPERINTENDENT OF SAINT ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL FOR THE CARE OF PATIENTS THAT HE IS AUTHORIZED BY LAW TO RECEIVE, SHALL BE DEPOSITED TO THE CREDIT ON THE BOOKS OF THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT, OF THE APPROPRIATION MADE FOR THE CARE AND MAINTENANCE OF THE PATIENTS AT SAINT ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL FOR THE YEAR IN WHICH THE SUPPORT, CLOTHING, AND TREATMENT IS PROVIDED, AND BE SUBJECT TO REQUISITION BY THE DISBURSING AGENT OF SAINT ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL, UPON THE APPROVAL OF THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR.

THE APPROPRIATION "SUPPORT OF PRISONERS" PROVIDES:

* * * FOR SUPPORT OF UNITED STATES PRISONERS, INCLUDING NECESSARY CLOTHING AND MEDICAL AID * * * SUPPORT OF PRISONERS BECOMING INSANE DURING IMPRISONMENT, AND WHO CONTINUE INSANE AFTER EXPIRATION OF SENTENCE WHO HAVE NO FRIENDS TO WHOM THEY CAN BE SENT * * *.

THIS APPROPRIATION HAS NO APPLICATION TO PRISONERS CONFINED IN THE LEAVENWORTH PENITENTIARY, SPECIFIC APPROPRIATIONS BEING MADE FOR THE SUPPORT OF SUCH PRISONERS.

THE PRACTICE HERETOFORE HAS BEEN TO CHARGE THE COST OF CARING FOR FEDERAL PRISONERS IN ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL TO THE APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE HOSPITAL, AND THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER OF THE HOSPITAL STATES THAT UNDER THIS PRACTICE NO DEMAND HAS BEEN MADE OR WILL BE MADE ON THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE FOR REIMBURSEMENT IN THIS CASE. THE PHRASE IN THE APPROPRIATIONS FOR ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL,"PERSONS CHARGED WITH OR CONVICTED OF CRIMES AGAINST THE UNITED STATES WHO ARE INSANE," MUST BE HELD TO INCLUDE FEDERAL PRISONERS TRANSFERRED UNDER THE ACT OF 1882, SUPRA. THE PROVISION IN THE APPROPRIATION ACT FOR ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL FOR REIMBURSEMENT BY OTHER DEPARTMENTS IS LIMITED TO THE CARE OF "PATIENTS FOR WHICH THEY ARE RESPONSIBLE.' WHEN AN INSANE FEDERAL PRISONER IS TRANSFERRED FROM THE JURISDICTION OF THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE TO THE JURISDICTION OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL, UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF 1882, SUPRA, RESPONSIBILITY OF THE FORMER DEPARTMENT FOR THE CARE AND MAINTENANCE OF THE PRISONER CEASES AND IS NOT RESUMED UNLESS AND UNTIL THE PATIENT IS DISCHARGED FROM THE HOSPITAL DURING THE PERIOD OF HIS SENTENCE AND IS REQUIRED TO RETURN TO THE PRISON TO COMPLETE SAID SENTENCE. ACCORDINGLY, THE APPROPRIATION "SAINT ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL" WAS PROPERLY CHARGEABLE WITH THE CARE OF CLAIMANT DURING THE PERIOD OF HIS CONFINEMENT IN ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL, SUBJECT TO REIMBURSEMENT FROM PENSION MONEY TO THE EXTENT AUTHORIZED BY LAW AS HEREINBEFORE INDICATED.

THIS CASE IS TO BE DISTINGUISHED FROM 4 COMP. GEN. 445, WHEREIN IT WAS HELD THAT THE APPROPRIATIONS OF THE VETERANS' BUREAU, RATHER THAN THE APPROPRIATIONS OF ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL, WERE LIABLE FOR THE CARE OF AN INSANE PENSIONER UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT, OVER AND ABOVE THE AMOUNT OF PENSION PROPERLY DEDUCTIBLE, AND PROVIDING FOR REIMBURSEMENT BY THE VETERANS' BUREAU FOR THE REASON THAT THE VETERANS' BUREAU IS "RESPONSIBLE" FOR THE CARE OF ITS BENEFICIARIES WHILE IN ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL RECEIVING MEDICAL TREATMENT WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE APPROPRIATION ACTS FOR ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL.