A-13686, APRIL 5, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 796

A-13686: Apr 5, 1926

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TO HOSPITALS OF THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE IS NOT AUTHORIZED. " IS NOT AVAILABLE FOR THE COST OF MEDICAL TREATMENT OR BURIAL EXPENSES OF SUCH PERSONS. IT APPEARS THAT THE PATIENTS DESIGNATED AS PAY PATIENTS ARE EMPLOYEES OF THE GOVERNMENT WHO ARE NOT ENTITLED TO FREE TREATMENT IN MARINE OR PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE HOSPITALS. WHO ARE ADMITTED THEREIN ON CONDITION THAT THE COST OF THEIR CARE AND TREATMENT WILL BE PAID BY THE BRANCH OF THE SERVICE IN WHICH THEY ARE EMPLOYED AND ON WHOSE REQUEST THEY ARE ADMITTED. THE FIRST QUESTION FOR CONSIDERATION IN THIS CONNECTION IS WHETHER THERE IS ANY AUTHORITY OF LAW FOR THE ADMISSION OF THE INDICATED PERSONS TO SUCH HOSPITALS. IN THIS CONNECTION IT IS DESIRED TO STATE THAT IN COMPUTING THE PER DIEM RATE FOR HOSPITAL RELIEF THE COST OF BURIALS IS INCLUDED.

A-13686, APRIL 5, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 796

PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE HOSPITALS - MEDICAL TREATMENT - BURIAL EXPENSES THE ADMISSION OF PERSONS OTHER THAN THOSE SPECIFIED IN THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1919, 40 STAT. 1302, AND IN CERTAIN SUBSEQUENT ACTS WHICH DO NOT INCLUDE PAY PATIENTS, TO HOSPITALS OF THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE IS NOT AUTHORIZED, AND THE APPROPRIATION "PAY OF PERSONNEL AND MAINTENANCE OF HOSPITALS, PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE," IS NOT AVAILABLE FOR THE COST OF MEDICAL TREATMENT OR BURIAL EXPENSES OF SUCH PERSONS.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, APRIL 5, 1926:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 13, 1926, IN CONNECTION WITH THE CLAIM OF MCCOY AND JOYNER, UNDERTAKERS, FOR $130 FOR THE BURIAL OF TWO PERSONS, EMPLOYEES OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER COMMISSION, WHO DIED IN MARINE HOSPITAL NO. 12, MEMPHIS, TENN., WHEREIN YOU REQUEST DECISION OF THE GENERAL QUESTION WHETHER DECEASED PAY PATIENTS IN SUCH HOSPITALS SHOULD BE BURIED AT THE EXPENSE OF THE GOVERNMENT UNDER THE APPROPRIATION "PAY OF PERSONNEL AND MAINTENANCE OF HOSPITALS, PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE.' IT APPEARS THAT THE PATIENTS DESIGNATED AS PAY PATIENTS ARE EMPLOYEES OF THE GOVERNMENT WHO ARE NOT ENTITLED TO FREE TREATMENT IN MARINE OR PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE HOSPITALS, BUT WHO ARE ADMITTED THEREIN ON CONDITION THAT THE COST OF THEIR CARE AND TREATMENT WILL BE PAID BY THE BRANCH OF THE SERVICE IN WHICH THEY ARE EMPLOYED AND ON WHOSE REQUEST THEY ARE ADMITTED.

THE FIRST QUESTION FOR CONSIDERATION IN THIS CONNECTION IS WHETHER THERE IS ANY AUTHORITY OF LAW FOR THE ADMISSION OF THE INDICATED PERSONS TO SUCH HOSPITALS.

PARAGRAPHS 3 AND 4 OF YOUR LETTER, SUPRA, READ:

THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE HAS NOT HERETOFORE HAD OCCASION TO CONSIDER THE LEGALITY OF PAYMENT OF BURIAL EXPENSES OF PAY PATIENTS AND THEREFORE ITS FIELD SERVICE HAS NOT BEEN INSTRUCTED IN THE PREMISES.

IN THIS CONNECTION IT IS DESIRED TO STATE THAT IN COMPUTING THE PER DIEM RATE FOR HOSPITAL RELIEF THE COST OF BURIALS IS INCLUDED, AND IT IS DESIRED TO INQUIRE WHETHER IN YOUR OPINION THE APPROPRIATION "PAY OF PERSONNEL AND MAINTENANCE OF HOSPITALS, PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE, 1926," MAY BE UTILIZED FOR THE PAYMENT OF CHARGES OF THE CHARACTER IN QUESTION.

SECTION 1 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1919, 40 STAT. 1302, PROVIDES:

THAT THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY BE, AND HE IS HEREBY, AUTHORIZED TO PROVIDE IMMEDIATE ADDITIONAL HOSPITAL AND SANATORIUM FACILITIES FOR THE CARE AND TREATMENT OF DISCHARGED SICK AND DISABLED SOLDIERS, SAILORS, AND MARINES, ARMY AND NAVY NURSES (MALE AND FEMALE), PATIENTS OF THE WAR RISK INSURANCE BUREAU, AND THE FOLLOWING PERSONS ONLY: MERCHANT MARINE SEAMEN, SEAMEN ON BOATS OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER COMMISSION, OFFICERS AND ENLISTED MEN OF THE UNITED STATES COAST GUARD, OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE, CERTAIN KEEPERS AND ASSISTANT KEEPERS OF THE UNITED STATES LIGHTHOUSE SERVICE, SEAMEN OF THE ENGINEER CORPS OF THE UNITED STATES ARMY, OFFICERS AND ENLISTED MEN OF THE UNITED STATES COAST AND GEODETIC SURVEY, CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES ENTITLED TO TREATMENT UNDER THE UNITED STATES EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION ACT, AND EMPLOYEES ON ARMY TRANSPORTS NOT OFFICERS OR ENLISTED MEN OF THE ARMY, NOW ENTITLED BY LAW TO TREATMENT BY THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE.

IN CONSIDERING WHETHER PATIENTS OFFERED BY THE HEALTH AUTHORITIES OF FLORIDA MIGHT BE ADMITTED TO A PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE HOSPITAL ON A PAYING BASIS, THE FORMER COMPTROLLER OF THE TREASURY, WITH REFERENCE TO THE ABOVE QUOTED PROVISION, SAID (26 COMP. DEC. 8):

THIS PROVISION NOT ONLY NAMES THE CLASSES OF PERSONS FOR WHOM THE CARE AND TREATMENT AUTHORIZED UNDER THE ACT ARE PROVIDED, BUT BY THE USE OF THE WORD "ONLY" EXPRESSLY EXCLUDES ANY OTHER PERSONS FROM ITS BENEFITS.

THE PURPOSES OF THE ACT ARE CLEARLY DEFINED BY ITS TERMS AND THEY CAN NOT LAWFULLY BE ENLARGED OR EXTENDED BY ANY CONSIDERATIONS OF POLICY, COURTESY, OR ECONOMY.

THE PROPOSED ARRANGEMENT WOULD RESULT IN THE USE OF AN APPROPRIATION FOR A PURPOSE OTHER THAN THAT FOR WHICH MADE AND SUCH USE, EVEN IN THE FIRST INSTANCE ONLY AND UNDER AN AGREEMENT FOR REIMBURSEMENT, WOULD BE IN DIRECT CONTRAVENTION OF THE PLAIN PROVISIONS OF SECTION 3678, REVISED STATUTES.

WITH THIS CONSTRUCTION I CONCUR AND IT IS ACCORDINGLY HELD THAT THERE IS NO AUTHORITY OF LAW FOR THE ADMISSION OF ANY PERSONS TO THE HOSPITALS OTHER THAN THOSE SPECIFIED IN THE ACT, SUPRA, AND IN CERTAIN SUBSEQUENT ACTS WHICH DO NOT INCLUDE PAY PATIENTS. CONSEQUENTLY, THE APPROPRIATION IN QUESTION IS NOT AVAILABLE TO PAY FOR THE CARE, TREATMENT, OR BURIAL EXPENSES OF PERSONS ADMITTED TO THE HOSPITALS CONTRARY TO THE PROVISIONS OF SAID STATUTES.

THE CLAIM OF MCCOY AND JOYNER, SUPRA, WILL BE ALLOWED, BUT THE PRACTICE OF ADMITTING, TREATING, OR BURYING PAY PATIENTS WITHOUT SPECIFIC STATUTORY AUTHORITY THEREFOR SHOULD BE DISCONTINUED.