A-13893, MAY 3, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 890

A-13893: May 3, 1926

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SAINT ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL - PRIVATE FUNDS OF PATIENTS UPON THE TRANSFER OF AN INSANE PATIENT FROM SAINT ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL TO A VETERANS' BUREAU HOSPITAL HIS PRIVATE FUNDS RECEIVED FROM SOME OTHER SOURCE THAN THE VETERANS' BUREAU MAY NOT BE TRANSFERRED TO THE HOSPITAL TO WHICH THE PATIENT IS TRANSFERRED IN THE ABSENCE OF A REQUEST. DECISION IS REQUESTED ON A MATTER PRESENTED AS FOLLOWS: ON NOVEMBER 15. SEVERAL PATIENTS FROM THIS (SAINT ELIZABETHS) HOSPITAL WERE TRANSFERRED TO THE VETERANS' BUREAU HOSPITAL AT CHILLICOTHE. WHICH WERE NOT RECEIVED THROUGH THE VETERANS' BUREAU. AN ATTEMPT WAS MADE TO HAVE THESE PATIENTS SIGN FOR SUCH FUNDS. VOUCHERS WERE PROPERLY SIGNED AND THE MONEY TRANSFERRED IN ALL EXCEPT THREE CASES.

A-13893, MAY 3, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 890

SAINT ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL - PRIVATE FUNDS OF PATIENTS UPON THE TRANSFER OF AN INSANE PATIENT FROM SAINT ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL TO A VETERANS' BUREAU HOSPITAL HIS PRIVATE FUNDS RECEIVED FROM SOME OTHER SOURCE THAN THE VETERANS' BUREAU MAY NOT BE TRANSFERRED TO THE HOSPITAL TO WHICH THE PATIENT IS TRANSFERRED IN THE ABSENCE OF A REQUEST, ORDER, OR CONSENT, FROM SOMEONE AUTHORIZED TO ACT FOR THE PATIENT IN THE MATTER. THE PATIENT HAS BEEN FOUND SANE AFTER HIS TRANSFER, HIS FUNDS MAY BE FORWARDED TO HIM BY CHECK TO HIS ORDER, IN CARE OF THE HOSPITAL TO WHICH TRANSFERRED.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, MAY 3, 1926:

BY YOUR REFERENCE OF APRIL 7, 1926, DECISION IS REQUESTED ON A MATTER PRESENTED AS FOLLOWS:

ON NOVEMBER 15, 1924, SEVERAL PATIENTS FROM THIS (SAINT ELIZABETHS) HOSPITAL WERE TRANSFERRED TO THE VETERANS' BUREAU HOSPITAL AT CHILLICOTHE, OHIO, UNDER THE ORDERS OF THE DIRECTOR OF THE U.S. VETERANS' BUREAU. SEVERAL OF THESE PATIENTS HAD PERSONAL FUNDS TO THEIR CREDIT, WHICH WERE NOT RECEIVED THROUGH THE VETERANS' BUREAU. AN ATTEMPT WAS MADE TO HAVE THESE PATIENTS SIGN FOR SUCH FUNDS, SO THAT THE MONEY COULD BE TRANSFERRED WITH THEM. VOUCHERS WERE PROPERLY SIGNED AND THE MONEY TRANSFERRED IN ALL EXCEPT THREE CASES, AS FOLLOWS:

TABLE

EMIL A. AUER, BALANCE TO HIS CREDIT ---------------------- $2.00

STANLEY COLENSKI, BALANCE TO HIS CREDIT ------------------ 156.18

BERNARD G. RATTERMAN, BALANCE TO HIS CREDIT -------------- 177.62

SEVERAL LETTERS HAVE BEEN WRITTEN TO THE MEDICAL OFFICER IN CHARGE OF THE VETERANS' BUREAU HOSPITAL, ASKING HIS ASSISTANCE IN SECURING THE RETURN OF THE VOUCHERS PROPERLY SIGNED, SO THAT THE MONEY COULD BE TRANSFERRED TO THAT HOSPITAL FOR THE PATIENTS. UP TO THIS DATE, IN THE CASES MENTIONED, NO VOUCHERS HAVE BEEN RECEIVED. IT WOULD SEEM THAT INASMUCH AS THE HOSPITAL HAS NO JURISDICTION OVER THE PATIENT AND THE MONEY CAN NOT BE USED FOR ANY PURPOSE WHILE IN THE POSSESSION OF SAINT ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL, SOME STEPS SHOULD BE TAKEN TO TRANSFER THE MONEY TO THAT HOSPITAL WHERE THE PATIENT IS BEING TREATED. IT WOULD SEEM THAT THE PATIENTS ARE NOT IN CONDITION TO SIGN A VOUCHER NOW MAKING CLAIM FOR THE MONEY BELONGING TO THEM. WE HAVE MANY CASES OF THIS SORT, BUT THE THREE CITED ARE FAIR EXAMPLES. OF COURSE, IF THIS MONEY HAD BEEN RECEIVED BY THE PATIENTS AS BENEFICIARIES OF THE VETERANS' BUREAU, IT COULD BE TURNED BACK TO THE VETERANS' BUREAU AND TAKEN CARE OF IN THAT MANNER, BUT THIS IS PERSONAL MONEY RECEIVED FROM OUTSIDE SOURCES, PERHAPS FINAL PAY FROM THE ARMY OR NAVY OR MONEY GIVEN THEM BY FRIENDS, OR WHAT NOT.

I HAVE THE HONOR TO REQUEST THAT YOU TRANSMIT COPY OF THIS LETTER TO THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL SO THAT HE MAY ADVISE US IN THESE CASES, AND SIMILAR CASES THAT MIGHT ARISE, IF WE WOULD BE AUTHORIZED TO TRANSMIT MONEY OF THIS CLASS TO BE DEPOSITED TO THE CREDIT OF THESE PATIENTS WITHOUT FORMAL VOUCHER BEING SIGNED BY THE INDIVIDUAL PATIENTS. THE CHECKS COULD BE DRAWN TO THE ORDER OF THE OFFICER IN CHARGE OF THE HOSPITAL WERE THE PATIENTS ARE TRANSFERRED.

THE QUESTION OF THE DISPOSITION OF SUCH MONEYS WAS HERETOFORE PRESENTED TO THIS OFFICE BY YOUR REFERENCE OF APRIL 8, 1924, AND IN MY DECISION TO YOU OF JUNE 20, 1924, A-2080, IT WAS STATED:

IF THE MONEYS BELONG TO A CLASS OF PATIENTS AS TO WHICH THE LAW HAS DIRECTED NO SPECIFIC APPLICATION OF THEIR MONEYS WHILE PATIENTS OF THE HOSPITAL, IT WOULD APPEAR THAT UPON A TRANSFER OF THE PATIENT TO ANOTHER HOSPITAL OR INSTITUTION THE MONEYS OF THE PATIENT SHOULD FOLLOW THE PATIENT AND BE TRANSFERRED TO THE OTHER HOSPITAL OR INSTITUTION, IT BEING UNDERSTOOD THAT OTHER PROPERTY OF THE PATIENT THAN MONEY WOULD BE SO TRANSFERRED. IN THIS CONNECTION THE AUTHORITY OR ORDER WHICH DIRECTS THE TRANSFER OF THE PATIENT MAY HAVE SOME BEARING. IF THERE BE SUCH AN ORDER GIVEN BY COMPETENT AUTHORITY IT SHOULD INCLUDE A DIRECTION AS TO THE DISPOSITION OF THE MONEYS OR PROPERTY OF THE PATIENT, THERE BEING INCLUDED A CONSENT TO SUCH DISPOSITION OF THE MONEYS BY THOSE SO RELATED OR CONNECTED WITH THE PATIENT AS MAY PROPERLY GIVE SUCH CONSENT; OR BY THOSE WHOSE CONSENT IS ORDINARILY REQUIRED TO BE OBTAINED IN OTHER MATTERS CONCERNING THE WELFARE OF THE PATIENT; OBSERVING ALSO, THAT IF THERE BE A COMMITTEE OF THE PERSON OR PROPERTY OF THE PATIENT, THAT THE ACQUITTANCE OF SUCH COMMITTEE FOR THE DELIVERY OF THE MONEYS OR OTHER PROPERTY OF THE PATIENT BE OBTAINED.

IN CONNECTION THEREWITH IT MAY BE STATED THAT A VOUCHER OR RECEIPT SIGNED BY AN INSANE PERSON WOULD NOT CONSTITUTE A PROPER RELEASE FROM RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE FUNDS OF SUCH PATIENT. IF NO AUTHORITY FOR THE DISPOSITION OF SUCH FUNDS AS INDICATED IN MY DECISION OF JUNE 20, 1924, CAN BE SECURED AND THE PATIENT HAS NOT BEEN DECLARED SANE, THERE WOULD APPEAR TO BE NO AUTHORITY FOR TRANSFERRING THE FUNDS IN QUESTION. IF THE PATIENT HAS BEEN DECLARED SANE BY PROPER AUTHORITY THE FUNDS MAY BE TRANSFERRED BY A CHECK, TO THE ORDER OF THE PATIENT, SENT TO HIM IN CARE OF THE HOSPITAL TO WHICH TRANSFERRED.