A-14470, NOVEMBER 30, 1926, 6 COMP. GEN. 372

A-14470: Nov 30, 1926

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

NAVAL HOSPITALS ARE NOT ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FROM THE EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION FUND FOR MEDICAL AND HOSPITAL SERVICES. HELD THAT ARMY HOSPITALS AND DISPENSARIES ARE NOT ENTITLED TO BE REIMBURSED FROM THE EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION FUND FOR THE COST OF MEDICAL AND HOSPITAL SERVICES. REFERENCE IS ALSO MADE TO THE CITATIONS GIVEN IN THAT DECISION IN SUPPORT OF ITS CONCLUSION. THE EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION COMMISSION IS NOT AUTHORIZED. THE INTENT OF THE STATUTE IS THAT ALL AVAILABLE FACILITIES OF THE UNITED STATES FOR FURNISHING MEDICAL AND HOSPITAL SERVICES AND SUPPLIES SHALL BE UTILIZED FOR THE TREATMENT OF INJURED CIVIL EMPLOYEES OF THE UNITED STATES WHO ARE BENEFICIARIES UNDER THE EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION ACT.

A-14470, NOVEMBER 30, 1926, 6 COMP. GEN. 372

MEDICAL TREATMENT - BENEFICIARIES UNDER EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION ACT FURNISHED TREATMENT IN NAVAL HOSPITALS UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 9 OF THE EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION ACT, AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF JUNE 26, 1926, 44 STAT. 772, NAVAL HOSPITALS ARE NOT ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FROM THE EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION FUND FOR MEDICAL AND HOSPITAL SERVICES, APPLIANCES, AND SUPPLIES FURNISHED BY SUCH HOSPITALS TO BENEFICIARIES UNDER THE ACT.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, NOVEMBER 30, 1926:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR REQUEST OF OCTOBER 23, 1926, FOR RECONSIDERATION OF SO MUCH OF DECISION DATED AUGUST 5, 1926, A-14470, AS HELD AS FOLLOWS:

PARAGRAPH 6 HAS BEEN MODIFIED TO PROVIDE THAT NO CHARGE SHALL BE MADE AGAINST THE UNITED STATES (EMPLOYEES) COMPENSATION COMMISSION FOR NAVAL MEDICAL OR HOSPITAL TREATMENT, IN ACCORD WITH DECISION OF JULY 27, 1926, A -14820.

THE DECISION OF JULY 27, 1926, A-14820, 6 COMP. GEN. 78, 80, HELD THAT ARMY HOSPITALS AND DISPENSARIES ARE NOT ENTITLED TO BE REIMBURSED FROM THE EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION FUND FOR THE COST OF MEDICAL AND HOSPITAL SERVICES, APPLIANCES, AND SUPPLIES FURNISHED BENEFICIARIES UNDER THE EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION ACT. REFERENCE IS ALSO MADE TO THE CITATIONS GIVEN IN THAT DECISION IN SUPPORT OF ITS CONCLUSION.

SECTION 9 OF THE EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION ACT, AS ORIGINALLY ENACTED AND AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF JUNE 26, 1926, 44 STAT. 772, CLEARLY REQUIRES THAT THE SERVICES, APPLIANCES, AND SUPPLIES AUTHORIZED BY THE STATUTE SHALL BE FURNISHED BY OR UPON THE ORDER OF UNITED STATES MEDICAL OFFICERS AND HOSPITALS WHENEVER PRACTICABLE. THE EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION COMMISSION IS NOT AUTHORIZED, AND DOES NOT MAINTAIN OR OPERATE HOSPITALS OR INSTITUTIONS UNDER ITS JURISDICTION. I AM CONVINCED, THEREFORE, THE INTENT OF THE STATUTE IS THAT ALL AVAILABLE FACILITIES OF THE UNITED STATES FOR FURNISHING MEDICAL AND HOSPITAL SERVICES AND SUPPLIES SHALL BE UTILIZED FOR THE TREATMENT OF INJURED CIVIL EMPLOYEES OF THE UNITED STATES WHO ARE BENEFICIARIES UNDER THE EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION ACT, WITHOUT ANY CHARGE FOR THE COSTS THEREOF AGAINST THE EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION FUND. ALL APPROPRIATIONS MADE AVAILABLE FOR MAINTAINING AND OPERATING UNITED STATES HOSPITALS MAY BE CONSIDERED AS AVAILABLE FOR THAT PURPOSE. THERE HERE WOULD APPEAR TO BE NO JUSTIFICATION FOR THE CONCLUSION THAT UNITED STATES HOSPITALS UNDER CERTAIN DEPARTMENTS OF THE GOVERNMENT WERE INTENDED TO BE AVAILABLE WITHOUT COST, WHILE HOSPITALS UNDER CERTAIN OTHER DEPARTMENTS WERE INTENDED TO BE AVAILABLE WITH COST, FOR THE TREATMENT OF BENEFICIARIES UNDER THE EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION ACT.

YOU HAVE APPROVED THE FOLLOWING CONTENTIONS OF THE BUREAU OF MEDICINE AND SURGERY, NAVY DEPARTMENT:

12. THIS BUREAU THEREFORE CONTENDS: FIRST, THAT THE NAVAL HOSPITAL FUND, CREATED SPECIFICALLY FOR CARE OF THE PERSONNEL OF THE NAVY AND MARINE CORPS AND MAINTAINED BY DEDUCTIONS FROM THE PAY OF THAT PERSONNEL, SHOULD NOT BE USED FOR THE MEDICAL AND HOSPITAL CARE OF BENEFICIARIES OF THE EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION COMMISSION; AND THAT UNLESS THE FUND IS TO BE REIMBURSED FOR THE HOSPITALIZATION OF SUCH BENEFICIARIES, THE NAVY DEPARTMENT IS WITHOUT AUTHORITY TO ADMIT THEM INTO NAVAL HOSPITALS; AND, SECOND, THAT THE APPROPRIATIONS MADE FOR THE NAVY DEPARTMENT AND THE NAVAL SERVICE ARE NOT AVAILABLE FOR CARE OF BENEFICIARIES OF THE EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION COMMISSION, NO MENTION THEREOF BEING MADE IN THE NAVAL APPROPRIATION ACTS, AND SPECIFIC APPROPRIATION BEING MADE THEREFOR UNDER THE EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION COMMISSION AND PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE.

THE REASONS STATED IN SUPPORT OF THESE CONTENTIONS ARE (1) BECAUSE "THE CONGRESS MAKES DIRECT APPROPRIATIONS FOR HOSPITAL TREATMENT OF BENEFICIARIES OF THE EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION COMMISSION" UNDER ANNUAL APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION COMMISSION AND FOR THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE; (2) BECAUSE SECTION 3678, REVISED STATUTES, WOULD PRECLUDE USE OF NAVY APPROPRIATIONS FOR ANY PURPOSE EXCEPT IN CONNECTION WITH THE NAVY AND NAVY DEPARTMENT; (3) BECAUSE THE NAVAL HOSPITAL FUND, FROM WHICH NAVY HOSPITALS ARE MAINTAINED AND OPERATED, IS NOT AN APPROPRIATED FUND BUT IS DERIVED FROM THE PAY OF NAVAL PERSONNEL, FROM FINES, FROM RATION ALLOWANCES, ETC.; AND (4) BECAUSE THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT AUTHORIZED USE OF NAVAL HOSPITALS FOR CARE OF VETERANS' BUREAU BENEFICIARIES FOR WHICH PURPOSE APPROPRIATIONS ARE SPECIFICALLY PROVIDED.

(1) FUNDS PROVIDED BY ANNUAL APPROPRIATIONS UNDER THE EMPLOYEES'COMPENSATION COMMISSION FOR ,MEDICAL, SURGICAL, AND HOSPITAL SERVICES AND SUPPLIES PROVIDED BY SECTION 9" (ACT OF APRIL 22, 1926, 44 STAT. 309, FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1927) ARE AVAILABLE ONLY FOR PAYMENT TO OTHER THAN ,UNITED STATES MEDICAL OFFICERS AND HOSPITALS.' IT IS TRUE THAT THE ANNUAL APPROPRIATIONS "FOR * * * MEDICAL, SURGICAL, AND HOSPITAL SERVICES AND SUPPLIES FOR BENEFICIARIES * * * OF THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE" (ACT OF MARCH 2, 1926, 44 STAT. 147, FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1927) ARE AVAILABLE FOR BENEFICIARIES UNDER THE EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION ACT IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1919, 40 STAT. 1302, BUT THERE IS NO INFERENCE TO BE DRAWN FROM THIS FACT THAT THIS APPROPRIATION IS EXCLUSIVE OF THE USE OF APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE MAINTENANCE AND OPERATION OF ALL OTHER UNITED STATES HOSPITALS. THE PROVISIONS OF THE EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION ACT MAKE NO SUCH RESTRICTION OR LIMITATION.

(2) SECTION 3678, REVISED STATUTES, DOES NOT PRECLUDE THE USE OF APPROPRIATIONS PROVIDED FOR THE NAVY AND NAVY DEPARTMENT FOR THE MAINTENANCE OF NAVY PERSONNEL AND NAVY FACILITIES WHEN SUCH PERSONNEL AND FACILITIES ARE USED ONLY AS EXPRESSLY AUTHORIZED BY LAW, MERELY BECAUSE THE NAVY OR NAVY DEPARTMENT DERIVES NO BENEFIT FROM SUCH USE. THE AUTHORITY CONTAINED IN THE EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION ACT FOR CARE AND TREATMENT OF BENEFICIARIES UNDER THE ACT IN UNITED STATES HOSPITALS MAKES SUCH TREATMENT A PART OF THE AUTHORIZED DUTY OF THE NAVAL HOSPITAL FACILITIES FOR THE PERFORMANCE OF WHICH THE REGULAR APPROPRIATIONS OR FUNDS FOR MAINTENANCE OF SUCH FACILITIES ARE AVAILABLE.

(3) THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OF THE NAVAL HOSPITAL FUND IS SET FORTH IN DECISION OF JUNE 1, 1925, 4 COMP. GEN. 1005. WHILE THE FUND IS NOT APPROPRIATED FROM THE TREASURY, IT IS AUTHORIZED BY LAW TO BE USED FOR THE MAINTENANCE AND OPERATION OF NAVAL HOSPITALS. THE SOURCE OF THE REVENUE FROM WHICH NAVAL HOSPITALS ARE MAINTAINED AND OPERATED WOULD NOT CONSTITUTE THE HOSPITALS OTHER THAN UNITED STATES HOSPITALS WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION ACT.

(4) THE PROPER INFERENCE TO BE DRAWN FROM THE FACT THAT APPROPRIATIONS UNDER THE VETERANS' BUREAU SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZE ALLOTMENT TO OTHER DEPARTMENTS FOR CARE OF BENEFICIARIES OF THE VETERANS' BUREAU IS NOT THAT SIMILAR ALLOTMENTS WOULD HAVE BEEN MADE TO OTHER DEPARTMENTS FROM THE EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION COMMISSION IF IT HAD BEEN INTENDED THAT BENEFICIARIES OF THE COMMISSION WERE TO BE TREATED FREE OF CHARGE, BUT RATHER THE CONTRARY, THAT THE ABSENCE OF SUCH ALLOTMENTS FROM THE EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION COMMISSION SHOWS A CLEAR INTENT THAT THE APPROPRIATIONS DIRECTLY PROVIDED FOR THE MAINTENANCE AND OPERATION OF UNITED STATES HOSPITALS ARE TO BEAR THE EXPENSE OF THE CARE AND TREATMENT OF BENEFICIARIES UNDER THE EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION ACT IN SUCH HOSPITALS.

YOU ARE ADVISED, THEREFORE, THAT NAVAL HOSPITALS ARE NOT ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FROM THE EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION FUND FOR MEDICAL AND HOSPITAL SERVICES, APPLIANCES, AND SUPPLIES FURNISHED IN NAVAL HOSPITALS TO BENEFICIARIES UNDER THE EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION ACT. THE ACTION TAKEN IN DECISION OF AUGUST 5, 1926, MODIFYING THE NAVAL REGULATIONS TO PROVIDE THAT NO CHARGE SHALL BE MADE AGAINST THE UNITED STATES EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION COMMISSION FOR NAVAL MEDICAL OR HOSPITAL TREATMENT FURNISHED BENEFICIARIES UNDER THE EMPLOYEE'S COMPENSATION ACT WAS PROPER AND IS AFFIRMED.