A-14806, JULY 22, 1926, 6 COMP. GEN. 62

A-14806: Jul 22, 1926

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VETERANS' BUREAU - MEDICAL AND HOSPITAL TREATMENT OF RETIRED PERSONNEL OF THE ARMY AND NAVY THE APPROPRIATIONS UNDER THE VETERANS' BUREAU ARE NOT AVAILABLE FOR THE PAYMENT OF THE COSTS OF MEDICAL AND HOSPITAL TREATMENT. OR IN CONTRACT HOSPITALS WHERE GOVERNMENT HOSPITALS ARE NOT AVAILABLE. TO THOSE PERSONS ON THE RETIRED LIST OF THE ARMY OR THE NAVY WHERE THE DISABILITY FOR WHICH SUCH TREATMENT IS REQUIRED HAS RESULTED FROM MILITARY OR NAVAL SERVICE OF THE UNITED STATES DURING THE PERIOD OF THE WORLD WAR AND NOT CAUSED BY THE CLAIMANT'S OWN WILLFUL MISCONDUCT? (2) IF HOSPITALIZATION AS DESCRIBED IN QUESTION (1) MAY NOT BE FURNISHED TO INCLUDE SUBSISTENCE. IS THIS BUREAU AUTHORIZED TO FURNISH HOSPITALIZATION AND MEDICAL TREATMENT.

A-14806, JULY 22, 1926, 6 COMP. GEN. 62

VETERANS' BUREAU - MEDICAL AND HOSPITAL TREATMENT OF RETIRED PERSONNEL OF THE ARMY AND NAVY THE APPROPRIATIONS UNDER THE VETERANS' BUREAU ARE NOT AVAILABLE FOR THE PAYMENT OF THE COSTS OF MEDICAL AND HOSPITAL TREATMENT, INCLUDING SUBSISTENCE, OF RETIRED OFFICERS AND ENLISTED MEN OF THE ARMY AND NAVY AS BENEFICIARIES OF THE VETERANS' BUREAU.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE DIRECTOR, UNITED STATES VETERANS' BUREAU, JULY 22, 1926:

CONSIDERATION HAS BEEN GIVEN TO THE LETTER OF JUNE 12, 1926, REQUESTING DECISION OF THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS:

(1) MAY THIS BUREAU FURNISH HOSPITALIZATION IN BUREAU HOSPITALS, IN OTHER GOVERNMENT HOSPITALS UTILIZED BY THE BUREAU, OR IN CONTRACT HOSPITALS WHERE GOVERNMENT HOSPITALS ARE NOT AVAILABLE, INCLUDING SUBSISTENCE AS AN ITEM OF SUCH HOSPITAL CARE AND TREATMENT, TO THOSE PERSONS ON THE RETIRED LIST OF THE ARMY OR THE NAVY WHERE THE DISABILITY FOR WHICH SUCH TREATMENT IS REQUIRED HAS RESULTED FROM MILITARY OR NAVAL SERVICE OF THE UNITED STATES DURING THE PERIOD OF THE WORLD WAR AND NOT CAUSED BY THE CLAIMANT'S OWN WILLFUL MISCONDUCT?

(2) IF HOSPITALIZATION AS DESCRIBED IN QUESTION (1) MAY NOT BE FURNISHED TO INCLUDE SUBSISTENCE, IS THIS BUREAU AUTHORIZED TO FURNISH HOSPITALIZATION AND MEDICAL TREATMENT, CHARGING THE MAN THE COST OF SUBSISTENCE DURING THE PERIOD OF HIS HOSPITALIZATION?

(3) IS THIS BUREAU AUTHORIZED, IN THE CASES OF THOSE PERSONS WHO SAW SERVICE DURING ONE OR MORE OF THE WARS OR ENGAGEMENTS DESCRIBED IN SECTION 202 (10), BEING DISCHARGED FROM THE WAR ENLISTMENT BUT NOW ON THE RETIRED LIST OF THE ARMY OR THE NAVY, OR ONLY PLACED ON THE RETIRED LIST WITH NO INTERVENING DISCHARGE, TO FURNISH HOSPITAL CARE AND TREATMENT IN BUREAU HOSPITALS, OR AT THE EXPENSE OF BUREAU APPROPRIATIONS UNDER ALLOTMENTS TO OTHER GOVERNMENT HOSPITALS, WHERE THE COST OF THE VETERAN'S SUBSISTENCE IS CHARGED TO HIM AND IS NOT BORNE BY THE VETERANS' BUREAU?

THE MATERIAL PORTION OF SUBDIVISION 9 OF SECTION 202 OF THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT, AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF MARCH 4, 1925, 43 STAT. 1307, IS AS FOLLOWS:

(9) IN ADDITION TO THE CARE, TREATMENT, AND APPLIANCES NOW AUTHORIZED BY LAW, SAID BUREAU SHALL ALSO PROVIDE, WITHOUT CHARGE THEREFOR, HOSPITAL, DENTAL, MEDICAL, SURGICAL, AND CONVALESCENT CARE AND TREATMENT AND PROSTHETIC APPLIANCES (INCLUDING SUCH DENTAL APPLIANCES AS MAY BE FOUND REASONABLY NECESSARY BY THE DIRECTOR) FOR ANY MEMBER OF THE MILITARY OR NAVAL FORCES OF THE UNITED STATES, NOT DISHONORABLY DISCHARGED, DISABLED BY REASON OF ANY WOUND OR INJURY RECEIVED OR DISEASE CONTRACTED, OR BY REASON OF ANY AGGRAVATION OF A PREEXISTING INJURY OR DISEASE, SPECIFICALLY NOTED AT EXAMINATION FOR ENTRANCE INTO OR EMPLOYMENT IN THE ACTIVE MILITARY OR NAVAL SERVICE WHILE IN THE ACTIVE MILITARY OR NAVAL SERVICE OF THE UNITED STATES ON OR AFTER APRIL 6, 1917, AND BEFORE JULY 2, 1921; PROVIDED, THAT THE WOUND OR INJURY RECEIVED OR DISEASE CONTRACTED OR AGGRAVATION OF A PREEXISTING INJURY OR DISEASE FOR WHICH SUCH HOSPITAL, DENTAL, MEDICAL, SURGICAL, AND CONVALESCENT CARE AND TREATMENT AND PROSTHETIC APPLIANCES (INCLUDING SUCH DENTAL APPLIANCES AS MAY BE FOUND REASONABLY NECESSARY BY THE DIRECTOR) SHALL BE FURNISHED, WAS INCURRED IN THE MILITARY OR NAVAL SERVICE AND NOT CAUSED BY HIS OWN WILLFUL MISCONDUCT: * * *

THIS SUBDIVISION HAS NOT BEEN AMENDED BY THE ACT OF JULY 2, 1926, 44 STAT. 790.

SUBDIVISION 10 OF SECTION 202 OF THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT OF JUNE 7, 1925, 43 STAT. 620, AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF JULY 2, 1926, 44 STAT. 796, IS AS FOLLOWS:

(10) THAT ALL HOSPITAL FACILITIES UNDER THE CONTROL AND JURISDICTION OF THE BUREAU SHALL BE AVAILABLE FOR EVERY HONORABLY DISCHARGED VETERAN OF THE SPANISH-AMERICAN WAR, THE PHILIPPINE INSURRECTION, THE BOXER REBELLION, OR THE WORLD WAR SUFFERING FROM NEUROPSYCHIATRIC OR TUBERCULAR AILMENTS AND DISEASES, PARALYSIS AGITANS, ENCEPHALITIS LETHARGICA, OR AMOEBIC DYSENTERY, OR THE LOSS OF SIGHT OF BOTH EYES, REGARDLESS WHETHER SUCH AILMENTS OR DISEASES ARE DUE TO MILITARY SERVICE OR OTHERWISE, INCLUDING TRAVELING EXPENSES AS GRANTED TO THOSE RECEIVING COMPENSATION AND HOSPITALIZATION UNDER THIS ACT. THE DIRECTOR IS FURTHER AUTHORIZED, SO FAR AS HE SHALL FIND THAT EXISTING GOVERNMENT FACILITIES PERMIT, TO FURNISH HOSPITALIZATION AND NECESSARY TRAVELING EXPENSES INCIDENT TO HOSPITALIZATION TO VETERANS OF ANY WAR, MILITARY OCCUPATION, OR MILITARY EXPEDITION, INCLUDING THOSE WOMEN WHO SERVED AS ARMY NURSES UNDER CONTRACTS BETWEEN APRIL 21, 1898, AND FEBRUARY 2, 1901, NOT DISHONORABLY DISCHARGED WITHOUT REGARD TO THE NATURE OR ORIGIN OF THEIR DISABILITIES: PROVIDED, THAT ANY AND ALL LAWS APPLICABLE TO WOMEN WHO BELONGED TO THE NURSE CORPS OF THE ARMY AFTER FEBRUARY 2, 1901, SHALL APPLY EQUALLY TO MEMBERS OF THE ARMY NURSE CORPS WHO SERVED UNDER CONTRACT BETWEEN APRIL 21, 1898, AND FEBRUARY 2, 1901, INCLUDING ALL WOMEN WHO SERVED HONORABLY AS NURSES, CHIEF NURSES, OR SUPERINTENDENT OF SAID CORPS IN SAID PERIOD: PROVIDED, THAT PREFERENCE TO ADMISSION TO ANY GOVERNMENT HOSPITAL FOR HOSPITALIZATION UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SUBDIVISION SHALL BE GIVEN TO THOSE VETERANS WHO ARE FINANCIALLY UNABLE TO PAY FOR HOSPITALIZATION AND THEIR NECESSARY TRAVELING EXPENSES: PROVIDED FURTHER, THAT WHERE A VETERAN ENTITLED TO HOSPITALIZATION UNDER THIS SUBDIVISION IS FINANCIALLY UNABLE TO SUPPLY HIMSELF WITH CLOTHING, HE SHALL ALSO BE FURNISHED WITH SUCH CLOTHING AS THE DIRECTOR MAY DEEM NECESSARY: PROVIDED FURTHER, THAT WHERE A VETERAN ENTITLED TO HOSPITALIZATION UNDER THIS SUBDIVISION IS SUFFERING WITH A DISEASE OR INJURY NECESSITATING THE WEARING OF A PROSTHETIC APPLIANCE AND IS FINANCIALLY UNABLE TO SUPPLY HIMSELF WITH SAME, UPON AN AFFIDAVIT TO THAT EFFECT THE DIRECTOR IS HEREBY AUTHORIZED TO FURNISH SUCH APPLIANCE AND TO EFFECT NECESSARY REPAIRS TO THE SAME WITHOUT COST TO THE VETERAN: AND PROVIDED FURTHER, THAT THE PENSION OF A VETERAN ENTITLED TO HOSPITALIZATION UNDER THIS SUBDIVISION SHALL NOT BE SUBJECT TO DEDUCTION, WHILE SUCH VETERAN IS HOSPITALIZED IN ANY GOVERNMENT HOSPITAL, FOR BOARD, MAINTENANCE, OR ANY OTHER PURPOSE INCIDENT TO HOSPITALIZATION: PROVIDED FURTHER, THAT THE ACT OF MAY 4, 1898, ENTITLED "AN ACT MAKING APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE NAVAL SERVICE FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDING JUNE 30, 1899, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES," THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 28, 1861, AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 2, 1909, RELATIVE TO THE GOVERNMENT HOSPITAL FOR THE INSANE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, OR ANY OTHER ACT, IN SO FAR AS THEY ARE INCONSISTENT WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION BE, AND THEY ARE HEREBY, MODIFIED ACCORDINGLY.

IN THE INSULAR POSSESSIONS OR TERRITORIES OF THE UNITED STATES THE DIRECTOR IS FURTHER AUTHORIZED TO FURNISH HOSPITALIZATION IN OTHER THAN GOVERNMENT HOSPITALS.

THESE PROVISIONS WERE ENACTED WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE TO PERSONS WHO HAVE BEEN FINALLY SEPARATED FROM THE MILITARY OR NAVAL SERVICE, RELATIVE TO WHOM PRIOR STATUTES OR REGULATIONS DID NOT PROVIDE THE RIGHTS AND BENEFITS THEREIN GRANTED. RETIRED OFFICERS AND ENLISTED MEN OF THE ARMY AND NAVY HAVE NOT BEEN FINALLY DISCHARGED FROM THE MILITARY OR NAVAL SERVICE. THEY REMAIN A PART OF THE ARMY AND NAVY AND IT IS NOT TO BE ASSUMED THAT THEY WERE INTENDED TO BE INCLUDED IN LEGISLATION ENACTED WITH PARTICULAR REFERENCE TO PERSONS HAVING AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT STATUS IN THE ABSENCE OF LANGUAGE SPECIFICALLY INCLUDING THEM. WHILE MEDICAL AND HOSPITAL CARE AND TREATMENT OF RETIRED OFFICERS AND ENLISTED MEN OF THE ARMY AND NAVY HAS NOT BEEN SPECIFICALLY PROVIDED BY STATUTE, UNDER THE REGULATIONS AND THE LONG ESTABLISHED PRACTICE OF THE SERVICES, THEY ARE GRANTED THE PRIVILEGE OF OBTAINING MEDICAL AND HOSPITAL TREATMENT FROM ARMY AND NAVY MEDICAL OFFICERS AND HOSPITALS.

AS TO RETIRED OFFICERS AND ENLISTED MEN OF THE ARMY, REFERENCE IS MADE TO ARMY REGULATIONS 40-590, PAR. 6 B (1) AND 12 A (1) (A) AND (D); ARMY REGULATIONS 40-605, PAR. 3D AND 6A (3); AND ARMY REGULATIONS 40 610, PAR. 2 (1) AND 3B (2), 5 COMP. GEN. 866.

AS TO RETIRED OFFICERS AND ENLISTED MEN OF THE NAVY, REFERENCE IS MADE TO ARTICLES 1830 AND 1831 OF THE NAVAL REGULATIONS, 1920; AND PARAGRAPHS 1132, 1903, 1905, AND 1906 OF THE MANUAL OF THE MEDICAL DEPARTMENT, U.S. NAVY, 1922. 5 COMP. GEN. 243. IT IS TO BE NOTED ALSO THAT RETIRED OFFICERS AND ENLISTED MEN OF THE NAVY AND MARINE CORPS CONTINUE TO HAVE "HOSPITAL FUND" DEDUCTIONS MADE FROM THEIR PAY THE SAME AS WHEN IN ACTIVE SERVICE.

IT MUST BE PRESUMED THAT THE CONGRESS ENACTED THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT IN THE LIGHT OF THE EXISTING REGULATIONS AND PRACTICE WITH RESPECT TO TREATMENT OF RETIRED OFFICERS AND ENLISTED MEN OF THE ARMY AND NAVY, AND IF THE INTENTION HAD BEEN TO PROVIDE RIGHTS AND BENEFITS FOR THE RETIRED STATUS, THEY WOULD HAVE BEEN EXPRESSLY INCLUDED AS A CLASS WITHIN THE PROVISIONS OF THE QUOTED SECTIONS OF THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT.

YOU ARE ADVISED, THEREFORE, THAT IN THE ABSENCE OF A MORE SPECIFIC STATUTE EXTENDING THE QUOTED PROVISIONS TO THE RETIRED PERSONNEL OF THE ARMY AND NAVY, THE APPROPRIATIONS UNDER THE VETERANS' BUREAU MAY NOT BE CONSIDERED AS AVAILABLE FOR THE COST OF THEIR MEDICAL AND HOSPITAL TREATMENT, AND EACH OF THE THREE QUESTIONS SUBMITTED MUST BE AND IS ANSWERED IN THE NEGATIVE.