A-20830, DECEMBER 13, 1927, 7 COMP. GEN. 386

A-20830: Dec 13, 1927

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UNDER THIS ACT DIRECTIONS ARE GIVEN AS TO THE DISPOSITION OF MONEY LEFT AT THE HOSPITAL BY DECEASED PATIENTS. THE FUNDS OF FORMER PATIENTS WHO HAVE BEEN DISCHARGED DO NOT COME WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF THIS ACT. IT WOULD SEEM THAT THE CONDITIONS OUTLINED ARE SOMEWHAT ANALOGOUS TO THE CONDITIONS EXISTING IN THIS HOSPITAL PERTAINING TO THE ACCOUNTS OF PATIENTS DISCHARGED. WHOSE RESIDENCE WE HAVE NO RECORD OF. WHOSE WHEREABOUTS ARE UNKNOWN. MORE THAN 250 PATIENTS WHO HAVE BEEN DISCHARGED OVER FIVE YEARS AGO HAVE BALANCES TO THEIR CREDIT AMOUNTING TO $3. I HAVE THE HONOR TO REQUEST THAT A COPY OF THIS LETTER BE TRANSMITTED TO THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE. ELIZABETH'S HOSPITAL IS.

A-20830, DECEMBER 13, 1927, 7 COMP. GEN. 386

ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL - ACCOUNTING FOR INDIVIDUAL MONEYS OF DISCHARGED PATIENTS INDIVIDUAL MONEYS OF DISCHARGED PATIENTS OF ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL WHICH CAN NOT BE RETURNED TO THE FORMER PATIENTS SHOULD BE DEPOSITED IN THE TREASURY TO THE CREDIT OF THE SPECIAL FUND DESIGNATED AS "UNCLAIMED MONEYS OF DISCHARGED PATIENTS, ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL (SPECIAL FUND)" TO BE HELD IN TRUST FOR THE INDIVIDUAL PATIENTS AND TO BE AVAILABLE FOR PAYMENT OF ANY CLAIM WHICH MAY BE HEREAFTER SUBMITTED AND ESTABLISHED BY THEM. DECISION OF JUNE 2, 1926, A-13682, MODIFIED.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, DECEMBER 13, 1927:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR REQUEST OF DECEMBER 5, 1927, FOR DECISION OF A QUESTION PRESENTED IN A LETTER DATED DECEMBER 2, 1927, FROM THE SUPERINTENDENT OF ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL, AS OLLOWS:

THE ACT OF JUNE 30, 1906 (34 STAT. 730) (681 NEW CODE, 177), RELATES TO THE DISPOSITION OF MONEY BELONGING TO THE DECEASED INMATES OF SAINT ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL. UNDER THIS ACT DIRECTIONS ARE GIVEN AS TO THE DISPOSITION OF MONEY LEFT AT THE HOSPITAL BY DECEASED PATIENTS.

IN A DECISION BY THE COMPTROLLER OF THE TREASURY, DATED JANUARY 18, 1911, THE FUNDS OF FORMER PATIENTS WHO HAVE BEEN DISCHARGED DO NOT COME WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF THIS ACT.

IN A DECISION DATED NOVEMBER 28, 1927, TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR (A-20508), PERTAINING TO INDIVIDUAL ACCOUNTS IN AMOUNTS OF $1.00 OR LESS, IN FAVOR OF FORMER STUDENTS OF INDIAN SCHOOLS, THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES ADVISED "THAT THE FUNDS IN QUESTION BE DEPOSITED AND COVERED INTO THE TREASURY TO THE CREDIT OF A SPECIAL FUND TO BE HELD IN TRUST FOR THE INDIVIDUAL INDIANS AND TO BE AVAILABLE FOR THE PAYMENT OF ANY CLAIM BY THEM.' HE THEN DESCRIBES HOW THE FUNDS MAY BE DEPOSITED, AND CONTINUES IN ANOTHER PARAGRAPH THAT "THE SAME PRACTICE AS HERE INDICATED MAY BE FOLLOWED AT OTHER AGENCIES AND SCHOOLS HAVING OLD INACTIVE ACCOUNTS AS HERE INVOLVED.'

IT WOULD SEEM THAT THE CONDITIONS OUTLINED ARE SOMEWHAT ANALOGOUS TO THE CONDITIONS EXISTING IN THIS HOSPITAL PERTAINING TO THE ACCOUNTS OF PATIENTS DISCHARGED, WHOSE RESIDENCE WE HAVE NO RECORD OF, WHOSE WHEREABOUTS ARE UNKNOWN, OR WHO REFUSED TO SIGN A VOUCHER CLAIMING THE MONEY DUE THEM. UNDER PRESENT CONDITIONS THESE ACCOUNTS ACCUMULATE, THERE BEING AT PRESENT ABOUT 887 DISCHARGED PATIENTS WITH BALANCES TO THEIR CREDIT, MANY OF THEM IN AMOUNTS LESS THAN $1.00, WHICH MUST BE REPORTED REGULARLY TO THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE, INVOLVING A VAST AMOUNT OF WORK ON THE PART OF EMPLOYEES OF THE HOSPITAL, AND WE BELIEVE ENTAILING A GREAT DEAL OF UNNECESSARY LABOR ON THE PART OF THE EMPLOYEES OF THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE. MORE THAN 250 PATIENTS WHO HAVE BEEN DISCHARGED OVER FIVE YEARS AGO HAVE BALANCES TO THEIR CREDIT AMOUNTING TO $3,000.

I HAVE THE HONOR TO REQUEST THAT A COPY OF THIS LETTER BE TRANSMITTED TO THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE, AND THAT HE BE REQUESTED TO ADVISE THE HOSPITAL WHETHER UNDER THESE CIRCUMSTANCES THESE FUNDS MAY NOT BE DEPOSITED AND COVERED INTO THE TREASURY TO THE CREDIT OF A SPECIAL FUND TO BE HELD IN TRUST FOR THE INDIVIDUAL FORMER PATIENTS OF THE HOSPITAL, AND TO BE AVAILABLE FOR THE PAYMENT OF ANY CLAIM WHICH MAY HEREAFTER BE SUBMITTED AND ESTABLISHED BY THEM, UNDER SIMILAR CONDITIONS AS OUTLINED IN HIS LETTER OF NOVEMBER 28, 1927.

THE SITUATION WITH RESPECT TO UNCLAIMED FUNDS OF DISCHARGED PATIENTS OF ST. ELIZABETH'S HOSPITAL IS, AS SUGGESTED BY YOU, ANALOGOUS TO THAT OF UNCLAIMED FUNDS OF INDIVIDUAL INDIANS CONSIDERED IN MY DECISION TO YOU OF NOVEMBER 28, 1927, A-20508, 7 COMP. GEN. 355, AND NO REASON APPEARS WHY A SIMILAR PROCEDURE TO THAT OUTLINED IN SAID DECISION MAY NOT BE ADOPTED. ACCORDINGLY, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT THE FUNDS OF DISCHARGED PATIENTS MAY BE DEPOSITED AND COVERED INTO THE TREASURY TO THE CREDIT OF A SPECIAL FUND TO BE HELD IN TRUST FOR THE INDIVIDUALS ENTITLED THERETO AND TO BE AVAILABLE FOR THE PAYMENT OF ANY CLAIM WHICH MAY HEREAFTER BE SUBMITTED AND ESTABLISHED BY THEM. THE FUNDS SHOULD BE DEPOSITED IN A LUMP SUM AND CARRIED UNDER A HEADING SUCH AS "UNCLAIMED MONEYS OF DISCHARGED PATIENTS, ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL (SPECIAL FUND).' BUT THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY AND THIS OFFICE SHOULD BE FURNISHED A LIST OF THE INDIVIDUALS WHOSE FUNDS HAVE BEEN SO DEPOSITED SO THAT A SUPPLEMENTAL ACCOUNT AND RECORD MAY BE KEPT REFLECTING AT ALL TIMES THE AMOUNT DUE EACH INDIVIDUAL. A-13682, JUNE 2, 1926, IS MODIFIED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE FOREGOING.

THE PROCEDURE AUTHORIZED ABOVE IS TO BE UNDERSTOOD AS APPLICABLE ONLY TO FUNDS OF DISCHARGED PATIENTS AS DISTINGUISHED FROM FUNDS OF DECEASED AND ELOPED PATIENTS. SEE DECISION OF JANUARY 19, 1911, TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR.