A-22967, MAY 28, 1928, 7 COMP. GEN. 755

A-22967: May 28, 1928

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ARE NOT ENTITLED TO RECEIVE FROM THE UNITED STATES PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE THE FREE MEDICAL TREATMENT AUTHORIZED FOR "SICK AND DISABLED SEAMEN EMPLOYED IN REGISTERED. 1928: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF MAY 11. AS FOLLOWS: I HAVE THE HONOR TO INCLOSE HEREWITH FOR YOUR INFORMATION AND CONSIDERATION. WHICH VIEWS ARE AT VARIANCE WITH DECISION OF COMPTROLLER GEORGE E. I HAVE THE HONOR TO REQUEST YOUR REVIEW AND RECONSIDERATION OF THE QUESTION AS TO WHETHER. PILOTS ARE TO BE CONSIDERED AS BENEFICIARIES OF THE U.S. IN THE LETTER FROM THE SECRETARY-TREASURER OF THE PUGET SOUND PILOTS' ASSOCIATION TRANSMITTED BY YOU IT IS STATED THAT THE UNITED STATES PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE IN SEATTLE AND PORT TOWNSEND NOW REFUSE MEDICAL ATTENTION TO MEMBERS OF THE ASSOCIATION.

A-22967, MAY 28, 1928, 7 COMP. GEN. 755

MEDICAL TREATMENT - MEMBERS OF PILOTS' ASSOCIATIONS UNDER THE LAWS GOVERNING SUCH MATTERS, MEMBERS OF PILOTS' ASSOCIATIONS, UNLESS REGULARLY EMPLOYED AS MEMBERS OF CREWS OR COMPLEMENTS OF REGISTERED, ENROLLED, OR LICENSED VESSELS OF THE UNITED STATES, ARE NOT ENTITLED TO RECEIVE FROM THE UNITED STATES PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE THE FREE MEDICAL TREATMENT AUTHORIZED FOR "SICK AND DISABLED SEAMEN EMPLOYED IN REGISTERED, ENROLLED, AND LICENSED VESSELS OF THE UNITED STATES" AS PROVIDED IN SECTION 4803, REVISED STATUTES, AND SECTION 3 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1875, 18 STAT. 485.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, MAY 28, 1928:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF MAY 11, 1928, AS FOLLOWS:

I HAVE THE HONOR TO INCLOSE HEREWITH FOR YOUR INFORMATION AND CONSIDERATION, LETTER OF APRIL 19, 1928, FROM THE SECRETARY-TREASURER, PUGET SOUND PILOTS' ASSOCIATION, SEATTLE, WASHINGTON, AS RECEIVED BY THIS DEPARTMENT BY REFERENCE FROM THE HONORABLE C. C. DILL, UNITED STATES SENATE, RELATIVE TO THE ELIGIBILITY OF PILOTS TO THE MEDICAL RELIEF BENEFITS OF THE U.S. PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE.

ON ACCOUNT OF THE VIEWS EXPRESSED IN OPINION NUMBER 22 OF THE EMPLOYEES COMPENSATION COMMISSION, DATED NOVEMBER 26, 1927, AND WHICH VIEWS ARE AT VARIANCE WITH DECISION OF COMPTROLLER GEORGE E. DOWNEY, DATED MAY 8, 1914, RELATIVE TO THE ELIGIBILITY OF PILOTS TO THE MEDICAL RELIEF BENEFITS OF THE U.S. PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE, THUS PLACING THE STATUS OF PILOTS SOMEWHAT IN DOUBT, I HAVE THE HONOR TO REQUEST YOUR REVIEW AND RECONSIDERATION OF THE QUESTION AS TO WHETHER, OR UNDER WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES, IF ANY, PILOTS ARE TO BE CONSIDERED AS BENEFICIARIES OF THE U.S. PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE.

IN THE LETTER FROM THE SECRETARY-TREASURER OF THE PUGET SOUND PILOTS' ASSOCIATION TRANSMITTED BY YOU IT IS STATED THAT THE UNITED STATES PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE IN SEATTLE AND PORT TOWNSEND NOW REFUSE MEDICAL ATTENTION TO MEMBERS OF THE ASSOCIATION. ALSO, THE BELIEF IS EXPRESSED IN THAT LETTER THAT PILOTS ARE MEMBERS OF THE CREW PRO TEM WHEN SERVING BOARD SHIP, AND, BEING MARINERS, SHOULD ENJOY THE SAME PRIVILEGES ACCORDED OTHER MARINERS BY LAW.

THE CONTENTION OF THE PILOTS' ASSOCIATION AS RESPECTS THE RIGHTS OF ITS MEMBERS TO MEDICAL TREATMENT BY THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE APPEARS TO BE THAT SINCE THE UNITED STATES EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION COMMISSION, IN ITS OPINION NO. 22 OF NOVEMBER 26, 1927, RULED THAT PILOTS BOARDING VESSELS AT SEA OR IN PORT ARE INCLUDED WITHIN THE TERM "MASTER OR MEMBER OF A CREW" OF VESSELS AS USED IN THE LONGSHOREMEN'S AND HARBOR WORKERS' COMPENSATION ACT, AND ARE NOT ENTITLED TO THE BENEFITS OF THAT ACT, THEN THE PILOTS, BEING CLASSED AS MASTERS OR MEMBERS OF CREWS, ARE ENTITLED TO THE SAME BENEFITS AS ARE CONFERRED BY LAW ON AMERICAN SEAMEN GENERALLY WHO ARE MASTERS OR MEMBERS OF CREWS OF VESSELS.

THE DOUBT THAT APPEARS TO HAVE ARISEN AS TO WHETHER PILOTS ARE ENTITLED TO MEDICAL TREATMENT BY THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE IS STATED IN YOUR LETTER TO BE DUE TO WHAT WOULD APPEAR TO BE A VARIANCE BETWEEN THE OPINION OF THE EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION COMMISSION AND A DECISION OF THE COMPTROLLER OF THE TREASURY THAT WAS RENDERED TO YOU ON MAY 8, 1914. THE QUESTION CONSIDERED IN THE DECISION OF MAY 8, 1914, WAS WHETHER PILOTS WHO WERE ENGAGED IN PILOTING AMERICAN AND FOREIGN VESSELS INTO AND OUT OF PORTS OF THIS COUNTRY, AND WHO BELONG TO ASSOCIATIONS WHICH OWN PILOT BOATS FOR CARRYING THEM OUT TO SEA IN ORDER THAT THEIR MEMBERS MIGHT BOARD SHIPS AND PILOT THEM INTO HARBORS, AND WHO ACTED AS MASTERS AND SEAMEN IN THE CARE, PRESERVATION, AND NAVIGATION OF THEIR PILOT BOATS UNTIL THEY BOARDED INCOMING VESSELS, WERE ENTITLED TO CARE AND TREATMENT BY THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE AND WHETHER THEY RETAINED THEIR RIGHT TO RELIEF FROM THAT SERVICE WHEN THEY BOARDED FOREIGN VESSELS TO PILOT THEM INTO HARBORS OR WHEN LEAVING PORTS.

IT WAS SAID IN THE DECISION OF MAY 8, 1914, AFTER REFERRING TO SECTION 4803, REVISED STATUTES, AND SECTION 3 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1875, 18 STAT. 485, THAT:

IT WILL BE OBSERVED THAT ALL SEAMEN ARE NOT ENTITLED TO FREE TREATMENT AT P.H.S. HOSPITALS, BUT ONLY THOSE EMPLOYED IN REGISTERED, ENROLLED, OR LICENSED VESSELS OF THE UNITED STATES. AND WHILE THE TERM "SEAMEN," AS ABOVE DEFINED, MIGHT, AND NO DOUBT WOULD, INCLUDE PILOTS, IT DOES NOT FOLLOW THAT ALL PILOTS ARE ENTITLED TO THE RELIEF. IF A PILOT IS REGULARLY EMPLOYED AS A MEMBER OF THE CREW OR COMPLEMENT OF A REGISTERED, ENROLLED, OR LICENSED VESSEL OF THE UNITED STATES, HE WOULD BE ENTITLED TO THE RELIEF THE SAME AS OTHER SEAMEN SO EMPLOYED. BUT I DO NOT UNDERSTAND THAT THESE BAR PILOTS ARE THUS EMPLOYED.

THE PILOT BOATS ARE USED BY THEM ONLY AS A MEANS OF REACHING THE VESSELS WHICH THEY ARE TO PILOT IN AND OF RETURNING TO THE SHORE FROM VESSELS PILOTED OUT. WHILE THEY MAY PERFORM SOME DUTIES ON SAID PILOTBOATS, SUCH DUTIES ARE MERELY INCIDENT TO THE TRAVEL BETWEEN THE OUTER STATIONS AND THE SHORE STATIONS. THEIR REAL DUTIES--- THAT IS, THE DUTIES FOR WHICH THEY RECEIVE COMPENSATION--- ARE PERFORMED ON THE VESSELS WHICH THEY PILOT IN OR OUT. THEREFORE THEY CAN NOT BE SAID TO BE EMPLOYED ON THE PILOT BOATS.

NEITHER ARE THEY EMPLOYED ON THE PILOTED VESSELS. THEY ARE NOT MEMBERS OF THE CREW OR COMPLEMENT OF MEN OF SAID VESSELS, AND IN PILOTING THEM IN OR OUT OF THE PORT THEY ARE ACTING NOT IN THE CAPACITY OF EMPLOYEES OF THE VESSEL BUT ARE RENDERING A SPECIAL SERVICE COMPENSATED FOR BY FEES PROVIDED BY A CITY ORDINANCE AND ARE TO BE REGARDED RATHER AS OFFICERS OF THE PORT.

YOU ARE ADVISED, THEREFORE, THAT BAR PILOTS, AS SUCH, ARE NOT ENTITLED TO RELIEF FURNISHED BY THE U.S. PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE.

THE OPINION RENDERED BY THE EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION COMMISSION WAS MERELY A DETERMINATION OF THE RIGHTS OF PILOTS TO THE BENEFITS OF THE LONGSHOREMEN'S AND HARBOR WORKERS' COMPENSATION ACT OF MARCH 4, 1927, 44 STAT. 1424, THE RIGHTS OF PILOTS TO MEDICAL TREATMENT BY THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE BEING IN NO WAY INVOLVED. IT HAVING BEEN DECIDED BY FORMER COMPTROLLER DOWNEY, WITH WHICH DECISION I FULLY AGREE, THAT ONLY SUCH PILOTS AS ARE REGULARLY EMPLOYED AS MEMBERS OF CREWS OR COMPLEMENTS OF REGISTERED, ENROLLED, AND LICENSED VESSELS OF THE UNITED STATES, ARE ENTITLED TO RELIEF ON THE SAME BASIS AS OTHER SEAMEN SO EMPLOYED, I HAVE TO ADVISE THAT PILOTS ENGAGED IN THE DUTY OF CONDUCTING INTO AND OUT OF HARBORS OF THE UNITED STATES VESSELS ON WHICH THEY DO NOT OTHERWISE SERVE, AND WHOSE SERVICES ON PILOT BOATS ARE RENDERED MERELY IN CONNECTION WITH OR AS INCIDENT TO THE SERVICE FOR WHICH THEY ARE PAID, ARE NOT AMERICAN SEAMEN WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE LAWS RELATING TO THE TREATMENT OR HOSPITALIZATION OF AMERICAN SEAMEN IN HOSPITALS UNDER THE UNITED STATES PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE.