A-3563, JULY 11, 1924, 4 COMP. GEN. 48

A-3563: Jul 11, 1924

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ARE REQUIRED BY SAID ACT TO BE DEPOSITED FOR CREDIT TO THE APPROPRIATION FOR SAID HOSPITAL CURRENT WHEN SUCH SERVICES ARE PERFORMED AND PROVIDED. WAS INTENDED TO AVOID DELAY IN THE PAYMENT AND DOES NOT IN ANY MANNER AFFECT THE AUDIT REQUIRED TO BE MADE BY THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE. OR ANY BRANCH OF THE GOVERNMENT REQUIRING SAINT ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL TO CARE FOR PATIENTS FOR WHICH THEY ARE RESPONSIBLE. ALL SUMS PAID TO THE SUPERINTENDENT OF SAINT ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL FOR THE CARE OF PATIENTS THAT HE IS AUTHORIZED BY LAW TO RECEIVE. TREATMENT IS PROVIDED. THE HOSPITAL'S PERSONNEL WOULD IN SOME CASES CARE FOR BENEFICIARIES ENUMERATED AS WELL AS OTHER PATIENTS WHO ARE APPROPRIATED FOR DIRECTLY TO THE HOSPITAL.

A-3563, JULY 11, 1924, 4 COMP. GEN. 48

ACCOUNTING - PATIENTS OF OTHER DEPARTMENTS OR ESTABLISHMENTS TREATED IN ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL ALL SUMS PAID TO THE SUPERINTENDENT OF ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL BY THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA OR OTHER BRANCHES OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UNDER AUTHORITY OF THE ACT OF JUNE 5, 1924, 43 STAT. 429, ON ACCOUNT OF BILLS RENDERED, WHETHER AS ADVANCE PAYMENT OR FOR SERVICES ACTUALLY RENDERED, ARE REQUIRED BY SAID ACT TO BE DEPOSITED FOR CREDIT TO THE APPROPRIATION FOR SAID HOSPITAL CURRENT WHEN SUCH SERVICES ARE PERFORMED AND PROVIDED. THE PROVISION IN THE ACT OF JUNE 5, 1924, 43 STAT. 429, THAT THE BILLS RENDERED BY ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL TO OTHER BRANCHES OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA SHALL NOT BE SUBJECT TO AUDIT OR CERTIFICATION IN ADVANCE OF PAYMENT, WAS INTENDED TO AVOID DELAY IN THE PAYMENT AND DOES NOT IN ANY MANNER AFFECT THE AUDIT REQUIRED TO BE MADE BY THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL GINN TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, JULY 11, 1924:

BY INDORSEMENT OF JUNE 20, 1924, YOU REQUEST DECISION OF A QUESTION PRESENTED BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT TO THE SUPERINTENDENT OF ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL, AS FOLLOWS:

IN * * * AN ACT MAKING APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDING JUNE 30, 1925, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES, APPROVED JUNE 5, 1924, 43 STAT. 429, IT STATES:

"SAINT ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL, * * * PROVIDED, THAT DURING THE FISCAL YEAR 1925 THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, OR ANY BRANCH OF THE GOVERNMENT REQUIRING SAINT ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL TO CARE FOR PATIENTS FOR WHICH THEY ARE RESPONSIBLE, SHALL PAY BY CHECK TO THE SUPERINTENDENT, UPON HIS WRITTEN REQUEST, EITHER IN ADVANCE OR AT THE END OF EACH MONTH, ALL OR PART OF THE ESTIMATED OR ACTUAL COST FOR SUCH MAINTENANCE AS THE CASE MAY BE, AND BILLS RENDERED BY THE SUPERINTENDENT OF SAINT ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL IN ACCORDANCE HEREWITH SHALL NOT BE SUBJECT TO AUDIT OR CERTIFICATION IN ADVANCE OF PAYMENT; PROPER ADJUSTMENTS ON THE BASIS OF THE ACTUAL COST OF THE CARE OF PATIENTS PAID FOR IN ADVANCE SHALL BE MADE MONTHLY OR QUARTERLY, AS MAY BE AGREED UPON BETWEEN THE SUPERINTENDENT OF SAINT ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL AND THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA GOVERNMENT, DEPARTMENT, OR ESTABLISHMENTS CONCERNED. ALL SUMS PAID TO THE SUPERINTENDENT OF SAINT ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL FOR THE CARE OF PATIENTS THAT HE IS AUTHORIZED BY LAW TO RECEIVE, SHALL BE DEPOSITED TO THE CREDIT ON THE BOOKS OF THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT, OF THE APPROPRIATION MADE FOR THE CARE AND MAINTENANCE OF THE PATIENTS AT SAINT ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL FOR THE YEAR IN WHICH THE SUPPORT, CLOTHING, AND TREATMENT IS PROVIDED, AND BE SUBJECT TO REQUISITION BY THE DISBURSING AGENT OF SAINT ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL, UPON THE APPROVAL OF THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR.'

IN REFERENCE TO THE FOREGOING THIS AUTHORIZATION WOULD DIRECT THE COMMISSIONERS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, THE DIRECTOR OF THE UNITED STATES VETERANS' BUREAU, THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE, AND ALL OTHERS WHO SHOULD MAKE PAYMENTS FOR THE CARE OF THE BENEFICIARIES OF THIS HOSPITAL TO MAKE PAYMENT IN ADVANCE OR PRIOR TO THE AUDITING OF THEIR ACCOUNTS. PAYMENT IN ADVANCE MIGHT BE CONSIDERED IN THE NATURE OF AN ALLOTMENT, AND INASMUCH AS IT HAS PREVIOUSLY BEEN DECIDED THAT ALLOTMENTS SHOULD BE KEPT SEPARATELY AND SPECIFIC PAYMENTS MADE OUT FOR THE PURPOSES NAMED THE QUESTION ARISES IN OUR MINDS AS TO JUST HOW THESE MONEYS SHOULD BE HELD. THE HOSPITAL'S PERSONNEL WOULD IN SOME CASES CARE FOR BENEFICIARIES ENUMERATED AS WELL AS OTHER PATIENTS WHO ARE APPROPRIATED FOR DIRECTLY TO THE HOSPITAL. THE SUPPLIES PURCHASED ARE BOUGHT IN BULK, AND IT WOULD BE DIFFICULT TO PAY FOR THE FOOD FOR EACH CLASS OF PATIENTS.

WE BELIEVE IT WAS THE INTENTION OF CONGRESS THAT THIS MONEY SHOULD BE USED TO REIMBURSE THE HOSPITAL APPROPRIATION ALL RECEIPTS COVERED INTO THE APPROPRIATION AS MADE IN THE ACT CITED. ON ACCOUNT OF THE DOUBT EXISTING I HAVE THE HONOR TO REQUEST THAT YOU SUBMIT A COPY OF THIS LETTER TO THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES AND ASK HIS OPINION IF THIS MONEY, IF PAID IN ADVANCE OR AFTER SERVICES ARE RENDERED, COULD BE CREDITED TO THE APPROPRIATION AS CARRIED IN THE INTERIOR DEPARTMENT APPROPRIATION ACT AND BE ACCOUNTED FOR IN THE SAME MANNER AS ALL OTHER MONEY FOR WHICH DIRECT APPROPRIATION IS MADE.

THE PROVISION IN THE ACT QUOTED IN THE SUBMISSION THAT THE "BILLS RENDERED BY THE SUPERINTENDENT OF ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL IN ACCORDANCE HEREWITH SHALL NOT BE SUBJECT TO AUDIT OR CERTIFICATION IN ADVANCE OF PAYMENT" APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN INTENDED TO OVERCOME THE DELAYS INCIDENT TO THE EXAMINATION AND AUDIT OF SUCH BILLS PRIOR TO THEIR PAYMENT OR CERTIFICATION FOR PAYMENT BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICES TO WHICH THE BILLS WERE RENDERED SUCH BILLS HAVING BEEN RENDERED AFTER THE PERFORMANCE OF THE SERVICES. THE FORMER PRACTICE REQUIRED THE PREPARATION OF SUCH BILLS BY THE HOSPITAL AND THEIR EXAMINATION BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE AUTHORITIES PRIOR TO THEIR PAYMENT OR CERTIFICATION FOR PAYMENT AND THE DELAY INCIDENT TO SUCH EXAMINATION, CERTIFICATION, ETC., PARTICULARLY TOWARD THE END OF THE FISCAL YEAR, RESULTED IN A TEMPORARY DEPLETION OF THE HOSPITAL APPROPRIATION SO AS TO PRECLUDE PROMPT PAYMENT OF ITS CURRENT OBLIGATIONS FOR SERVICES AND SUPPLIES. SEE HEARING BEFORE SUBCOMMITTEE OF HOUSE COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS, INTERIOR DEPARTMENT APPROPRIATION BILL 1925, PAGES 698 AND 699. THE AUTHORITY TO MAKE PAYMENT IN ADVANCE WITHOUT AUDIT OR CERTIFICATION DOES NOT, THEREFORE, IN ANY MANNER AFFECT THE AUDIT REQUIRED TO BE MADE BY THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE. SECTION 305 OF THE BUDGET AND ACCOUNTING ACT OF JUNE 10, 1921, 42 STAT. 24.

THE GENERAL PROCEDURE WITH RESPECT TO ALLOTMENTS HAS BEEN TO PLACE THE MONEY ALLOTTED SUBJECT TO REQUISITION OF THE ALLOTTEE ORGANIZATION, THE AMOUNT THUS ALLOTTED BEING SET UP ON THE BOOKS OF THIS OFFICE AND THE TREASURY UNDER THE APPROPRIATION HEADING OF THE ALLOTTED APPROPRIATION, BUT WITH AN ADDITION TO SUCH APPROPRIATION HEADING TO INDICATE ITS SEGREGATION AND APPLICATION TO THE USE OF THE ALLOTTEE ORGANIZATION; FOR INSTANCE, AS IN THE CASE OF ALLOTMENTS BY THE UNITED STATES VETERANS' BUREAU DURING THE FISCAL YEAR 1924, VIZ, "MEDICAL AND HOSPITAL SERVICES, VETERANS' BUREAU, 1924 (TRANSFER TO INTERIOR DEPARTMENT, ST. ELIZABETH'S HOSPITAL, ACT OF FEBRUARY 13, 1923.) " HOWEVER, THE ACT QUOTED, SUPRA, PROVIDES THAT ALL SUMS PAID TO THE SUPERINTENDENT OF ST. ELIZABETH'S HOSPITAL FOR THE CARE OF PATIENTS THAT HE IS AUTHORIZED BY LAW TO RECEIVE SHALL BE DEPOSITED AND CREDITED ON THE BOOKS OF THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT TO THE APPROPRIATION MADE FOR THE HOSPITAL, ETC.

IN ANSWER TO THE QUESTION OF THE SUBMISSION, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT THE SUMS PAID TO THE SUPERINTENDENT OF THE HOSPITAL, UNDER AUTHORITY OF THE PROVISION HERE IN QUESTION, ON ACCOUNT OF BILLS RENDERED, WHETHER SUCH BILLS ARE FOR ADVANCE PAYMENT OR FOR PAYMENT ON ACCOUNT OF SERVICE, ETC., ACTUALLY RENDERED, ARE REQUIRED TO BE DEPOSITED FOR CREDIT OF THE APPROPRIATION FOR SAID HOSPITAL CURRENT WHEN SUCH SERVICES, ETC., ARE PERFORMED AND PROVIDED.