A-57643, OCTOBER 10, 1934, 14 COMP. GEN. 301

A-57643: Oct 10, 1934

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MEDICAL TREATMENT - OFFICERS OF THE UNITED STATES COAST GUARD OFFICERS OF THE COAST GUARD ARE ENTITLED. WHERE TEMPORARY WARRANT OFFICERS OF THE COAST GUARD ARE DETACHED FROM SERVICES WITH THE COAST GUARD. THEIR SERVICES ARE UTILIZED BY THE WAR DEPARTMENT IN CONNECTION WITH PUBLIC WORKS PROJECTS. SUCH WARRANT OFFICERS ARE NOT AMERICAN SEAMEN AND THEY ARE NOT ENTITLED TO MEDICAL TREATMENT AT THE EXPENSE OF THE UNITED STATES. UNLESS THE ASSIGNMENT TO DUTY UNDER THE WAR DEPARTMENT IS ON VESSELS THE CREWS OF WHICH ARE ENTITLED TO THE BENEFITS OF THE UNITED STATES PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE. A NUMBER OF COAST GUARD WARRANT OFFICERS HAVE BEEN DETAILED TO DUTY WITH THE ENGINEER DEPARTMENT AT LARGE ON PROJECTS FINANCED WITH FUNDS PROVIDED UNDER THE NATIONAL INDUSTRIAL RECOVERY ACT.

A-57643, OCTOBER 10, 1934, 14 COMP. GEN. 301

MEDICAL TREATMENT - OFFICERS OF THE UNITED STATES COAST GUARD OFFICERS OF THE COAST GUARD ARE ENTITLED, AS AMERICAN SEAMEN, TO MEDICAL TREATMENT BY THE UNITED STATES PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE. WHERE TEMPORARY WARRANT OFFICERS OF THE COAST GUARD ARE DETACHED FROM SERVICES WITH THE COAST GUARD, AND PURSUANT TO EXECUTIVE ORDER, THEIR SERVICES ARE UTILIZED BY THE WAR DEPARTMENT IN CONNECTION WITH PUBLIC WORKS PROJECTS, THEIR PAY AND ALLOWANCES BEING PAYABLE FROM THE FUNDS APPROPRIATED FOR THE PUBLIC WORKS PROJECTS, SUCH WARRANT OFFICERS ARE NOT AMERICAN SEAMEN AND THEY ARE NOT ENTITLED TO MEDICAL TREATMENT AT THE EXPENSE OF THE UNITED STATES, UNLESS THE ASSIGNMENT TO DUTY UNDER THE WAR DEPARTMENT IS ON VESSELS THE CREWS OF WHICH ARE ENTITLED TO THE BENEFITS OF THE UNITED STATES PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF WAR, OCTOBER 10, 1934:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 10, 1934, AS FOLLOWS:

UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 6169, DATED JUNE 15, 1933, COPY INCLOSED, A NUMBER OF COAST GUARD WARRANT OFFICERS HAVE BEEN DETAILED TO DUTY WITH THE ENGINEER DEPARTMENT AT LARGE ON PROJECTS FINANCED WITH FUNDS PROVIDED UNDER THE NATIONAL INDUSTRIAL RECOVERY ACT, AND HAVE BEEN PAID ON THE PAY ROLLS OF THE PUBLIC WORKS PROJECTS TO WHICH THEY HAVE BEEN ASSIGNED. AS APPARENTLY CONTEMPLATED BY THE EXECUTIVE ORDER, THESE COAST GUARD WARRANT OFFICERS HAVE BEEN CARRIED AT THE RATES OF PAY ESTABLISHED FOR THEM AS MEMBERS OF THE COAST GUARD.

THE COMMANDANT OF THE UNITED STATES COAST GUARD HAS INFORMED THIS DEPARTMENT THAT COAST GUARD WARRANT OFFICERS ARE ENTITLED TO HOSPITALIZATION UNDER THE REGULATIONS OF THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE AND MAY BE HOSPITALIZED IN PUBLIC HEALTH OR NAVAL HOSPITALS. IN OTHER WORDS, HOSPITALIZATION, WHEN NECESSARY, IS A PART OF THE COMPENSATION OF THE COAST GUARD WARRANT OFFICERS.

IT HAS BEEN LEARNED FROM THE UNITED STATES PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE THAT WARRANT OFFICERS OF THE COAST GUARD ASSIGNED TO DUTY WITH THE ENGINEER DEPARTMENT, WHILE TEMPORARILY DETACHED FROM THE COAST GUARD, ARE CONSIDERED NOT ENTITLED TO MEDICAL CARE AND ATTENTION BY THE UNITED STATES PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE AT THE EXPENSE OF THE UNITED STATES PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE FUNDS. HOWEVER, THAT SERVICE IS PREPARED TO HOSPITALIZE THE MEN ON DUTY WITH THE ENGINEER DEPARTMENT PROVIDED REQUEST IS MADE BY PROPER AUTHORITY FOR THEIR ADMISSION TO A HOSPITAL AND PROVIDED REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE HOSPITALIZATION IS MADE AT THE RATE OF $3.25 PER DAY.

A CASE HAS NOW ARISEN IN WHICH ONE OF THE COAST GUARD WARRANT OFFICERS ASSIGNED TO THIS DEPARTMENT HAS REQUIRED HOSPITALIZATION AND HAS BEEN ADMITTED TO A HOSPITAL OF THE UNITED STATES VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION ON REQUEST OF AN OFFICER OF THE ENGINEER DEPARTMENT FOR TREATMENT FOR APPENDICITIS. THIS DEPARTMENT DESIRES TO REIMBURSE THE VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION FOR THE EXPENSE OF THE TREATMENT PROVIDED SUCH REIMBURSEMENT CAN PROPERLY BE MADE.

ACCORDINGLY, A RULING IS REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER THE ENGINEER DEPARTMENT MAY ARRANGE FOR HOSPITALIZATION FOR THESE COAST GUARD WARRANT OFFICERS AS PART OF THEIR COMPENSATION WHICH, UNDER THE TERMS OF THE EXECUTIVE ORDER ABOVE MENTIONED, IS TO BE PAID FROM THE FUNDS APPLICABLE TO THE PUBLIC WORKS ADMINISTRATION PROJECTS ON WHICH THE MEN ARE ENGAGED, AND AS TO WHETHER THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE, VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION, NAVAL, OR PRIVATE HOSPITALS MAY BE REIMBURSED OR PAID FOR SUCH HOSPITALIZATION FROM FUNDS PERTAINING TO THE PUBLIC WORKS ADMINISTRATION PROJECTS.

IN THE EVENT YOUR REPLY TO THE ABOVE QUESTION IS IN THE AFFIRMATIVE, INFORMATION IS REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER, UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES OUTLINED, PAYMENT MAY BE MADE FOR MEDICAL SERVICES RENDERED BY PRIVATE PHYSICIANS WHERE THERE IS NO HOSPITALIZATION.

EXCEPT AS THE LAWS MAKE PROVISION FOR MEDICAL AND HOSPITAL CARE AND TREATMENT OF MEMBERS OF THE COAST GUARD BY OR UNDER THE CONTROL OF THE UNITED STATES PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE, NO MEDICAL SERVICE IS AUTHORIZED FOR THE COAST GUARD. WHILE THE PAY AND ALLOWANCES OF MEMBERS OF THE COAST GUARD WERE ASSIMILATED TO THE PAY AND ALLOWANCES OF OFFICERS AND ENLISTED MEN OF THE NAVY OF THE SAME RANK OR GRADE AND LENGTH OF SERVICE, SECTION 8, ACT OF MAY 18, 1920, 41 STAT. 603 (PROBABLY SUPERSEDED BY REASON OF THE SPECIFIC PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF JUNE 10, 1922, 42 STAT. 625), AND A MEDICAL SERVICE AND A HOSPITAL FUND HAVE BEEN ESTABLISHED IN THE NAVY, WHATEVER RIGHTS OFFICERS OR ENLISTED MEN OF THE NAVY MAY HAVE TO MEDICAL AND HOSPITAL TREATMENT, THE NECESSARY EFFECT OF THE DECISION OF THE SUPREME COURT IN UNITED STATES V. JONES, 18 HOW. 92, IS THAT SUCH RIGHTS DO NOT CONSTITUTE AN ALLOWANCE. WHATEVER RIGHTS TO MEDICAL AND HOSPITAL TREATMENT MEMBERS OF THE COAST GUARD MAY HAVE ARE THOSE GIVEN SPECIFICALLY BY THE LAWS APPLICABLE TO THAT SERVICE OR THE SERVICES FROM WHICH THE COAST GUARD WAS DERIVED AND NOT BY ASSIMILATION TO THE NAVY.

BY THE ACT OF JULY 16, 1798, 1 STAT. 605, ENTITLED "AN ACT FOR THE RELIEF OF SICK AND DISABLED SEAMEN," PROVISION WAS MADE FOR THE DEDUCTION BY MASTERS OR OWNERS OF VESSELS OF THE UNITED STATES OF 20 CENTS PER MONTH FROM THE PAY OF EVERY SEAMAN, THE AMOUNTS TO BE PAID TO THE COLLECTOR OF CUSTOMS, AND THE PRESIDENT, OUT OF THE FUND SO CREATED, WAS AUTHORIZED "TO PROVIDE FOR THE TEMPORARY RELIEF AND MAINTENANCE OF SICK OR DISABLED SEAMEN," THE SURPLUS OF THE FUND TO BE USED TO ESTABLISH HOSPITALS FOR THE ACCOMMODATION OF SICK AND DISABLED SEAMEN. ORIGINALLY, OFFICERS AND ENLISTED MEN OF THE NAVY WERE ENTITLED TO THE BENEFITS OF THIS FUND BUT BY THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 26, 1811, 2 STAT. 650, THE NAVAL HOSPITAL FUND WAS ESTABLISHED. BY THE ACT OF APRIL 29, 1864, 13 STAT. 61, PROVISION WAS MADE FOR ENFORCING COLLECTION OF "HOSPITAL DUES" OWING TO THE UNITED STATES BY MASTERS OR AGENTS OF VESSELS OF THE UNITED STATES WHEN SUCH VESSELS WERE SOLD OR TRANSFERRED IN FOREIGN PORTS. THE ACT OF JUNE 29, 1870, 16 STAT. 169, ENTITLED "AN ACT TO REORGANIZE THE MARINE HOSPITAL SERVICE, AND TO PROVIDE FOR THE RELIEF OF SICK AND DISABLED EAMEN" MADE AN ASSESSMENT OF 40 CENTS PER MAN UPON THE MASTER OR OWNER OF VESSELS OF THE UNITED STATES AND GAVE AUTHORITY TO SUCH MASTER OR OWNER TO WITHHOLD THE AMOUNT FROM THE WAGES OF SEAMEN, THE FUND SO ESTABLISHED TO BE APPLIED --

* * * UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, FOR THE CARE AND RELIEF OF SICK AND DISABLED SEAMEN EMPLOYED IN REGISTERED, ENROLLED, AND LICENSED VESSELS OF THE UNITED STATES.

THIS PROVISION WAS CARRIED INTO THE REVISED STATUTES AS A PART OF SECTION 4803. BY THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1875, 18 STAT. 485, ENTITLED "AN ACT TO PROMOTE ECONOMY AND EFFICIENCY IN THE MARINE HOSPITAL SERVICE," FURTHER LEGISLATION WAS ENACTED FOR THE LEVYING AND COLLECTING OF A "HOSPITAL TAX," AND BY SECTION 3 IT WAS PROVIDED:

THAT THE TERM "SEAMAN" WHEREVER EMPLOYED IN LEGISLATION RELATING TO THE MARINE HOSPITAL SERVICE, SHALL BE HELD TO INCLUDE ANY PERSON EMPLOYED ON BOARD IN THE CARE, PRESERVATION, OR NAVIGATION OF ANY VESSEL, OR IN THE SERVICE, ON BOARD, OF THOSE ENGAGED IN SUCH CARE, PRESERVATION, OR NAVIGATION.

BY THE ACT OF JUNE 26, 1884, 23 STAT. 57, THE HOSPITAL TAX WAS ABOLISHED AND IT WAS PROVIDED THAT THE EXPENSE OF MAINTAINING THE MARINE HOSPITAL SERVICE SHOULD THEREAFTER BE BORNE BY THE UNITED STATES OUT OF THE RECEIPTS OR DUES ON TONNAGE PROVIDED IN THAT ACT AND THE NECESSARY AMOUNT THEREOF WAS PERMANENTLY APPROPRIATED TO THAT PURPOSE.

AT LEAST FROM 1812, IT WAS HELD BY THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT THAT OFFICERS AND MEMBERS OF THE CREWS OF THE REVENUE CUTTER SERVICE WERE ENTITLED TO MEDICAL TREATMENT AS SEAMEN AND THAT FROM JANUARY 1, 1833 TO 1884, WHEN THE HOSPITAL TAX WAS ABOLISHED THE TAX FOR THE MAINTENANCE OF MARINE HOSPITALS WAS EXACTED AND COLLECTED MONTHLY FROM THE SEAMEN OF THE REVENUE CUTTER SERVICE, 21 OP.ATTY.GEN. 340 AND 365, AND BY THE CITED OPINIONS IT WAS HELD BY THE ATTORNEY GENERAL SUCH OFFICERS AND ENLISTED MEN OF THE REVENUE CUTTER SERVICE WERE ENTITLED TO CONTINUE TO BE ACCORDED TREATMENT AS AMERICAN SEAMEN BY THE MARINE HOSPITAL SERVICE. VARIOUS LAWS HAVE BEEN PASSED FOR THE FURTHER ORGANIZATION OF THE MARINE HOSPITAL SERVICE, ACTS OF JANUARY 4, 1889, 25 STAT. 639; MARCH 3, 1891, 26 STAT. 923; JULY 31, 1894, 28 STAT. 179; AND FOR CHANGING THE NAME OF THE SERVICE, JULY 1, 1902, 32 STAT. 712, AND AUGUST 14, 1912, 37 STAT. 309. BY THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1905, 33 STAT. 1217, SO MUCH OF THE ACT OF JUNE 26, 1884, AS APPROPRIATED SO MUCH OF THE TONNAGE TAX AS WAS NECESSARY FOR THE MAINTENANCE OF THE MARINE HOSPITAL SERVICE WAS REPEALED AND THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY WAS REQUIRED, COMMENCING WITH THE FISCAL YEAR 1907, TO SUBMIT ESTIMATES ANNUALLY FOR THE PUBLIC HEALTH AND MARINE HOSPITAL SERVICE. BY THE ACT OF AUGUST 4, 1894, 28 STAT. 229, IT WAS PROVIDED:

THAT THE PRIVILEGE OF ADMISSION TO AND TEMPORARY TREATMENT IN THE MARINE HOSPITALS UNDER THE CONTROL OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES BE, AND IS HEREBY, EXTENDED TO THE KEEPERS AND CREWS OF THE LIFE-SAVING SERVICE UNDER THE SAME RULES AND REGULATIONS AS THOSE GOVERNING SAILORS AND SEAMEN, AND FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS ACT MEMBERS OF THE LIFE-SAVING SERVICE SHALL BE RECEIVED IN SAID HOSPITALS AND TREATED THEREIN, AND AT THE DISPENSARIES THEREOF, AS ARE SEAMEN OF AMERICAN REGISTERED VESSELS; BUT THIS ACT SHALL NOT BE SO CONSTRUED AS TO COMPEL THE ESTABLISHMENT OF HOSPITALS OR DISPENSARIES FOR THE BENEFIT OF SAID KEEPERS AND CREWS, NOR AS ESTABLISHING A HOME FOR THE SAME WHEN PERMANENTLY DISABLED.

BY THE ACT OF JANUARY 28, 1915, 38 STAT. 800, THE REVENUE CUTTER SERVICE AND THE LIFE-SAVING SERVICE WERE CONSOLIDATED AS THE PRESENT COAST GUARD, WITH A PROVISION IN SECTION 2 THAT---

EXCEPT AS HEREIN MODIFIED ALL EXISTING LAWS RELATING EITHER TO THE PRESENT LIFE-SAVING SERVICE OR THE PRESENT REVENUE-CUTTER SERVICE SHALL REMAIN IN FORCE AS FAR AS APPLICABLE TO THE COAST GUARD, * * *.

WHETHER, THEREFORE, THE RIGHT OF MEMBERS OF THE PRESENT COAST GUARD TO MEDICAL TREATMENT BY THE UNITED STATES PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE BE BY REASON OF THE RIGHT OF MEMBERS OF THE FORMER REVENUE CUTTER SERVICE AS AMERICAN SEAMEN OR UNDER THE ACT OF 1894, GIVING SUCH BENEFITS TO MEMBERS OF THE FORMER LIFE-SAVING SERVICE, IT IS ONLY AS MUCH AS, AND NO GREATER THAN, EITHER THERETOFORE POSSESSED, AND THE MEDICAL SERVICE CONTEMPLATED IS THE EXISTING FACILITIES OF THE UNITED STATES PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE.

WHEN, THEREFORE, A WARRANT OFFICER OF THE COAST GUARD IS DETACHED FROM SERVICE WITH THE COAST GUARD, HIS SERVICES BEING AUTHORIZED TO BE UTILIZED BY THE WAR DEPARTMENT, AND IF NOT SO UTILIZED, THE OFFICER "SHALL BE ON FURLOUGH STATUS; " AND HIS SERVICES ARE UTILIZED BY THE WAR DEPARTMENT AS AUTHORIZED BY THE EXECUTIVE ORDER AND HE IS ASSIGNED TO DUTY IN CONNECTION WITH PUBLIC WORKS PROJECTS NOT INVOLVING SERVICE ON VESSELS, THE OFFICER IS NOT ENTITLED TO MEDICAL TREATMENT AS AN AMERICAN SEAMAN NOTWITHSTANDING HE HAS A TECHNICAL STATUS IN THE COAST GUARD WHICH MAY HEREAFTER ENTITLE TO PAY AND EMOLUMENTS FROM THAT SERVICE. YOU ARE ACCORDINGLY INFORMED THAT THERE IS NO AUTHORITY TO PROVIDE HOSPITALIZATION FOR WARRANT OFFICERS DETAILED FOR SERVICE WITH THE WAR DEPARTMENT UNDER THE EXECUTIVE ORDER OF JUNE 15, 1933, AT THE EXPENSE OF THE UNITED STATES IF NOT EMPLOYED ON VESSELS THE CREWS OF WHICH ARE ENTITLED TO THE BENEFITS OF THE UNITED STATES PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE, AND IF HOSPITALIZATION IS FURNISHED TO SUCH WARRANT OFFICERS IN GOVERNMENT HOSPITALS, THE CHARGE FOR THE SERVICE IS PROPER FOR PAYMENT BY THE OFFICER HIMSELF.