A-6325, DECEMBER 12, 1924, 4 COMP. GEN. 532

A-6325: Dec 12, 1924

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INDIAN SERVICE - PHYSICIANS - FEES AND MILEAGE PHYSICIANS OF THE INDIAN SERVICE EMPLOYED ON A FULL-TIME BASIS ARE NOT AUTHORIZED TO BE PAID THE FEES AND MILEAGE PROVIDED IN THE ACT OF SEPTEMBER 22. WHERE EXAMINATIONS OF CLAIMANTS FOR PENSIONS AND ANNUITIES BY SUCH PHYSICIANS ARE DIRECTED TO BE MADE. THE ONLY PAYMENTS AUTHORIZED IN CONNECTION THEREWITH ARE THOSE IN THE NATURE OF REIMBURSEMENT OF THE EXPENSES OF TRAVEL. 1924: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 14. WITH REQUEST FOR DECISION AS TO WHETHER THE FEES AND MILEAGE THEREIN PROVIDED ARE AUTHORIZED TO BE PAID TO PHYSICIANS OF THE INDIAN SERVICE FOR MAKING EXAMINATIONS OF CLAIMANTS FOR PENSIONS AND ANNUITIES. 860 A YEAR OR THOSE WHO ARE NOT EMPLOYED ON FULL-TIME BASIS WILL BE PAID BY THE BUREAU OF PENSIONS FOR MAKING EXAMINATION OF CLAIMANTS FOR PENSIONS AND ANNUITIES.

A-6325, DECEMBER 12, 1924, 4 COMP. GEN. 532

INDIAN SERVICE - PHYSICIANS - FEES AND MILEAGE PHYSICIANS OF THE INDIAN SERVICE EMPLOYED ON A FULL-TIME BASIS ARE NOT AUTHORIZED TO BE PAID THE FEES AND MILEAGE PROVIDED IN THE ACT OF SEPTEMBER 22, 1922, 42 STAT. 1030, FOR MAKING EXAMINATIONS OF CLAIMANTS FOR PENSIONS AND ANNUITIES. WHERE EXAMINATIONS OF CLAIMANTS FOR PENSIONS AND ANNUITIES BY SUCH PHYSICIANS ARE DIRECTED TO BE MADE, THE ONLY PAYMENTS AUTHORIZED IN CONNECTION THEREWITH ARE THOSE IN THE NATURE OF REIMBURSEMENT OF THE EXPENSES OF TRAVEL.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, DECEMBER 12, 1924:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 14, 1924, TRANSMITTING A COPY OF A CIRCULAR PROPOSED TO BE ISSUED BY THE COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS, WITH YOUR APPROVAL, WITH REQUEST FOR DECISION AS TO WHETHER THE FEES AND MILEAGE THEREIN PROVIDED ARE AUTHORIZED TO BE PAID TO PHYSICIANS OF THE INDIAN SERVICE FOR MAKING EXAMINATIONS OF CLAIMANTS FOR PENSIONS AND ANNUITIES. THE SAID CIRCULAR PROVIDES:

PHYSICIANS OF THE INDIAN SERVICE WHO RECEIVE LESS THAN $1,860 A YEAR OR THOSE WHO ARE NOT EMPLOYED ON FULL-TIME BASIS WILL BE PAID BY THE BUREAU OF PENSIONS FOR MAKING EXAMINATION OF CLAIMANTS FOR PENSIONS AND ANNUITIES.

THE FEE FOR AN ORDINARY EXAMINATION IS $3, BUT WHEN THE PHYSICIAN IS DIRECTED BY THE COMMISSIONER OF PENSIONS TO VISIT THE HOME OF THE PATIENT, A FEE OF $5 IS ALLOWED, AND 20 CENTS A MILE FOR THE GOING AND RETURNING TRIPS, PROVIDED THE AGGREGATE MILEAGE IS NOT IN EXCESS OF 100, IN WHICH CASE SPECIAL AUTHORITY WOULD BE REQUIRED FROM THE COMMISSIONER OF PENSIONS.

PHYSICIANS SHOULD NOT INCUR EXPENSES FOR TRAVEL EXCEPT WHEN DIRECTED BY THE COMMISSIONER OF PENSIONS.

THE ACT OF SEPTEMBER 22, 1922, 42 STAT. 1030, PROVIDES:

THAT HEREAFTER EACH DULY DESIGNATED EXAMINING SURGEON, EXCEPT EXPERT AND FOREIGN SURGEONS, AND EACH MEMBER OF A BOARD OF EXAMINING SURGEONS, APPOINTED BY THE COMMISSIONER OF PENSIONS FOR THE EXAMINATION OF PENSIONERS AND CLAIMANTS FOR PENSION OR INCREASED PENSION, SHALL RECEIVE THE SUM OF $3 FOR EACH EXAMINATION AND SATISFACTORY REPORT THEREOF: PROVIDED, HOWEVER, THAT THE FEE FOR EACH EXAMINATION MADE BY AN EXAMINING SURGEON AT A CLAIMANT'S RESIDENCE FOR USE IN A PENSION CLAIM SHALL BE $5, AND IN LIEU OF ACTUAL TRAVELING EXPENSES THERE SHALL BE PAID THE SUM OF 20 CENTS PER MILE FOR THE DISTANCE ACTUALLY AND NECESSARILY TRAVELED, NOT EXCEEDING THE DISTANCE BY THE USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE FROM THE SURGEON'S OFFICE TO THE CLAIMANT'S HOME AND RETURN: PROVIDED FURTHER, THAT NO FEE SHALL BE PAID TO ANY MEMBER OF AN EXAMINING BOARD UNLESS HE IS PERSONALLY PRESENT AND ASSISTS IN THE EXAMINATION OF THE CLAIMANT: AND PROVIDED FURTHER, THAT THE REPORT SHALL SPECIFICALLY AND ACCURATELY SET FORTH THE PHYSICAL CONDITION OF THE CLAIMANT AND INCLUDE A FULL DESCRIPTION OF EVERY EXISTING DISABILITY.

SECTION 1764, REVISED STATUES, PROVIDES:

NO ALLOWANCE OR COMPENSATION SHALL BE MADE TO ANY OFFICER OR CLERK, BY REASON OF THE DISCHARGE OF DUTIES WHICH BELONG TO ANY OTHER OFFICER OR CLERK IN THE SAME OR ANY OTHER DEPARTMENT; AND NO ALLOWANCE OR COMPENSATION SHALL BE MADE FOR ANY EXTRA SERVICES WHATEVER, WHICH ANY OFFICER OR CLERK MAY BE REQUIRED TO PERFORM, UNLESS EXPRESSLY AUTHORIZED BY LAW.

IN DECISION OF OCTOBER 7, 1922, IN ANSWER TO THE QUESTION AS TO WHETHER FEES "CAN * * * BE PAID TO SURGEONS IN THE INDIAN SERVICE WHO RECEIVE A SALARY OF MORE THAN $720 PER ANNUM," YOU WERE ADVISED THAT:

SECTION 82 OF THE INDIAN OFFICE REGULATIONS SPECIFIES WHO ARE ENTITLED TO THE SERVICES OF A REGULARLY APPOINTED PHYSICIAN AND PROVIDES THAT:

"* * * IT IS ALSO HIS DUTY TO EXAMINE APPLICANTS FOR A PENSION WHEN CALLED UPON TO DO SO BY THE INDIAN OFFICE. NO CHARGE SHALL BE MADE FOR THIS SERVICE.'

SINCE IT IS MADE PART OF THE DUTIES OF A REGULARLY APPOINTED PHYSICIAN OF THE INDIAN SERVICE TO EXAMINE APPLICANTS FOR A PENSION AT THE REQUEST OF THE INDIAN OFFICE WITHOUT CHARGE IT FOLLOWS THAT THE PAYMENT TO HIM OF A FEE FOR SUCH SERVICE WOULD BE IN VIOLATION OF SECTION 1764, REVISED STATUTES, WHICH FORBIDS PAYMENT OF ANY ALLOWANCE OR COMPENSATION FOR EXTRA SERVICE WERE IT OTHERWISE ALLOWABLE.

AND YOUR ATTENTION WAS INVITED TO SECTION 5 OF THE CIVIL SERVICE RETIREMENT ACT, OF MAY 22, 1920, 41 STAT. 616, WHICH WAS HELD TO NEGATIVE THE PAYMENT OF ANY FEES TO "MEDICAL OFFICERS OF THE UNITED STATES" FOR EXAMINATIONS UNDER AND PURSUANT TO SAID ACT. THE PROVISION IN QUESTION READS:

FEES FOR EXAMINATIONS MADE UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION BY PHYSICIANS OR SURGEONS WHO ARE NOT MEDICAL OFFICERS OF THE UNITED STATES SHALL BE FIXED BY THE COMMISSIONER OF PENSIONS, AND SUCH FEES, TOGETHER WITH THE EMPLOYEE'S REASONABLE TRAVELING AND OTHER EXPENSES INCURRED IN ORDER TO SUBMIT TO SUCH EXAMINATIONS, SHALL BE PAID OUT OF THE APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE COST OF ADMINISTERING THIS ACT.

YOUR ATTENTION IS ALSO INVITED TO DECISION OF DECEMBER 15, 1917, 24 COMP. DEC. 350, WHEREIN IT WAS HELD AS TO THE PAYMENT OF EXTRA COMPENSATION FOR THE PERFORMANCE OF SERVICES BY EMPLOYEES OF ONE BUREAU OF A DEPARTMENT FOR ANOTHER BUREAU OF THE SAME DEPARTMENT THAT:

THE * * * QUESTION MUST BE ANSWERED NEGATIVELY FOR THE REASON THAT AS TO THE EMPLOYEES OF THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT IT WOULD BE IN THE NATURE OF EXTRA SERVICES, WHICH MIGHT BE REQUIRED OF THEM WITHOUT ADDITIONAL COMPENSATION.

THE INFORMATION FURNISHED IN THE CIRCULAR QUOTED, SUPRA, AND THE LETTER TRANSMITTING IT WITH REQUEST FOR DECISION, DEOS NOT DISCLOSE THE NATURE OF THE EMPLOYMENTS WITH SUFFICIENT EXACTNESS TO WARRANT OTHER THAN THE FOLLOWING GENERAL REPLY.

PHYSICIANS OF THE INDIAN SERVICE EMPLOYED ON A FULL-TIME BASIS ARE NOT AUTHORIZED TO BE PAID THE FEES AND MILEAGE PROVIDED IN THE ACT OF SEPTEMBER 22, 1922, 42 STAT. 1030. IF EXAMINATIONS OF CLAIMANTS FOR PENSIONS AND ANNUITIES BY SUCH PHYSICIANS ARE DIRECTED TO BE MADE, THE ONLY PAYMENTS AUTHORIZED TO BE MADE IN CONNECTION THEREWITH ARE IN REIMBURSEMENT OF THE EXPENSES OF TRAVEL, ETC., AND SUCH REIMBURSEMENT SHOULD BE MADE PURSUANT TO INDIAN OFFICE REGULATIONS, THE ADDITIONAL COST CHARGED UNDER INDIAN OFFICE APPROPRIATIONS BY REASON OF SUCH EXAMINATIONS TO BE REIMBURSED THERETO AND CHARGED UNDER THE APPROPRIATION FOR "FEES OF EXAMINING SURGEONS, PENSIONS," OR "SALARIES AND EXPENSES, EMPLOYEES' RETIREMENT ACT, BUREAU OF PENSIONS," DEPENDING UPON WHETHER THE CLAIM IS FOR A PENSION OR AN ANNUITY.

WHETHER OR NOT PHYSICIANS EMPLOYED ON A PART-TIME BASIS ARE AUTHORIZED TO CHARGE AND BE PAID THE FEES AND MILEAGE WOULD DEPEND UPON THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF THE PART-TIME EMPLOYMENT AND CAN NOT BE DETERMINED FROM THE INFORMATION FURNISHED.