A-96573, JULY 28, 1938, 18 COMP. GEN. 97

A-96573: Jul 28, 1938

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NOTWITHSTANDING A PART OF THE REVENUES ARE DERIVED FROM PRIVATE PAYING PATIENTS. PAYMENT BY THE EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION COMMISSION FOR TREATMENT RENDERED A BENEFICIARY OF THE SAID COMMISSION IS UNAUTHORIZED. IS AS FOLLOWS: VIOLA HILL WAS ADMITTED TO FREEDMEN'S HOSPITAL MAY 19. THE HOSPITAL SERVICES WERE REQUESTED BY THE COMPENSATION OFFICER FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA ON SPECIAL FORM CA-16 AND THE CHARGE THEREFOR WAS $50.00. WHICH WAS REAFFIRMED NOVEMBER 13. THE COMMISSION WAS WITHOUT AUTHORITY TO REIMBURSE ARMY HOSPITALS AND OTHER HOSPITALS OF THE UNITED STATES FOR HOSPITAL AND MEDICAL TREATMENT FURNISHED EMERGENCY WORKS EMPLOYEES. THE COMMISSION CONTENDED FURTHER THAT THE PREVIOUS PAYMENT TO THE HOSPITAL OF $42.50 WAS IN ERROR AND REQUESTED THAT THIS PAYMENT BE REFUNDED.

A-96573, JULY 28, 1938, 18 COMP. GEN. 97

MEDICAL TREATMENT - EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION COMMISSION BENEFICIARIES - PAYMENTS TO FREEDMEN'S HOSPITAL FREEDMEN'S HOSPITAL BEING A UNITED STATES HOSPITAL WITHIN THE MEANING OF SECTION 9 OF THE EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION ACT OF SEPTEMBER 7, 1916, 39 STAT. 743, AS AMENDED, 44 STAT. 772, RATHER THAN A PRIVATE HOSPITAL, NOTWITHSTANDING A PART OF THE REVENUES ARE DERIVED FROM PRIVATE PAYING PATIENTS, PAYMENT BY THE EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION COMMISSION FOR TREATMENT RENDERED A BENEFICIARY OF THE SAID COMMISSION IS UNAUTHORIZED.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, JULY 28, 1938:

YOUR LETTER OF JULY 16, 1938, IS AS FOLLOWS:

VIOLA HILL WAS ADMITTED TO FREEDMEN'S HOSPITAL MAY 19, 1937, TO RECEIVE TREATMENT FOR INJURIES SUSTAINED WHILE DOING MANUAL WORK ON THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA WORKS PROGRESS ADMINISTRATION SCHOOL LUNCH PROJECT AT THE JONES SCHOOL. THE HOSPITAL SERVICES WERE REQUESTED BY THE COMPENSATION OFFICER FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA ON SPECIAL FORM CA-16 AND THE CHARGE THEREFOR WAS $50.00, THE PATIENT BEING DISCHARGED FROM THE HOSPITAL ON JUNE 8, 1937.

THE U.S. COMPENSATION COMMISSION PAID THE HOSPITAL $42.50 OF THIS BILL, BUT WHEN CALLED UPON FOR THE BALANCE OF $7.50 DECLINED TO MAKE FURTHER PAYMENT, CONTENDING THAT IN VIEW OF THE DECISION OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF MAY 15, 1935, A-54321, WHICH WAS REAFFIRMED NOVEMBER 13, (30), 1935, THE COMMISSION WAS WITHOUT AUTHORITY TO REIMBURSE ARMY HOSPITALS AND OTHER HOSPITALS OF THE UNITED STATES FOR HOSPITAL AND MEDICAL TREATMENT FURNISHED EMERGENCY WORKS EMPLOYEES. THE COMMISSION CONTENDED FURTHER THAT THE PREVIOUS PAYMENT TO THE HOSPITAL OF $42.50 WAS IN ERROR AND REQUESTED THAT THIS PAYMENT BE REFUNDED.

FREEDMEN'S HOSPITAL IS A FEDERAL HOSPITAL WHICH IS UNDER THE JURISDICTION OF THIS DEPARTMENT, BUT INASMUCH AS IT RECEIVES SOME OF ITS REVENUE FROM PRIVATE PAY PATIENTS IT IS QUESTIONABLE AS TO WHETHER THE PROVISIONS OF THE ABOVE MENTIONED DECISION APPLY TO THE PRESENT CASE AND IT IS THEREFORE REQUESTED THAT YOU ADVISE THIS DEPARTMENT OF THE PROPER SETTLEMENT TO BE MADE.

THE QUESTION PRESENTED BY YOUR SUBMISSION IS WHETHER FREEDMEN'S HOSPITAL IS PROPERLY TO BE REGARDED AS AMONG THE "UNITED STATES * * * HOSPITALS" WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE FOLLOWING PORTION OF SECTION 9 OF THE EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION ACT OF SEPTEMBER 7, 1916, 39 STAT. 743, AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF JUNE 26, 1926, 44 STAT. 772, AUTHORIZING MEDICAL AND HOSPITAL TREATMENT OF BENEFICIARIES OF THE EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION ACT UNDER CERTAIN CONDITIONS:

* * * SUCH SERVICES, APPLIANCES, AND SUPPLIES SHALL BE FURNISHED BY OR UPON THE ORDER OF UNITED STATES MEDICAL OFFICERS AND HOSPITALS, BUT WHERE THIS IS NOT PRACTICABLE THEY SHALL BE FURNISHED BY OR UPON THE ORDER OF PRIVATE PHYSICIANS AND HOSPITALS DESIGNATED OR APPROVED BY THE COMMISSION. * * *

THE DECISIONS CITED IN YOUR LETTER ON THE BASIS OF WHICH THE UNITED STATES EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION COMMISSION HAS REFUSED TO PAY FOR THE HOSPITAL SERVICES IN THIS CASE ARE NOT DIRECTLY IN POINT HERE. THEY INVOLVED A QUESTION WHETHER ARMY AND NAVY HOSPITALS MIGHT BE REIMBURSED FOR SERVICES RENDERED BENEFICIARIES OF THE EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION COMMISSION WHO ARE ENTITLED TO SUCH BENEFITS UNDER LAWS OTHER THAN THE EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION ACT.

IN A DECISION OF A FORMER COMPTROLLER OF THE TREASURY DATED JUNE 9,1919, CITED AT 6 COMP. GEN. 80, HOLDING THAT ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL WAS A UNITED STATES HOSPITAL WITHIN THE MEANING OF SECTION 9 OF THE EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION ACT AND COULD NOT BE PAID FROM THE EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION FUND FOR TREATMENT OF BENEFICIARIES OF THE EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION ACT, IT WAS STATED AS FOLLOWS:

IT SEEMS CLEAR FROM THE LANGUAGE OF THIS SECTION THAT THE USE OF THE EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION FUND TO PAY FOR HOSPITAL SERVICES FURNISHED INJURED EMPLOYEES IS AUTHORIZED ONLY WHEN SUCH SERVICES ARE FURNISHED BY PRIVATE HOSPITALS AND WHERE IT IS NOT PRACTICABLE TO HAVE THEM FURNISHED BY UNITED STATES HOSPITALS. * * *

A REFERENCE TO SECTIONS 261-264, TITLE 24, U.S. CODE, AND TO THE BASIC LAWS THEREIN CITED WILL SHOW BEYOND ANY REASONABLE DOUBT THAT FREEDMEN'S HOSPITAL IS A UNITED STATES HOSPITAL RATHER THAN A PRIVATE HOSPITAL. SECTION 2038, REVISED STATUTES, SPECIFICALLY RECOGNIZES FREEDMEN'S HOSPITAL AS A GOVERNMENTAL HOSPITAL. THE ACT OF JUNE 23, 1874, 18 STAT. 223, TRANSFERRED THE DIRECTION AND CONTROL OF THE INSTITUTION FROM THE SECRETARY OF WAR TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR. THE ACT OF JUNE 26, 1912, 37 STAT. 172, AUTHORIZED ADMISSION OF PATIENTS TO FREEDMEN'S HOSPITAL "ON THE PAYMENT OF SUCH REASONABLE CHARGES THEREFOR AS THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR SHALL PRESCRIBE.' THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1905, 33 STAT. 1190, AUTHORIZES THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR TO ENTER INTO CONTRACTS WITH THE BOARD OF CHARITIES OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA FOR THE CARE AND TREATMENT IN FREEDMEN'S HOSPITAL OF PERSONS FROM THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, THE PROCEEDS TO BE PAID TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR TO BE APPLIED FOR THE USES AND PURPOSES OF THE HOSPITAL. THE ACT OF JULY 1, 1916, 29 STAT. 311, PROVIDES THAT UNCLAIMED MONEY LEFT BY DECEASED PATIENTS AT FREEDMEN'S HOSPITAL SHALL, AFTER A PERIOD OF THREE YEARS, BE DEPOSITED INTO THE TREASURY TO THE CREDIT OF MISCELLANEOUS RECEIPTS. ANNUAL APPROPRIATION ACTS FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR PROVIDE FOR THE SUPPORT OF THE HOSPITAL. IN VIEW OF THESE STATUTORY PROVISIONS, THE FACT THAT A PART OF THE REVENUES OF THE HOSPITAL IS DERIVED FROM PRIVATE PAYING PATIENTS DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE HOSPITAL A PRIVATE, RATHER THAN A GOVERNMENTAL, INSTITUTION, AS YOU APPEAR TO SUGGEST.

YOU ARE ADVISED, THEREFORE, THAT ON THE BASIS OF THE FACTS STATED IN YOUR LETTER, THE EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION COMMISSION IS NOT AUTHORIZED TO PAY THE BALANCE OF THE BILL FOR THE TREATMENT OF VIOLA HILL, A BENEFICIARY OF THE EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION COMMISSION, AND SHOULD BE REIMBURSED THE AMOUNT OF $42.50 HERETOFORE PAID THE INSTITUTION.