B-111620, SEPTEMBER 25, 1952, 32 COMP. GEN. 141

B-111620: Sep 25, 1952

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REQUIRES THAT EXISTING HOSPITALS OBLIGATE THEMSELVES TO PAY AT LEAST 50 PERCENTUM OF THE COST OF ANY PROJECT FOR WHICH AID IS GRANTED. PRIVATE FUNDS WHICH HAVE ALREADY BEEN USED TO MATCH GOVERNMENT CONTRIBUTIONS FOR HOSPITAL IMPROVEMENTS UNDER OTHER ACTS MAY NOT BE USED AGAIN TO MATCH FUNDS REQUESTED UNDER THE SAID 1951 ACT. 1952: REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER DATED AUGUST 26. IT IS STATED IN THE ACTING ADMINISTRATOR'S LETTER THAT CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL RAISED APPROXIMATELY $1. 000 WAS USED TO MATCH FUNDS GRANTED TO IT UNDER THE HOSPITAL SURVEY AND CONSTRUCTION ACT. THAT GRANT WAS OBTAINED PRIOR TO THE AMENDMENT OF PUBLIC LAW 648 ON OCTOBER 25. - WHICH IS COVERED UNDER EXISTING CONTRACTS. WHEN THE APPLICATION BY CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL FOR THE INSTANT GRANT WAS SUBMITTED.

B-111620, SEPTEMBER 25, 1952, 32 COMP. GEN. 141

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA - PRIVATE HOSPITAL CONSTRUCTION AND IMPROVEMENT - FEDERAL CONTRIBUTIONS SECTION 1 (C) OF THE ACT OF OCTOBER 25, 1951, WHICH AUTHORIZES FEDERAL GRANTS TO PRIVATE AGENCIES IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA FOR THE CONSTRUCTION AND EQUIPMENT OF HOSPITAL FACILITIES ON CONDITION THAT ESTABLISHED HOSPITALS OBLIGATE THEMSELVES TO PAY 50 PERCENTUM OF THE COST OF SUCH PROJECTS MAY NOT BE APPLIED RETROACTIVELY SO AS TO AUTHORIZE THE COST OF HOSPITAL IMPROVEMENTS COMPLETED UNDER CONTRACTS ENTERED INTO PRIOR TO THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE 1951 ACT TO BE CONSIDERED AS MEETING ANY PART OF THE PERCENTAGE CONTRIBUTION REQUIREMENT OF THE 1951 ACT. UNDER SECTION 1 (C) OF THE ACT OF OCTOBER 25, 1951, WHICH AUTHORIZES FEDERAL AID FOR PRIVATE HOSPITAL CONSTRUCTION AND IMPROVEMENT IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, AND REQUIRES THAT EXISTING HOSPITALS OBLIGATE THEMSELVES TO PAY AT LEAST 50 PERCENTUM OF THE COST OF ANY PROJECT FOR WHICH AID IS GRANTED, PRIVATE FUNDS WHICH HAVE ALREADY BEEN USED TO MATCH GOVERNMENT CONTRIBUTIONS FOR HOSPITAL IMPROVEMENTS UNDER OTHER ACTS MAY NOT BE USED AGAIN TO MATCH FUNDS REQUESTED UNDER THE SAID 1951 ACT.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE ADMINISTRATOR, GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION, SEPTEMBER 25, 1952:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER DATED AUGUST 26, 1952 (REFERENCE LAS), FROM THE ACTING ADMINISTRATOR, PRESENTING FOR DECISION TWO QUESTIONS, SET OUT BELOW, CONCERNING A GRANT OF FUNDS TO CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF PUBLIC LAW 648, APPROVED AUGUST 7, 1946, 60 STAT. 896, AS AMENDED BY PUBLIC LAWS 221 AND 424, APPROVED OCTOBER 25, 1951, 66 STAT. 657, AND JUNE 28, 1952, 66 STAT. 288, RESPECTIVELY.

IT IS STATED IN THE ACTING ADMINISTRATOR'S LETTER THAT CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL RAISED APPROXIMATELY $1,850,000 IN ITS 1946 DRIVE AND IN A SUPPLEMENTAL DRIVE IN 1951 FOR VOLUNTARY CONTRIBUTIONS FROM THE PUBLIC. OF THAT AMOUNT $1,630,000 WAS USED TO MATCH FUNDS GRANTED TO IT UNDER THE HOSPITAL SURVEY AND CONSTRUCTION ACT, PUBLIC LAW 725, APPROVED AUGUST 13, 1946, 60 STAT. 1040, ON THE BASIS OF $1 GRANTED FOR EACH $2 CONTRIBUTED BY THE HOSPITAL. THAT GRANT WAS OBTAINED PRIOR TO THE AMENDMENT OF PUBLIC LAW 648 ON OCTOBER 25, 1951 ( PUBLIC LAW 221) AUTHORIZING GRANTS ON A 50/50 BASIS TO CERTAIN PRIVATE AGENCIES IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. THE CONSTRUCTION WORK ON THE ADDITIONAL FACILITIES FOR COLUMBIA HOSPITAL--- WHICH IS COVERED UNDER EXISTING CONTRACTS--- HAD REACHED APPROXIMATELY 50 PERCENT OF COMPLETION AS OF JANUARY 29, 1952, WHEN THE APPLICATION BY CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL FOR THE INSTANT GRANT WAS SUBMITTED. THE HOSPITAL STILL HAS AVAILABLE TO IT FROM PRIVATE SOURCES THE AMOUNT OF APPROXIMATELY $220,000 WHICH HAS NOT BEEN USED TO MATCH FEDERAL FUNDS FROM ANY SOURCE. HOWEVER, THE HOSPITAL HAS APPLIED FOR ADDITIONAL FEDERAL FUNDS IN THE AMOUNT OF $595,000 UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE CITED ACT OF AUGUST 7, 1946, AS AMENDED. THE QUESTIONS PRESENTED ARE AS FOLLOWS:

1. SECTION 1 (C) OF THE ACT CONTAINS A PROVISO TO THE EFFECT

"THAT, EXCEPT IN THE CASE OF THE CONSTRUCTION AND EQUIPMENT OF A NEW HOSPITAL, NO SUCH GRANT SHALL BE MADE TO ANY PRIVATE AGENCY UNLESS SUCH PRIVATE AGENCY SHALL OBLIGATE ITSELF TO PAY AT LEAST 50 PERCENTUM OF THE COST OF ANY PROJECT FOR WHICH SUCH GRANT IS MADE.'

IN VIEW OF THIS PROVISO, MAY ANY PART OF THE WORK COMPLETED BY THE HOSPITAL UNDER CONTRACTS AND ADDITIONS THERETO ENTERED INTO PRIOR AND SUBSEQUENT TO THE APPROVAL OF PUBLIC LAW 221, 82ND CONGRESS ( OCTOBER 25, 1951) OR THE DATE OF APPROVAL OF THE ACT APPROPRIATING FUNDS TO CARRY OUT ITS PURPOSES ( PUBLIC LAW 547, 82ND CONGRESS, APPROVED JULY 15, 1952) BE CONSIDERED AS MEETING IN WHOLE OR IN PART THE REQUIREMENT THAT PRIOR TO THE MAKING OF ANY GRANT UNDER THE ACT THE PRIVATE AGENCY SHALL OBLIGATE ITSELF TO PAY 50 PERCENTUM OF THE COST OF ANY PROJECT FOR WHICH SUCH GRANT IS MADE?

2. DOES THE FACT THAT PART OF THE FUNDS RAISED BY THE HOSPITAL IN ITS DRIVE FOR CONTRIBUTIONS FROM THE GENERAL PUBLIC HAVE BEEN USED TO THE EXTENT OF APPROXIMATELY $1,630,000 TO MATCH FUNDS MADE AVAILABLE TO IT UNDER THE HILL-BURTON ACT PREVENT THE SUBSEQUENT USE OF SUCH FUNDS TO MEET THE 50 PERCENT OBLIGATION REQUIRED OF THE HOSPITAL UNDER SECTION 1 (C) OF THE ACT? * * *

WITH RESPECT TO YOUR FIRST QUESTION THE GENERAL RULE IS THAT AN AMENDATORY STATUTE, LIKE OTHER LEGISLATIVE ACTS, MUST BE REGARDED AS EFFECTIVE FROM THE DATE OF ITS PASSAGE UNLESS A RETROACTIVE CONSTRUCTION IS REQUIRED BY EXPRESS LANGUAGE OR NECESSARY IMPLICATION. SEE 26 COMP. GEN. 592; 28 ID. 200; 29 ID. 11; 30 ID. 86; UNITED STATES V. ST. LOUIS RAILWAY CO., 270 U.S. 1. ESPECIALLY IS THIS TRUE WHERE, AS HERE, THE AMENDMENT CREATES NEW SUBSTANTIVE RIGHTS. WINFREE V. NORTHERN PACIFIC R. CO., 227 U.S. 296. THERE IS NOTHING IN THE AMENDATORY ACT OF OCTOBER 25, 1951, SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZING THE MAKING OF GRANTS FOR WORK COMPLETED PRIOR TO THE DATE OF THE ACT NOR IS SUCH A CONSTRUCTION REQUIRED BY NECESSARY IMPLICATION. THE MAKING OF THE GRANTS IS AUTHORIZED SOLELY "TO ENABLE SUCH PRIVATE AGENCIES TO MAKE SURVEYS AND INVESTIGATIONS, TO PLAN, DESIGN, CONSTRUCT, REMODEL, RELOCATE, REBUILD, RENOVATE, EXTEND, EQUIP, FURNISH, OR REPAIR HOSPITAL FACILITIES IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.' THAT LANGUAGE CONTAINED IN SUBSECTION 1 (C) OF THE ACT CLEARLY REFERS TO SURVEYS, INVESTIGATIONS, PLANS, DESIGNS, CONSTRUCTION, ETC., WHICH ARE TO BE ACCOMPLISHED IN THE FUTURE. WHILE NO SPECIFIC REFERENCE TO THE RETROACTIVE OR PROSPECTIVE EFFECT OF THE ACT IS MADE IN ITS LEGISLATIVE HISTORY, IT IS DISCLOSED THEREIN THAT THE PURPOSE OF THE PROPOSED LEGISLATION WAS TO PROVIDE ADDITIONAL FACILITIES WHICH WOULD NOT OTHERWISE BE PROVIDED, WHICH INDICATES THAT THE ACT IS PROSPECTIVE ONLY. IT MUST BE CONCLUDED, THEREFORE, THAT NO WORK COMPLETED BY CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL UNDER CONTRACTS AND ADDITIONS THERETO ENTERED INTO PRIOR TO THE APPROVAL OF PUBLIC LAW 221, 82D CONGRESS ( OCTOBER 25, 1951), MAY BE CONSIDERED AS MEETING ANY PART OF ITS REQUIREMENT TO PAY 50 PERCENTUM OF THE COST OF ANY PROJECT FOR WHICH A GRANT IS MADE UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THAT ACT. CONCERNING THE WORK CONTRACTED FOR SUBSEQUENT TO OCTOBER 25, 1951, AND PRIOR TO THE DATE OF FILING THE APPLICATION FOR A GRANT FOR THE PARTICULAR PROJECT, THERE IS FOR YOUR DETERMINATION WHETHER THE GRANTING OF FUNDS ON A 50/50 BASIS FOR THAT PORTION OF THE PROJECT WOULD BE "IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST" AS THAT PHRASE IS USED IN SUBSECTION 1 (C) OF THE ACT. DETERMINED BY YOU TO BE IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST, THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE WOULD NOT OBJECT TO THE CONSIDERATION OF THE COST OF SUCH WORK AS PART OF THE 50 PERCENTUM SHARE OF CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL TO THE EXTENT THAT THE FUNDS OBLIGATED BY SUCH CONTRACTS WERE NOT HERETOFORE MATCHED BY FUNDS RECEIVED FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.

YOUR SECOND QUESTION IS ANSWERED IN THE AFFIRMATIVE. TO HOLD OTHERWISE MIGHT PERMIT THE HOSPITAL TO OBTAIN FUNDS UNDER THE TWO ACTS ON A BASIS MORE FAVORABLE TO THE HOSPITAL THAN A 50/50 BASIS WHICH CLEARLY WOULD BE CONTRARY TO THE INTENT OF THE CONGRESS.