B-124059, JULY 15, 1955, 35 COMP. GEN. 20

B-124059: Jul 15, 1955

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CODE 596A FOR FURNISHING FREE EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES WHERE SECRETARY OF COMMERCE DETERMINES SERVICES ARE NECESSARY. 1955: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MAY 23. WHO WAS TRAVELING FROM WASHINGTON. HE WAS HOSPITALIZED FROM APRIL 7. ALDERTON'S ILLNESS WAS DIAGNOSED AS ACUTE ANXIETY STATE CAUSED BY THE BREAKDOWN IN THE AIRCRAFT ENGINES. THE EMPLOYMENT AGREEMENT SIGNED BY THE EMPLOYEE PROVIDES THAT EMERGENCY MEDICAL CARE AND HOSPITALIZATION WILL BE PROVIDED IN LOCATIONS WHERE ADEQUATE PRIVATE MEDICAL FACILITIES ARE NOT AVAILABLE AND IS BASED ON THE PROVISION OF THE ACT OF OCTOBER 26. THE ACT PROVIDES THAT DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE APPROPRIATIONS ARE AUTHORIZED FOR FURNISHING TO EMPLOYEES OF THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE AND THEIR DEPENDENTS.

B-124059, JULY 15, 1955, 35 COMP. GEN. 20

MEDICAL TREATMENT - CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES - EMERGENCY ROUTE TO STATION OUTSIDE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES MEDICAL AND HOSPITAL EXPENSES INCURRED BY WEATHER BUREAU EMPLOYEE EN ROUTE TO PERMANENT DUTY STATION OUTSIDE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES MAY BE REIMBURSED IN ACCORDANCE WITH AUTHORITY IN 5 U.S. CODE 596A FOR FURNISHING FREE EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES WHERE SECRETARY OF COMMERCE DETERMINES SERVICES ARE NECESSARY.

TO R. P. HOGAN, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE, JULY 15, 1955:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MAY 23, 1955, FILE REFERENCE A 3.32, TRANSMITTING FOR ADVANCE DECISION VOUCHERS IN FAVOR OF DR. J. R. HILLIARD FOR $15 AND SUDBURY GENERAL HOSPITAL, SUDBURY, ONTARIO, CANADA, FOR $38.65. THE VOUCHERS COVER THE COST OF MEDICAL CARE AND HOSPITALIZATION OF AN EMPLOYEE OF THE WEATHER BUREAU, MR. ARTHUR T. ALDERTON, WHO WAS TRAVELING FROM WASHINGTON, D.C., TO MOULD BAY, NWT, CANADA, FOR PERMANENT DUTY AT THE ISOLATED WEATHER BUREAU STATION IN THE ARCTIC.

THE PILOT EXPERIENCED SOME ENGINE TROUBLE AND HAD TO LAND THE PLANE AT SUDBURY FOR REPAIRS. MR. ALDERTON BECAME UNCONSCIOUS WHILE PREPARING TO CONTINUE THE JOURNEY, AND HE WAS HOSPITALIZED FROM APRIL 7, 1955, TO APRIL 9, 1955. MR. ALDERTON'S ILLNESS WAS DIAGNOSED AS ACUTE ANXIETY STATE CAUSED BY THE BREAKDOWN IN THE AIRCRAFT ENGINES. THE ADMINISTRATOR OF THE ARCTIC OPERATIONS PROJECT RECOMMENDS THAT THE EXPENSES BE PAID BY THE GOVERNMENT IN VIEW OF THE UNUSUAL CIRCUMSTANCES WHICH CAUSED THE ILLNESS.

THE EMPLOYMENT AGREEMENT SIGNED BY THE EMPLOYEE PROVIDES THAT EMERGENCY MEDICAL CARE AND HOSPITALIZATION WILL BE PROVIDED IN LOCATIONS WHERE ADEQUATE PRIVATE MEDICAL FACILITIES ARE NOT AVAILABLE AND IS BASED ON THE PROVISION OF THE ACT OF OCTOBER 26, 1949, 63 STAT. 907, 5 U.S.C. 596A. THE ACT PROVIDES THAT DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE APPROPRIATIONS ARE AUTHORIZED FOR FURNISHING TO EMPLOYEES OF THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE AND THEIR DEPENDENTS, IN ALASKA AND OTHER POINTS OUTSIDE THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES, FREE EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES BY CONTRACT OR OTHERWISE AND FREE EMERGENCY MEDICAL SUPPLIES, WHERE, IN THE JUDGMENT OF THE SECRETARY, FURNISHING OF SUCH SUPPLIES AND SERVICES IS NECESSARY.

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER NO. 202-7, MANUAL OF ORDERS PART 2, WHICH OUTLINES THE LAWS, REGULATIONS, AND POLICIES APPLICABLE TO PERSONNEL EMPLOYED AT STATIONS OUTSIDE THE CONTINENTAL LIMITS OF THE UNITED STATES PROVIDES IN SECTION 3.08 FOR MEDICAL CARE AS FOLLOWS---

INSOFAR AS PRACTICABLE, ARRANGEMENTS WILL BE MADE BY EACH PRIMARY ORGANIZATION UNIT FOR EMERGENCY MEDICAL CARE AND HOSPITALIZATION FOR EMPLOYEES AND MEMBERS OF THEIR IMMEDIATE FAMILY WHO RESIDE WITH THEM AT OVERSEAS LOCATIONS WHERE ADEQUATE PRIVATE MEDICAL FACILITIES (AS DETERMINED BY THE PRIMARY ORGANIZATION UNIT CONCERNED) ARE NOT AVAILABLE.

YOUR DOUBT IN THE MATTER IS BASED ON THE FACT THAT THE MEDICAL AND HOSPITAL EXPENSES WERE INCURRED AT SUDBURY, ONTARIO, CANADA, WHERE MEDICAL AND HOSPITALIZATION SERVICES ARE AVAILABLE AND THAT NORMALLY SUCH EXPENSES HAVE BEEN ADMINISTRATIVELY CONSIDERED AS PERSONAL TO THE EMPLOYEE.

WHILE THIS CASE DOES NOT APPEAR TO BE SPECIFICALLY COVERED BY THE REGULATIONS, YET SINCE THE ACT (63 STAT. 907, SECTION (A) ( AUTHORIZES THE DEPARTMENT TO FURNISH FREE EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES WHERE "IN THE JUDGMENT OF THE SECRETARY" SUCH SERVICES ARE NECESSARY, THE VOUCHERS, IF APPROVED BY THE SECRETARY OR PROPER SUBORDINATE (SEE SECTION 12 OF PUBLIC LAW 600, APPROVED AUGUST 2, 1946, 5 U.S.C. 22A), MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT. IF NOT SO APPROVED THEY MAY NOT BE CERTIFIED.