B-125795, DEC. 27, 1955

B-125795: Dec 27, 1955

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IT IS STATED IN YOUR LETTER THAT "NON-INDIANS" WHO ARE ADMITTED TO HOSPITALS AND OTHER HEALTH FACILITIES OPERATED BY THE SERVICE FOR INDIANS AND NATIVES OF ALASKA ARE CHARGED FEES FOR MEDICAL CARE AND TREATMENT. THESE FEES WERE REQUIRED TO BE COVERED INTO THE TREASURY OF THE UNITED STATES UNDER THE CAPTION "INDIAN MONEYS. AFTER ENACTMENT OF THE 1952 ACT THE FEES DERIVED FROM HOSPITAL AND HEALTH SERVICES FOR NON-INDIANS WERE DEPOSITED IN THE TREASURY TO THE CREDIT OF THE APPROPRIATION FROM WHICH THE HOSPITALIZATION OR MEDICAL SERVICES WERE PROVIDED AND WERE AVAILABLE FOR EXPENDITURE FOR THE PURPOSES FOR WHICH THE APPROPRIATION WAS MADE (25 U.S.C. 449). THERE WAS NO PROVISION IN THE 1954 ACT FOR DISPOSITION OF FEES RECEIVED FOR THE CARE AND TREATMENT OF PAY PATIENTS IN THE HOSPITALS AND HEALTH FACILITIES MAINTAINED FOR THE INDIANS.

B-125795, DEC. 27, 1955

TO THE HONORABLE SECRETARY OF HEALTH, EDUCATION, AND WELFARE:

YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 14, 1955, REQUESTS OUR ADVICE CONCERNING THE PROPER APPROPRIATION TO BE CREDITED WITH MONEY RECEIVED BY THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE FOR THE CARE AND TREATMENT OF PAY PATIENTS IN HOSPITALS AND HEALTH FACILITIES OPERATED FOR INDIANS (INCLUDING ALASKA NATIVES) UNDER THE ACT OF AUGUST 5, 1954, 68 STAT. 674.

IT IS STATED IN YOUR LETTER THAT "NON-INDIANS" WHO ARE ADMITTED TO HOSPITALS AND OTHER HEALTH FACILITIES OPERATED BY THE SERVICE FOR INDIANS AND NATIVES OF ALASKA ARE CHARGED FEES FOR MEDICAL CARE AND TREATMENT. PRIOR TO THE ACT OF APRIL 3, 1952, 66 STAT. 35, THESE FEES WERE REQUIRED TO BE COVERED INTO THE TREASURY OF THE UNITED STATES UNDER THE CAPTION "INDIAN MONEYS, PROCEEDS OF LABOR" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF 48 U.S.C. 50F AND 25 U.S.C. 155. AFTER ENACTMENT OF THE 1952 ACT THE FEES DERIVED FROM HOSPITAL AND HEALTH SERVICES FOR NON-INDIANS WERE DEPOSITED IN THE TREASURY TO THE CREDIT OF THE APPROPRIATION FROM WHICH THE HOSPITALIZATION OR MEDICAL SERVICES WERE PROVIDED AND WERE AVAILABLE FOR EXPENDITURE FOR THE PURPOSES FOR WHICH THE APPROPRIATION WAS MADE (25 U.S.C. 449). THE ACT OF AUGUST 5, 1954, 68 STAT. 674, REPEALED THE 1952 ACT AND TRANSFERRED THE MAINTENANCE AND OPERATION OF HOSPITAL AND HEALTH FACILITIES FOR INDIANS TO THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE. HOWEVER, THERE WAS NO PROVISION IN THE 1954 ACT FOR DISPOSITION OF FEES RECEIVED FOR THE CARE AND TREATMENT OF PAY PATIENTS IN THE HOSPITALS AND HEALTH FACILITIES MAINTAINED FOR THE INDIANS.

SECTION 503 OF THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE ACT, 58 STAT. 710 (42 U.S.C. 221), PROVIDES:

"SEC. 503. MONEY COLLECTED AS PROVIDED BY LAW FOR EXPENSES INCURRED IN THE CARE AND TREATMENT OF FOREIGN SEAMEN, AND MONEY RECEIVED FOR THE CARE AND TREATMENT OF PAY PATIENTS, INCLUDING ANY AMOUNTS RECEIVED FROM ANY EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT ON ACCOUNT OF CARE AND TREATMENT OF PAY PATIENTS, SHALL BE COVERED INTO THE APPROPRIATION FROM WHICH THE EXPENSES OF SUCH CARE AND TREATMENT WERE PAID.'

THE LANGUAGE OF THE ABOVE-QUOTED SECTION IS STATED IN VERY BROAD TERMS AND APPEARS TO APPLY TO MONEY COLLECTED BY THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE FROM PAY PATIENTS IN THE OPERATION OF ITS HOSPITALS, REGARDLESS OF THE AUTHORITY UNDER WHICH THE HOSPITALS ARE OPERATED. THE PROVISION CONCERNING THE DEPOSIT OF FEES DERIVED FROM PAY PATIENTS INTO THE APPROPRIATION FROM WHICH THE EXPENSES FOR THE CARE AND TREATMENT WERE PROVIDED IS THE SAME AS THAT IN THE 1952 ACT WHICH WAS REPEALED. REASONABLY MAY BE ASSUMED THAT THE CONGRESS WAS AWARE OF THE BROAD PROVISIONS OF THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE ACT CONCERNING THESE FEES AND FOR THIS REASON NO PROVISION WAS MADE IN THE 1954 ACT FOR THEIR DISPOSITION. UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 503 OF THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE ACT, THE FEES DERIVED FROM HOSPITAL AND HEALTH SERVICES FURNISHED NON-INDIANS WOULD CONTINUE TO BE DEPOSITED IN THE TREASURY TO THE CREDIT OF THE APPROPRIATION FROM WHICH THE SERVICES WERE FURNISHED. THIS WOULD FOLLOW THE PROCEDURE ESTABLISHED BY THE CONGRESS FOR THE DEPOSIT OF SUCH FEES IN THE TREASURY PRIOR TO TRANSFER OF THE MAINTENANCE AND OPERATION OF HOSPITAL AND HEALTH FACILITIES FOR INDIANS FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR TO THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE.

ACCORDINGLY, IT IS OUR CONCLUSION THAT MONEY RECEIVED FOR THE CARE AND TREATMENT OF PAY PATIENTS IN HOSPITALS AND HEALTH FACILITIES OPERATED FOR INDIANS (INCLUDING ALASKA NATIVES) UNDER THE ACT OF AUGUST 5, 1954, SHOULD BE DEPOSITED IN THE TREASURY TO THE CREDIT OF THE APPROPRIATION FROM WHICH THE SERVICES WERE PROVIDED IN ACCORDANCE WITH SECTION 503 OF THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE ACT.