B-130395, MAR. 11, 1957

B-130395: Mar 11, 1957

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WORLEY WAS COMMITTED TO SAINT ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL AS A DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA PRISONER ON MAY 27. WORLEY REPORTEDLY WAS CHARGED WITH CARRYING A DEADLY WEAPON IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND PRIOR TO TRIAL ON THAT CHARGE HE WAS ADJUDGED OF UNSOUND MIND BY A JURY IN THE MUNICIPAL COURT OF THE DISTRICT. IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT MR. WORLEY IS STILL BEING RETAINED AS A PATIENT IN THE HOSPITAL AND THAT NO PROVISION HAS BEEN MADE FOR THE COST OF HIS CARE AND MAINTENANCE. HAVE RECENTLY BEEN INFORMALLY ADVISED BY SAINT ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL THAT MR. WORLEY IS INDEBTED IN THE AMOUNT OF $3. WORLEY IS SUBSEQUENTLY TRIED AND ACQUITTED ON THE GROUNDS OF INSANITY. THERE WILL BE NO LIABILITY ON HIS PART FOR CARE GIVEN ON OR AFTER AUGUST 9.

B-130395, MAR. 11, 1957

TO LICHTENBERG AND LURIA:

YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 18, 1956, WRITTEN IN BEHALF OF MRS. SARAH WORLEY, GUARDIAN OF THE ESTATE OF ARNOLD WORLEY, INCOMPETENT, CONCERNS THE CLAIM OF THE UNITED STATES IN THE AMOUNT OF $2,107, FOR THE COST OF CARE OF ARNOLD WORLEY IN SAINT ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL DURING THE PERIOD MAY 27, 1952, THROUGH JULY 31, 1953.

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT MR. WORLEY WAS COMMITTED TO SAINT ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL AS A DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA PRISONER ON MAY 27, 1952, UNDER THE PROVISION OF SECTION 301, TITLE 24, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA CODE. MR. WORLEY REPORTEDLY WAS CHARGED WITH CARRYING A DEADLY WEAPON IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND PRIOR TO TRIAL ON THAT CHARGE HE WAS ADJUDGED OF UNSOUND MIND BY A JURY IN THE MUNICIPAL COURT OF THE DISTRICT. IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT MR. WORLEY IS STILL BEING RETAINED AS A PATIENT IN THE HOSPITAL AND THAT NO PROVISION HAS BEEN MADE FOR THE COST OF HIS CARE AND MAINTENANCE. HAVE RECENTLY BEEN INFORMALLY ADVISED BY SAINT ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL THAT MR. WORLEY IS INDEBTED IN THE AMOUNT OF $3,678.15 FOR COST OF CARE FURNISHED HIM BY THE HOSPITAL FOR THE PERIOD AUGUST 1, 1953, THROUGH AUGUST 8, 1955. ALSO, THE SUPERINTENDENT OF THE HOSPITAL HAS ADVISED THAT UNLESS MR. WORLEY IS SUBSEQUENTLY TRIED AND ACQUITTED ON THE GROUNDS OF INSANITY, THERE WILL BE NO LIABILITY ON HIS PART FOR CARE GIVEN ON OR AFTER AUGUST 9, 1955, DATE OF ENACTMENT OF PUBLIC LAW 313, 69 STAT. 609. THUS, MR. WORLEY AND HIS ESTATE ARE INDEBTED TO THE UNITED STATES IN THE TOTAL AMOUNT OF $5,785.15 FOR HOSPITAL CARE FURNISHED HIM BY SAINT ELIZABETHS FOR THE PERIOD MAY 27, 1952, THROUGH AUGUST 8, 1955.

THE RECORD BEFORE US DISCLOSES THAT MR. WORLEY'S WIFE, WAS APPOINTED HIS LEGAL GUARDIAN BY THE ORDINARY'S COURT FOR ELBERT COUNTY, GEORGIA, ON JULY 7, 1952. THE RECORD FURTHER DISCLOSES THAT MR. WORLEY IS IN RECEIPT OF A DISABILITY PENSION FROM THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION IN THE AMOUNT OF $135.45 PER MONTH, WHICH IS CURRENTLY BEING PAID TO HIS WIFE, AS HIS GUARDIAN. IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT HIS GUARDIAN'S RETURN FOR THE PERIOD ENDING JULY 1, 1955, DISCLOSES THAT THE ASSETS OF MR. WORLEY'S ESTATE (AT THAT TIME) CONSISTED OF $3,616.83 IN CASH, PLUS A FARM, THE VALUE OF WHICH WAS NOT LISTED ON THE RETURN.

IN YOUR LETTER YOU REQUEST, IN EFFECT, THAT MR. WORLEY'S HOSPITAL CARE BE FURNISHED AT A REDUCED RATE UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF SECTION 318, TITLE 21, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA CODE, OR IN THE ALTERNATIVE THAT WE CONSIDER A COMPROMISE OFFER OF PAYMENT FOR THE BALANCE ACCRUED TO DATE. YOUR REQUEST APPEARS TO BE BASED ON THE GROUND THAT THE ASSETS OF MR. WORLEY'S ESTATE ARE "STRICTLY LIMITED.'

SECTION 301, TITLE 24, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA CODE (UNDER WHICH MR. WORLEY WAS COMMITTED TO SAINT ELIZABETHS), PERTAINS TO THE COMMITMENT OF INSANE PERSONS ACCUSED OF CRIMES, AND PROVIDED, IN PERTINENT PART, IMMEDIATELY PRIOR TO ITS AMENDMENT BY THE ACT OF AUGUST 9, 1955, 69 STAT. 609, AS FOLLOWS:

"* * * IF THE JURY SHALL FIND THE ACCUSED TO BE THEN INSANE, OR IF AN ACCUSED PERSON SHALL BE ACQUITTED BY THE JURY SOLELY ON THE GROUND OF INSANITY, THE COURT MAY CERTIFY THE FACT TO THE FEDERAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATOR, (NOW THE SECRETARY OF HEALTH, EDUCATION AND WELFARE) WHO MAY ORDER SUCH PERSON TO BE CONFINED IN THE HOSPITAL FOR THE INSANE, AND SAID PERSON AND HIS ESTATE SHALL BE CHARGED WITH THE EXPENSE OF HIS SUPPORT IN THE SAID HOSPITAL. * * *"

UNDER THE CITED SECTION, MR. WORLEY, AND HIS ESTATE ARE LIABLE TO THE UNITED STATES FOR THE COST OF HIS SUPPORT WHILE IN SAINT ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL PRIOR TO AUGUST 9, 1955. THERE IS NOTHING THEREIN WHICH AUTHORIZES FIXING SUCH COST ACCORDING TO THE ABILITY OF THE PATIENT OR HIS FAMILY TO PAY.

SECTION 318, TITLE 21, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA CODE, REFERRED TO IN YOUR LETTER AS A BASIS FOR REDUCING THE RATES AND CHARGING ACCORDING TO THE ABILITY OF THE PATIENT OR HIS FAMILY TO PAY PROVIDES, IN PERTINENT PART, AS FOLLOWS:

"THE FATHER, MOTHER, HUSBAND, WIFE, AND ADULT CHILDREN OF AN INSANE PERSON, IF OF SUFFICIENT ABILITY, AND THE COMMITTEE OR GUARDIAN OF HIS OR HER PERSON AND ESTATE, IF HIS OR HER ESTATE IS SUFFICIENT FOR THE PURPOSE, SHALL PAY THE COST TO THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA OF HIS OR HER MAINTENANCE, INCLUDING TREATMENT IN SAINT ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL OR IN ANY OTHER HOSPITAL TO WHICH THE INSANE PERSON MAY BE COMMITTED. IT SHALL BE THE FURTHER DUTY OF SAID COMMISSION, TO EXAMINE UNDER OATH, THE FATHER, MOTHER, HUSBAND, WIFE, ADULT CHILDREN, AND COMMITTEE, IF ANY, OF ANY ALLEGED INSANE PERSON WHENEVER SUCH RELATIVES LIVE WITHIN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, AND TO ASCERTAIN THE ABILITY OF SUCH RELATIVES OR COMMITTEE, IF ANY, TO MAINTAIN OR CONTRIBUTE TOWARD THE MAINTENANCE OF SUCH ALLEGED INSANE PERSON: PROVIDED, THAT IN NO CASE SHALL SAID RELATIVES OR COMMITTEE BE REQUIRED TO PAY MORE THAN THE ACTUAL COST TO THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA OF MAINTENANCE OF SUCH ALLEGED INSANE PERSON.

"* * * IF, UPON SUCH HEARING, IT SHALL APPEAR TO THE COURT THAT THE INSANE PERSON HAS NOT SUFFICIENT ESTATE OUT OF WHICH HIS MAINTENANCE MAY PROPERLY BE FULLY MET AND THAT HE HAS RELATIVES OF THE DEGREES HEREINABOVE MENTIONED WHO ARE PARTIES TO THE PROCEEDINGS, AND WHO ARE ABLE TO CONTRIBUTE THERETO, THE COURT MAY MAKE AN ORDER REQUIRING PAYMENT BY SUCH RELATIVES OF SUCH SUM OR SUMS AS IT MAY FIND THEY ARE REASONABLY ABLE TO PAY AND AS MAY BE NECESSARY TO PROVIDE FOR THE MAINTENANCE OF SUCH INSANE PERSON. SAID ORDER SHALL REQUIRE THE PAYMENT OF SUCH SUMS TO THE BOARD OF PUBLIC WELFARE ANNUALLY, SEMIANNUALLY, OR QUARTERLY AS THE COURT MAY DIRECT. * * *"

THIS SECTION DOES NOT PROVIDE--- AS APPARENTLY CONTENDED IN YOUR LETTER-- - THAT THE RATES CHARGED BY SAINT ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL SHALL BE FIXED ACCORDING TO THE ABILITY OF THE PATIENT OR HIS FAMILY TO PAY. THE SAID SECTION HAS NO APPLICATION TO RATE-FIXING BY SAINT ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL BUT PERTAINS TO THE LIABILITY OF AN INSANE PERSON AND HIS FAMILY FOR REIMBURSING THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA FOR COSTS INCURRED BY THE DISTRICT FOR THE CARE AND MAINTENANCE OF THE INSANE PERSON IN ANY HOSPITAL TO WHICH SUCH PERSON MAY HAVE BEEN COMMITTED PURSUANT TO 21 D.C. CODE 301 TO 333. AS INDICATED ABOVE, MR. WORLEY WAS COMMITTED PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF 24 D.C. CODE 301. IN THE INSTANT CASE THE DEBT IS OWED TO SAINT ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL, I.E. THE UNITED STATES, AND NOT TO THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. HENCE, THERE IS NO AUTHORITY UNDER 21 D.C. CODE 318 TO REDUCE THE RATES CHARGED MR. WORLEY BY SAINT ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL FOR THE CARE FURNISHED HIM BY THE HOSPITAL.

WE WOULD LIKE TO POINT OUT THAT 21 D.C. CODE 318 IS PART OF A GENERAL STATUTE RELATING TO INSANE PERSONS OTHER THAN THOSE CHARGED WITH CRIMINAL OFFENSES. THE PROCEDURES WHICH GOVERN IN THE CASE OF INSANE PERSONS CHARGED WITH CRIMINAL OFFENSES ARE SET FORTH IN 24 D.C. CODE 301 TO 303 AND THE PROVISIONS OF 21 D.C. CODE 318 HAVE NO APPLICATION IN SUCH CASES.

CONCERNING A COMPROMISE OFFER, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT WE HAVE NO AUTHORITY TO SETTLE CLAIMS IN FAVOR OF THE UNITED STATES FOR ANY SUM LESS THAN THE FULL AMOUNT DUE. WE MAY, HOWEVER, SUBMIT A COMPROMISE OFFER TO THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, RECOMMENDING ACCEPTANCE OR REJECTION, DEPENDING IN PART UPON THE DEBTOR'S ABILITY TO LIQUIDATE THE INDEBTEDNESS IN FULL, OR WE MAY PERMIT LIQUIDATION OF THE INDEBTEDNESS BY REASONABLE INSTALLMENT PAYMENTS. IF A COMPROMISE OFFER IS TRANSMITTED HERE FOR SUBMISSION TO THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, IT SHOULD BE ACCOMPANIED BY A FULL AND COMPLETE FINANCIAL STATEMENT CONCERNING THE ASSETS OF MR. WORLEY AND HIS ESTATE, INCLUDING THE MARKET VALUE OF ANY REAL PROPERTY IN WHICH HE HAS AN INTEREST AND A STATEMENT AS TO HIS INTEREST THEREIN TOGETHER WITH A COPY OF HIS GUARDIAN'S LATEST ACCOUNTING.

STEPS SHOULD BE TAKEN BY MRS. WORELY WITHIN THE NEXT 30 DAYS LOOKING TOWARD THE PAYMENT OF THIS INDEBTEDNESS, OTHERWISE THE MATTER WILL BE TRANSMITTED TO THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE FOR APPROPRIATE ACTION TO ENFORCE COLLECTION.