B-134825, FEB. 21, 1958

B-134825: Feb 21, 1958

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THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE NAVY (FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT) REQUESTED OUR DECISION WHETHER APPROPRIATED FUNDS ARE AVAILABLE TO PAY THE BILL OF A PRIVATE SURGEON REQUIRED TO TREAT A DEPENDENT OF AN OVERSEAS EMPLOYEE OF THE NAVY FURNISHED DISPENSARY SERVICE UNDER SECTION 4 OF THE ACT OF MAY 10. WAS ADMITTED TO THE DISPENSARY OF THE UNITED STATES NAVAL STATION IN TRINIDAD UNDER THE REFERRED-TO STATUTE. LOCAL HOSPITAL FACILITIES WERE CONSIDERED TO BE SUBSTANDARD AND NOT APPROPRIATE FOR USE BY UNITED STATES PERSONNEL. IT WAS NECESSARY TO OBTAIN THE SERVICES OF A CIVILIAN SURGEON. THAT SUCH HOSPITALIZATION AND DISPENSARY SERVICE TO OTHER THAN DEPENDENTS OF NAVAL AND MARINE CORPS PERSONNEL SHALL BE PERMITTED ONLY WHERE FACILITIES ARE NOT OTHERWISE AVAILABLE IN REASONABLY ACCESSIBLE AND APPROPRIATE NON FEDERAL HOSPITALS.

B-134825, FEB. 21, 1958

TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY:

ON JANUARY 6, 1958, THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE NAVY (FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT) REQUESTED OUR DECISION WHETHER APPROPRIATED FUNDS ARE AVAILABLE TO PAY THE BILL OF A PRIVATE SURGEON REQUIRED TO TREAT A DEPENDENT OF AN OVERSEAS EMPLOYEE OF THE NAVY FURNISHED DISPENSARY SERVICE UNDER SECTION 4 OF THE ACT OF MAY 10, 1943, 57 STAT. 81.

IT APPEARS THAT THE DEPENDENT DAUGHTER OF MR. M. T. GROVES, A CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY, WAS ADMITTED TO THE DISPENSARY OF THE UNITED STATES NAVAL STATION IN TRINIDAD UNDER THE REFERRED-TO STATUTE. LOCAL HOSPITAL FACILITIES WERE CONSIDERED TO BE SUBSTANDARD AND NOT APPROPRIATE FOR USE BY UNITED STATES PERSONNEL. SINCE THE HOSPITALIZED DEPENDENT REQUIRED SURGERY AND THE ACTIVITY HAD NO SURGEON, IT WAS NECESSARY TO OBTAIN THE SERVICES OF A CIVILIAN SURGEON. THE BILL FOR HIS SERVICES AND THOSE OF AN ANESTHETIST AMOUNTED TO APPROXIMATELY $105, UNITED STATES CURRENCY.

SECTION 4 OF THE ACT OF MAY 10, 1943, PROVIDES, IN PART, AS FOLLOWS:

"* * * HOSPITALIZATION AND DISPENSARY SERVICE MAY BE PROVIDED AT NAVAL HOSPITALS AND DISPENSARIES OUTSIDE OF THE CONTINENTAL LIMITS OF THE UNITED STATES AND IN ALASKA, TO THE OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF ANY DEPARTMENT OR AGENCY OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT * * * (AND) TO THE DEPENDENTS OF SUCH PERSONS * * *: PROVIDED, THAT SUCH HOSPITALIZATION AND DISPENSARY SERVICE TO OTHER THAN DEPENDENTS OF NAVAL AND MARINE CORPS PERSONNEL SHALL BE PERMITTED ONLY WHERE FACILITIES ARE NOT OTHERWISE AVAILABLE IN REASONABLY ACCESSIBLE AND APPROPRIATE NON FEDERAL HOSPITALS. THE CHARGE FOR HOSPITALIZATION OR DISPENSARY SERVICE * * * AS SPECIFIED IN THIS SECTION SHALL BE AT SUCH RATES AS THE PRESIDENT SHALL FROM TIME TO TIME PRESCRIBE

THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OF THE ACT OF MAY 10, 1943, INDICATES THAT WHILE UNDER CERTAIN CONDITIONS HOSPITAL AND DISPENSARY SERVICE WERE INTENDED TO BE FURNISHED OVERSEAS CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES OF THE NAVY, AND THEIR DEPENDENTS, SUCH SERVICE WAS TO BE FURNISHED ONLY FROM EXISTING FACILITIES. SEE IN THAT CONNECTION THE REPORT OF THE HEARINGS BEFORE THE SENATE COMMITTEE ON NAVAL AFFAIRS, HELD MARCH 10, 1943, ON S. 785, A COMPANION BILL TO H.R. 1936, WHICH BECAME THE ACT OF MAY 10, 1943. THE FOLLOWING DISCUSSION IS REPORTED ON PAGE 7:

"ADMIRAL MCINTIRE. I THINK MOST OF THE MEMBERS OF THE COMMITTEE ARE FAMILIAR WITH THE DEPENDENT SITUATION AND THIS BILL THAT WE HAVE BEFORE US IS SIMPLY ONE TO AUTHORIZE HOSPITALIZATION FOR ALL DEPENDENTS NO MATTER WHERE THEY MAY BE, IF FACILITIES ARE AVAILABLE, AND THEN THE AUTHORIZATION THAT WE SHOULD HAVE TO TAKE CARE OF ALL OF THE PEOPLE WHO ARE AROUND THESE STATIONS, SUCH AS KODIAK, DUTCH HARBOR, TRINIDAD, AND OTHER OUTLYING PLACES.'

"SENATOR TYDINGS. WHERE THE SPACE IS AVAILABLE, AND THEY USE THE EXISTING FACILITIES AT ANY BASE?

"ADMIRAL MCINTIRE. THAT IS RIGHT.'

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING STATEMENTS, WE CONCLUDE THAT THE ACT OF MAY 10, 1943, CONTEMPLATES THE USE OF EXISTING PLANT AND STAFF AND DOES NOT AUTHORIZE THE HIRING OF A CIVILIAN SURGEON UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES HERE PRESENT. THEREFORE, APPROPRIATED FUNDS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY ARE NOT AVAILABLE TO PAY FOR SUCH A SURGEON'S SERVICES. COMPARE OUR DECISION OF MAY 20, 1946, B-57291, TO A FORMER SECRETARY OF THE NAVY. IN REGARD TO THE QUESTION GENERALLY, WE DIRECT YOUR ATTENTION TO H.R. 6141, 85TH CONGRESS, WHICH HAS NOT BEEN ENACTED INTO LAW.