B-135329, MAR. 21, 1958

B-135329: Mar 21, 1958

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UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 21. BOTH BILLS HAVE BEEN ADMINISTRATIVELY APPROVED FOR THE AMOUNTS STATED. YOU STATE THAT THESE BILLS WERE PREPARED ON A BILLING MACHINE AND THAT IT IS CUSTOMARY TO RETAIN IN THE HOSPITAL THE TRUE ORIGINAL OF EACH BILL. THE COLLECTION MANAGER OF THE HOSPITAL STATED THAT THIS IS THE HOSPITAL'S USUAL ROUTINE FOR ALL GOVERNMENTAL AGENCIES. YOU STATE THAT YOU HAVE CONSISTENTLY REFUSED TO ACCEPT BILLS UNLESS THEY ARE TRUE ORIGINALS. " ARE ACCEPTABLE TO THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE. THAT THE DECISION IN THIS CASE WILL BE USED AS A PRECEDENT. THE BILLS ARE RETURNED. YOU ARE ADVISED THAT PAYMENT THEREON IS AUTHORIZED.

B-135329, MAR. 21, 1958

TO MR. M. C. THOMPSON, ACTING CERTIFYING OFFICER, BUREAU OF EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 21, 1958, FILEX 1082472, TRANSMITTING TWO ITEMIZED BILLS FROM THE UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL, UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN, ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN, IN THE AMOUNTS OF $722.45 AND $148.75, COVERING SERVICES RENDERED BY THE HOSPITAL TO CLIFFORD E. WHIPPLE, BOX 303, LACARNE, OHIO, FROM JULY 17 TO AUGUST 10, 1957, AND FROM AUGUST 31 TO SEPTEMBER 7, 1957, RESPECTIVELY. BOTH BILLS HAVE BEEN ADMINISTRATIVELY APPROVED FOR THE AMOUNTS STATED. YOU REQUEST A DECISION AS TO WHETHER THESE BILLS IN THEIR PRESENT FORM MAY BE ACCEPTED FOR PAYMENT.

YOU STATE THAT THESE BILLS WERE PREPARED ON A BILLING MACHINE AND THAT IT IS CUSTOMARY TO RETAIN IN THE HOSPITAL THE TRUE ORIGINAL OF EACH BILL. EACH INSTANCE, ONE CARBON COPY HAS BEEN STAMPED "ORIGINAL INVOICE" AND BEARS THE CERTIFICATION OF THE COLLECTION MANAGER OF THE HOSPITAL. LETTER DATED DECEMBER 26, 1957, TO THE FISCAL OFFICER, BUREAU OF EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION, THE COLLECTION MANAGER OF THE HOSPITAL STATED THAT THIS IS THE HOSPITAL'S USUAL ROUTINE FOR ALL GOVERNMENTAL AGENCIES, AND THAT IT HAS BEEN QUITE ACCEPTABLE TO THE MANY AND VARIOUS AGENCIES OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT WITH WHICH IT DEALS.

YOU STATE THAT YOU HAVE CONSISTENTLY REFUSED TO ACCEPT BILLS UNLESS THEY ARE TRUE ORIGINALS, BUT DO NOT DESIRE TO BE ARBITRARY IF CARBONS, WHEN PLAINLY STAMPED AS "ORIGINAL INVOICE," ARE ACCEPTABLE TO THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE. YOU ALSO STATE THAT THIS QUESTION COMES UP FREQUENTLY SINCE YOU NO LONGER REQUIRE THE SUBMISSION OF MEDICAL BILLS ON FORM S-69, AND THAT THE DECISION IN THIS CASE WILL BE USED AS A PRECEDENT.

ORDINARILY, OUR OFFICE REQUIRES THAT THE ORIGINAL INVOICE BE SUBMITTED AS A BASIS FOR PAYMENT. HOWEVER, WHERE THE PAYEE'S STANDARD BILLING PRACTICE REQUIRES RETENTION OF THE ORIGINAL INVOICE, WE DO NOT OBJECT TO A COPY BEING USED TO BILL GOVERNMENT AGENCIES, PROVIDED ONE COPY--- AND ONE COPY ONLY--- BEARS A NOTATION SUCH AS "ORIGINAL" OR "CUSTOMER'S INVOICE" . ALSO, IF THE GOVERNMENT AGENCY REQUIRES AN ADDITIONAL COPY FOR ITS OWN RECORDS, THAT COPY SHOULD BE CLEARLY MARKED "COPY" . SEE 31 COMP. GEN. 649.

THE BILLS IN QUESTION APPEAR TO COMPLY WITH THE REQUIREMENTS STATED ABOVE.

ACCORDINGLY, THE BILLS ARE RETURNED, AND YOU ARE ADVISED THAT PAYMENT THEREON IS AUTHORIZED, IF OTHERWISE PROPER.