B-144959, APRIL 17, 1961, 40 COMP. GEN. 583

B-144959: Apr 17, 1961

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SUCH OBLIGATION IS NOT DEPENDENT UPON THE EXISTENCE OR NONEXISTENCE OF A CONTRACT OF HEALTH INSURANCE THAT THE POLICE MAY HAVE TAKEN UNDER THE FEDERAL EMPLOYEES HEALTH BENEFITS ACT OF 1959. THE OBLIGATION IS DISCHARGED AND THE MEMBERS' INSURANCE CARRIER IS NOT LIABLE FOR REIMBURSING THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA TO THE EXTENT OF THE MEMBER'S HEALTH BENEFITS INSURANCE POLICY. SECRET SERVICE HAS A PERMANENT INDEFINITE APPROPRIATION (72 STAT. 883) WHICH IS AVAILABLE TO REIMBURSE THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA FOR BENEFIT PAYMENTS MADE FROM THE DISTRICT'S REVENUES FOR. YOU STATE THAT $707.95 OF THE AMOUNT OF THE INSTANT VOUCHER WAS PAID BY THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. WITH REFERENCE TO SUCH MEDICAL AND HOSPITAL SERVICES YOU POINT OUT THAT THEY WERE RENDERED TO MEMBERS OF THE WHITE HOUSE POLICE FORCE AT LEAST SOME OF WHOM ARE PARTICIPANTS IN THE FEDERAL EMPLOYEES HEALTH BENEFITS ACT OF 1959.

B-144959, APRIL 17, 1961, 40 COMP. GEN. 583

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA - PRIVATE MEDICAL AND HOSPITAL SERVICES - WHITE HOUSE POLICE - HEALTH INSURANCE BENEFITS - LIABILITY UNDER SECTION 12 (E) OF THE ACT OF SEPTEMBER 1, 1916, AS AMENDED BY SECTION 3 OF THE POLICEMEN AND FIREMEN'S RETIREMENT DISABILITY ACT AMENDMENTS OF 1957, THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA HAS AN OBLIGATION TO PAY FOR PRIVATE MEDICAL AND HOSPITAL SERVICES OF MEMBERS OF THE WHITE HOUSE POLICE FORCE FOR INJURIES OR DISEASES CONTRACTED IN THE PERFORMANCE OF DUTY, AND SUCH OBLIGATION IS NOT DEPENDENT UPON THE EXISTENCE OR NONEXISTENCE OF A CONTRACT OF HEALTH INSURANCE THAT THE POLICE MAY HAVE TAKEN UNDER THE FEDERAL EMPLOYEES HEALTH BENEFITS ACT OF 1959; THEREFORE, THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA HAVING PAID THE COST OF MEDICAL AND HOSPITAL SERVICES OF MEMBERS OF THE WHITE HOUSE POLICE, THE OBLIGATION IS DISCHARGED AND THE MEMBERS' INSURANCE CARRIER IS NOT LIABLE FOR REIMBURSING THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA TO THE EXTENT OF THE MEMBER'S HEALTH BENEFITS INSURANCE POLICY.

TO GEORGE W. TAYLOR, UNITED STATES SECRET SERVICE, APRIL 17, 1961:

YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 30, 1961, FILE NO. 300.0, REQUESTS OUR DECISION WHETHER YOU MAY CERTIFY FOR PAYMENT THE VOUCHER TRANSMITTED THEREWITH, IN FAVOR OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA GOVERNMENT FOR REIMBURSEMENT IN THE AMOUNT OF $962.82, COVERING THE EXPENSES OF MEDICAL SERVICES FURNISHED MEMBERS OF THE WHITE HOUSE POLICE FORCE DURING OCTOBER 1960.

YOU STATE THAT THE U.S. SECRET SERVICE HAS A PERMANENT INDEFINITE APPROPRIATION (72 STAT. 883) WHICH IS AVAILABLE TO REIMBURSE THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA FOR BENEFIT PAYMENTS MADE FROM THE DISTRICT'S REVENUES FOR, AMONG OTHER THINGS, MEDICAL AND HOSPITAL SERVICES FURNISHED TO MEMBERS OF THE WHITE HOUSE POLICE FORCE AND SUCH MEMBERS OF THE U.S. SECRET SERVICE ENTITLED THERETO UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE POLICEMEN AND FIREMEN'S RETIREMENT AND DISABILITY ACT AMENDMENTS OF 1957, 71 STAT. 391. ALSO, YOU STATE THAT $707.95 OF THE AMOUNT OF THE INSTANT VOUCHER WAS PAID BY THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 12 (E) OF THE LATTER ACT, 71 STAT. 394, FOR THE MEDICAL AND HOSPITAL SERVICES OF WHITE HOUSE POLICE AUTHORIZED BY THE COMMISSIONERS TO BE OBTAINED FROM OTHER THAN DISTRICT FACILITIES.

WITH REFERENCE TO SUCH MEDICAL AND HOSPITAL SERVICES YOU POINT OUT THAT THEY WERE RENDERED TO MEMBERS OF THE WHITE HOUSE POLICE FORCE AT LEAST SOME OF WHOM ARE PARTICIPANTS IN THE FEDERAL EMPLOYEES HEALTH BENEFITS ACT OF 1959, 73 STAT. 708. HENCE, THE QUESTION PRESENTED IN YOUR LETTER IS WHETHER THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA GOVERNMENT OR THE INSURANCE CARRIER ORGANIZATION IS LIABLE FOR THE COST OF MEDICAL AND HOSPITAL SERVICES TO THE EXTENT PROVIDED IN THE CARRIER'S CONTRACT WITH THE WHITE HOUSE POLICE PARTICIPATING IN THE HEALTH BENEFITS PROGRAM.

SECTION 12 (E) OF THE ACT OF SEPTEMBER 1, 1916, 39 STAT. 718, AS AMENDED BY SECTION 3 OF THE POLICEMEN AND FIREMEN'S RETIREMENT AND DISABILITY ACT AMENDMENTS OF 1957, CITED ABOVE, PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

WHENEVER ANY MEMBER SHALL BECOME TEMPORARILY DISABLED BY INJURY RECEIVED OR DISEASE CONTRACTED IN THE PERFORMANCE OF DUTY, TO SUCH AN EXTENT AS TO REQUIRE MEDICAL OR SURGICAL SERVICES, OTHER THAN SUCH AS CAN BE RENDERED BY THE COMMISSIONERS, OR TO REQUIRE HOSPITAL TREATMENT, THE EXPENSE OF SUCH MEDICAL OR SURGICAL SERVICES, OR HOSPITAL TREATMENT, SHALL BE PAID BY THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA; BUT NO SUCH EXPENSE SHALL BE PAID EXCEPT UPON A CERTIFICATE OF THE COMMISSIONERS SETTING FORTH THE NECESSITY FOR SUCH SERVICES OR TREATMENT AND THE NATURE OF THE INJURY OR DISEASE WHICH RENDERED THE SAME NECESSARY.

UNDER THE TERMS OF THIS STATUTE IT IS CLEAR THAT MEMBERS OF THE WHITE HOUSE POLICE FORCE HAVE NO OBLIGATION TO PAY FOR PRIVATE MEDICAL AND HOSPITAL SERVICES INCIDENT TO INJURY OR DISEASE CONTRACTED BY THEM IN THE PERFORMANCE OF DUTY, AND THAT SUCH OBLIGATION IS PRIMARILY THAT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. THE FEDERAL EMPLOYEES HEALTH BENEFITS ACT OF 1959 ESTABLISHED A HEALTH BENEFITS INSURANCE PROGRAM FOR FEDERAL EMPLOYEES UNDER WHICH EMPLOYEES ARE ENABLED TO PURCHASE PROTECTION FOR MEDICAL AND HOSPITAL SERVICES, THE COST OF WHICH IS PRIMARILY THE OBLIGATION OF THE EMPLOYEES.

THERE APPEARS NOTHING IN SECTION 12 (E) MAKING THE DISTRICT'S RESPONSIBILITY TO THE WHITE HOUSE POLICE FOR MEDICAL AND HOSPITAL SERVICES DEPENDENT UPON THE EXISTENCE OR NONEXISTENCE OF A CONTRACT OF HEALTH INSURANCE BETWEEN SUCH MEMBERS AND INSURANCE CARRIERS. IN STANDARD OIL CO. V. UNITED STATES, 153 F.2D 958, 963, AFFIRMED 332 U.S. 301, IT WAS HELD THAT THE GOVERNMENT HAVING PAID THE WAGES AND MEDICAL EXPENSES OF AN INJURED PERSON, IT IS NOT ENTITLED TO SUBROGATION OR INDEMNIFICATION IN THE ABSENCE OF CONTRACTUAL OR STATUTORY AUTHORITY. SEE ALSO, AMERICAN AUTOMOBILE INS. CO. V. PENN MUTUAL IND. CO., 161 F.2D 62; MICHIGAN HOSPITAL SERVICE V. SHARPE, 63 N.W. 2D 638; FIELD MANOR V. FINSTON, 354 P.2D 1073.

THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA HAVING PAID THE COST OF MEDICAL AND HOSPITAL SERVICES OF MEMBERS OF THE WHITE HOUSE POLICE FORCE, SUCH PAYMENT WAS IN DISCHARGE OF ITS OWN OBLIGATION. ACCORDINGLY, THE VOUCHER, WHICH IS RETURNED HEREWITH, MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT IF OTHERWISE CORRECT.