B-157790, OCT. 25, 1965, 45 COMP. GEN. 196

B-157790: Oct 25, 1965

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WHICH IS FUNDED IN PART BY THE AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT. WHILE THE AUTHORITY OF THE ADMINISTRATOR TO PRESCRIBE REGULATIONS FOR LEAVE FOR DOCTORS IS BROAD. THE USE OF APPROPRIATIONS TO PAY THE SALARIES OF THE DOCTORS DURING SUCH LEAVES OF ABSENCE WHILE SERVING IN CIVILIAN HOSPITALS IN VIET NAM IS NOT AUTHORIZED. WE UNDERSTAND THAT PROJECT VIET-NAM IS BEING SUPERVISED BY THE PEOPLE-TO- PEOPLE HEALTH FOUNDATION AND IS BEING FUNDED. THE VOLUNTEER DOCTORS WOULD SERVE IN THE CIVILIAN PROVINCIAL HOSPITALS OF VIET NAM WHERE THERE ARE PRESENTLY LONG TERM UNITED STATES MEDICAL PERSONNEL WORKING. IS AS FOLLOWS: NOTWITHSTANDING ANY LAW. ALSO QUOTED IN YOUR LETTER IS THE FOLLOWING RESTRICTION APPEARING IN THE 1966 FISCAL YEAR APPROPRIATION FOR THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION (79 STAT. 538): NO PART OF THE FOREGOING APPROPRIATIONS SHALL BE AVAILABLE FOR HOSPITALIZATION OR EXAMINATION OF ANY PERSONS EXCEPT BENEFICIARIES ENTITLED UNDER THE LAWS BESTOWING SUCH BENEFITS TO VETERANS.

B-157790, OCT. 25, 1965, 45 COMP. GEN. 196

APPROPRIATIONS - VETERANS ADMINISTRATION - LIMITATIONS - HOSPITALIZATION, ETC., LIMITED TO VETERANS - DOCTORS' VOLUNTARY SERVICES IN VIET NAM THE GRANTING OF SPECIAL LEAVES OF ABSENCE WITH PAY TO VETERANS ADMINISTRATION DOCTORS SO THAT THEY CAN VOLUNTARILY SERVE FOR PERIODS OF 60 TO 90 DAYS IN CIVILIAN PROVINCIAL HOSPITALS IN SOUTH VIET NAM UNDER THE PEOPLE-TO-PEOPLE HEALTH FOUNDATION, WHICH IS FUNDED IN PART BY THE AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT, WOULD ENTAIL THE USE OF APPROPRIATIONS FOR HOSPITALIZATION AND EXAMINATION OF PERSONS NOT ENTITLED TO BENEFITS UNDER LAWS RELATING TO VETERANS CONTRARY TO THE PROHIBITION IN THE 1966 FISCAL YEAR APPROPRIATIONS FOR VETERANS ADMINISTRATION AND, THEREFORE, WHILE THE AUTHORITY OF THE ADMINISTRATOR TO PRESCRIBE REGULATIONS FOR LEAVE FOR DOCTORS IS BROAD, THE USE OF APPROPRIATIONS TO PAY THE SALARIES OF THE DOCTORS DURING SUCH LEAVES OF ABSENCE WHILE SERVING IN CIVILIAN HOSPITALS IN VIET NAM IS NOT AUTHORIZED.

TO THE ADMINISTRATOR, VETERANS ADMINISTRATION, OCTOBER 25, 1965:

ON OCTOBER 1, 1965, YOU REQUESTED OUR DECISION WHETHER VETERANS ADMINISTRATION PHYSICIANS MAY BE GRANTED LEAVES OF ABSENCE WITH PAY FOR PERIODS OF 60 TO 90 DAYS WHILE VOLUNTARILY SERVING IN SOUTH VIET NAM IN CONNECTION WITH PROJECT VIET-NAM.

WE UNDERSTAND THAT PROJECT VIET-NAM IS BEING SUPERVISED BY THE PEOPLE-TO- PEOPLE HEALTH FOUNDATION AND IS BEING FUNDED, IN PART AT LEAST, BY THE AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT IN ACCORDANCE WITH A CONTRACTUAL ARRANGEMENT BETWEEN THAT AGENCY AND THE FOUNDATION. THE VOLUNTEER DOCTORS WOULD SERVE IN THE CIVILIAN PROVINCIAL HOSPITALS OF VIET NAM WHERE THERE ARE PRESENTLY LONG TERM UNITED STATES MEDICAL PERSONNEL WORKING, AND WOULD RENDER MEDICAL CARE AND ASSISTANCE TO THE CIVILIAN POPULATION OF VIET NAM.

38 U.S.C. 4108, QUOTED IN YOUR LETTER, IS AS FOLLOWS:

NOTWITHSTANDING ANY LAW, EXECUTIVE ORDER, OR REGULATION, THE ADMINISTRATOR SHALL PRESCRIBE BY REGULATION THE HOURS AND CONDITIONS OF EMPLOYMENT AND LEAVES OF ABSENCE OF PHYSICIANS, DENTISTS, AND NURSES.

ALSO QUOTED IN YOUR LETTER IS THE FOLLOWING RESTRICTION APPEARING IN THE 1966 FISCAL YEAR APPROPRIATION FOR THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION (79 STAT. 538):

NO PART OF THE FOREGOING APPROPRIATIONS SHALL BE AVAILABLE FOR HOSPITALIZATION OR EXAMINATION OF ANY PERSONS EXCEPT BENEFICIARIES ENTITLED UNDER THE LAWS BESTOWING SUCH BENEFITS TO VETERANS, UNLESS REIMBURSEMENT OF COST IS MADE TO THE APPROPRIATION AT SUCH RATES AS MAY BE FIXED BY THE ADMINISTRATOR OF VETERANS AFFAIRS.

ADMITTEDLY, THE AUTHORITY OF THE ADMINISTRATOR TO PRESCRIBE REGULATIONS GOVERNING LEAVES OF ABSENCE TO VETERANS ADMINISTRATION PHYSICIANS, NOTWITHSTANDING ANY LAW, EXECUTIVE ORDER OR REGULATION, IS VERY BROAD. HOWEVER, A REGULATION GRANTING A SPECIAL LEAVE OF ABSENCE WITH PAY ONLY TO THOSE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION PHYSICIANS WHO VOLUNTEER FOR PROJECT VIET- NAM CLEARLY WOULD ENTAIL THE USE OF THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION APPROPRIATIONS FOR HOSPITALIZATION AND EXAMINATION OF PERSONS NOT ENTITLED TO SUCH BENEFITS UNDER THE LAWS RELATING TO VETERANS. ACCORDINGLY, WE ARE OF THE VIEW THAT THE USE OF VETERANS ADMINISTRATION APPROPRIATIONS TO PAY THE SALARIES OF THE PHYSICIANS TO WHOM YOUR SUBMISSION APPLIES WHILE SERVING IN CONNECTION WITH PROJECT VIET-NAM WOULD NOT BE AUTHORIZED.