Questions Concerning the Carryover of Funds Not Obligated Under an Indian Health Service Contract

B-164031(5).22: Mar 14, 1979

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The Norton Sound Health Corporation (NSHC) requested the views of GAO concerning the carryover of funds not obligated under an Indian Health Service (IHS) contract. In 1974 NSHC, a private corporation, contracted to provide physicians' services for the Alaska Area Native Health Service. Contracts with the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (DHEW) are funded on a fiscal year basis, and NSHC requested that the (IHS) contracting officer be allowed carryover of the appropriations for ongoing health services. The position of DHEW is that unexpended funds obligated by "continuing-type" contracts made in one fiscal year may be used the following year. GAO, however, disagreed with this view. The controlling statute concerning the carryover of unexpended appropriations restricts the use of funds to a current fiscal year unless specifically provided otherwise in the appropriation act involved. Appropriations made to the IHS for fiscal year 1978 contain no such specific provision. Since no carryover is allowed from one fiscal year to another, a contract made for health services entered into on March 1 would have to terminate by the end of the fiscal year on September 30, and a new contract, funded from the next fiscal year's funds, would have to be entered into for the succeeding 6-month period.