B-165971, JAN 13, 1972

B-165971: Jan 13, 1972

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WITHDREW AUTHORIZATION TO HAVE THE REQUIRED EXAMINATION PERFORMED BY A PRIVATE PHYSICIAN. PHILLIPS SEEMS TO HAVE ACTED IN GOOD FAITH. A PHYSICAL EXAMINATION MAY BE PERFORMED AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE WHEN IT IS PRIMARILY FOR THE GOVERNMENT'S BENEFIT. LIMPOUCH: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER (REFERENCE P4015-FCF). THE FACTS CONCERNING THIS MATTER ARE AS FOLLOWS: ON APRIL 1. A MEMORANDUM WAS ISSUED WHICH STATED THAT THE OFFICE OF THE SOLICITOR HAD INFORMALLY RULED THAT PRIVATE PHYSICIANS COULD NOT BE LEGALLY PAID FOR CONDUCTING PHYSICAL EXAMINATIONS AS ANTICIPATED UNDER THE EXECUTIVE HEALTH PLAN. ARRANGEMENTS FOR THE PHYSICAL EXAMINATION BY A PRIVATE PHYSICIAN WERE MADE AND CLEARED THROUGH THE OFFICE OF PERSONNEL.

B-165971, JAN 13, 1972

PHYSICAL EVALUATION - PROPRIETY OF PAYMENT CONCERNING THE PROPRIETY OF PAYMENT TO W. JACKSON HELM, M.D., FOR THE PHYSICAL EVALUATION OF MR. FRANK PHILLIPS. ALTHOUGH THE MEMORANDUM OF JULY 6, 1970, WITHDREW AUTHORIZATION TO HAVE THE REQUIRED EXAMINATION PERFORMED BY A PRIVATE PHYSICIAN, MR. PHILLIPS SEEMS TO HAVE ACTED IN GOOD FAITH. GENERALLY, A PHYSICAL EXAMINATION MAY BE PERFORMED AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE WHEN IT IS PRIMARILY FOR THE GOVERNMENT'S BENEFIT. IN VIEW OF THESE FACTS, THE VOUCHER MAY PROPERLY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.

TO MR. FRANK A. LIMPOUCH:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER (REFERENCE P4015-FCF), DATED NOVEMBER 11, 1971, REQUESTING OUR DECISION AS TO THE PROPRIETY OF THE PAYMENT OF A VOUCHER IN FAVOR OF W. JACKSON HELM, M.D., WINCHESTER, VIRGINIA, IN THE AMOUNT OF $86.50 CHARGED FOR THE COMPLETE PHYSICAL EVALUATION OF MR. FRANK PHILLIPS, CHIEF, BRANCH OF EXHIBIT PRODUCTION, HARPERS FERRY CENTER, WEST VIRGINIA.

THE FACTS CONCERNING THIS MATTER ARE AS FOLLOWS:

ON APRIL 1, 1970, THE DIRECTOR OF THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE ISSUED A MEMORANDUM CONCERNING THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE EXECUTIVE HEALTH PROGRAM. THE MEMORANDUM STATED THAT ALL EMPLOYEES IN GRADES GS-14 AND ABOVE WOULD BE REQUIRED TO UNDERGO PHYSICAL EXAMINATIONS AND DIRECTED THEM TO "PERSONALLY MAKE ARRANGEMENTS FOR TAKING THE EXAMINATION OR REQUEST THEIR PERSONNEL OFFICES TO MAKE NECESSARY APPOINTMENTS FOR THEM WITH DESIGNATED MEDICAL OFFICERS."

ON JULY 6, 1970, A MEMORANDUM WAS ISSUED WHICH STATED THAT THE OFFICE OF THE SOLICITOR HAD INFORMALLY RULED THAT PRIVATE PHYSICIANS COULD NOT BE LEGALLY PAID FOR CONDUCTING PHYSICAL EXAMINATIONS AS ANTICIPATED UNDER THE EXECUTIVE HEALTH PLAN.

MR. PHILLIPS REPORTS THAT THE INITIAL INFORMATION ON THE EXECUTIVE HEALTH PLAN CONTAINED IN THE APRIL 1, 1970, MEMORANDUM DID NOT REACH HIS OFFICE UNTIL FEBRUARY 1971. IN COMPLIANCE WITH THOSE INSTRUCTIONS, ARRANGEMENTS FOR THE PHYSICAL EXAMINATION BY A PRIVATE PHYSICIAN WERE MADE AND CLEARED THROUGH THE OFFICE OF PERSONNEL, HARPERS FERRY CENTER. THE EXAMINATION TOOK PLACE ON MARCH 10, 1971. THE RECORD INDICATES THAT THE INFORMATION IN THE JULY 6, 1970, MEMORANDUM FAILED TO REACH THE PERSONNEL STAFF OF THE HARPERS FERRY CENTER AND MR. PHILLIPS PRIOR TO HIS TAKING OF THE PHYSICAL EXAMINATION.

THE BASIC RULE WHICH HAS BEEN ESTABLISHED IN DECISIONS OF OUR OFFICE IS THAT THE PHYSICAL EXAMINATION OF AN EMPLOYEE MAY BE PERFORMED AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE WHEN THE EXAMINATION IS PRIMARILY FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE GOVERNMENT RATHER THAN THE EMPLOYEE. 41 COMP. GEN. 531 (1962), AND CASES CITED THEREIN.

REGARDING PAYMENT TO A PRIVATE PHYSICIAN FOR CONDUCTING AN EXAMINATION OTHERWISE APPROVED AS PRIMARILY FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE GOVERNMENT, IN THE ABSENCE OF THE AVAILABILITY OF A GOVERNMENT PHYSICIAN TO CONDUCT THE EXAMINATION (OR IF AN EMPLOYEE REFUSES TO BE EXAMINED BY A GOVERNMENT PHYSICIAN) THE AGENCY MAY AUTHORIZE HIM TO RECEIVE THE EXAMINATION FROM A MUTUALLY ACCEPTABLE PRIVATE PHYSICIAN AND PAY THE CHARGE OF SUCH PRIVATE PHYSICIAN. B-155489, DECEMBER 10, 1964.

IN THE INSTANT CASE, THE AUTHORIZATION TO RECEIVE THE EXAMINATION FROM A PRIVATE PHYSICIAN WAS IN EFFECT WITHDRAWN BY THE JULY 6, 1970, MEMORANDUM. MR. PHILLIPS' ACTIONS, HOWEVER, WERE MADE IN GOOD FAITH AND CLEARED THROUGH THE PROPER PERSONNEL CHANNELS PRIOR TO THE RECEIPT AND WITHOUT ANY KNOWLEDGE OF THE JULY 6, 1970, MEMORANDUM.

ACCORDINGLY, IN LIGHT OF THESE CIRCUMSTANCES, THE VOUCHER IS PROPERLY PAYABLE.