B-180261, MAY 3, 1974, 53 COMP GEN 822

B-180261: May 3, 1974

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THERE IS NO AUTHORITY FOR PAYMENT OF PHYSICIAN SERVICES. 1974: WE HAVE BEEN REQUESTED BY THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR TO RENDER A DECISION ON WHETHER PUBLIC LAW 87-708. IS CODIFIED AS SECTION 4-124 OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA CODE. IT PROVIDES: POLICE SURGEONS SHALL HAVE ACTUALLY AND BONA FIDE RESIDED IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA FOR AT LEAST TWO YEARS NEXT PRECEDING THE DATE OF THEIR APPOINTMENT AND SHALL BE DULY QUALIFIED ACCORDING TO LAW FOR THE PRACTICE OF MEDICINE AND SURGERY IN SAID DISTRICT AND SHALL HAVE ACTIVELY BEEN ENGAGED IN THE PRACTICE OF THEIR PROFESSION FOR A PERIOD OF AT LEAST THREE YEARS NEXT PRECEDING THE DATE OF THEIR APPOINTMENT. (THE LANGUAGE ADDED BY PUBLIC LAW 87-708 IS ITALICIZED.).

B-180261, MAY 3, 1974, 53 COMP GEN 822

MEDICAL TREATMENT - PRIVATE - PARK POLICE - NON-SERVICE CONNECTED INJURIES OR DISEASES SECTION 4-124 OF DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA CODE PROVIDES FOR APPOINTMENT OF POLICE SURGEONS, AND FOR TREATMENT OF NON-SERVICE CONNECTED INJURIES AND DISEASES SUFFERED BY D.C. POLICEMEN AND FIREMEN. WHILE SECTION 4 206 OF D.C. CODE EXTENDS SAME BENEFITS TO U.S. PARK POLICE, THERE IS NO AUTHORITY FOR PAYMENT OF PHYSICIAN SERVICES, OTHER THAN BY THE APPOINTMENT POLICE SURGEONS, FOR TREATMENT OF NON-SERVICE CONNECTED INJURIES OR DISEASES SUFFERED BY U.S. PARK POLICE OFFICERS SINCE STATUTE MAKES NO PROVISION FOR OTHER PHYSICIAN SERVICES.

IN THE MATTER OF MEDICAL TREATMENT FOR UNITED STATES PARK POLICE, MAY 3, 1974:

WE HAVE BEEN REQUESTED BY THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR TO RENDER A DECISION ON WHETHER PUBLIC LAW 87-708, APPROVED SEPTEMBER 27, 1962, 76 STAT. 635, WHICH AMENDED PUBLIC LAW 205, APPROVED JUNE 8, 1906, 34 STAT. 222, AND IS CODIFIED AS SECTION 4-124 OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA CODE, AUTHORIZES THE PAYMENT OF PHYSICIAN SERVICES PROVIDED FOR MEMBERS OF THE UNITED STATES PARK POLICE FOR INJURIES RECEIVED OR DISEASES CONTRACTED NOT IN THE PERFORMANCE OF DUTY WHILE ON OFFICIAL ASSIGNMENT OUTSIDE OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

PUBLIC LAW 87-708 AMENDED SECTION 4-124 OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA CODE SO THAT, IN ITS PRESENT FORM, IT PROVIDES:

POLICE SURGEONS SHALL HAVE ACTUALLY AND BONA FIDE RESIDED IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA FOR AT LEAST TWO YEARS NEXT PRECEDING THE DATE OF THEIR APPOINTMENT AND SHALL BE DULY QUALIFIED ACCORDING TO LAW FOR THE PRACTICE OF MEDICINE AND SURGERY IN SAID DISTRICT AND SHALL HAVE ACTIVELY BEEN ENGAGED IN THE PRACTICE OF THEIR PROFESSION FOR A PERIOD OF AT LEAST THREE YEARS NEXT PRECEDING THE DATE OF THEIR APPOINTMENT. SUCH POLICE SURGEONS SHALL BE SUBJECT TO SUCH LAWS, RULES, AND REGULATIONS AS THE COMMISSIONERS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA MAY FROM TIME TO TIME MAKE, ALTER, OR AMEND. SUCH POLICE SURGEONS SHALL ATTEND, WITHOUT CHARGE, ALL MEMBERS OF SAID POLICE FORCE AND OF THE FIRE DEPARTMENT OF SAID DISTRICT FOR ANY INJURY RECEIVED OR DISEASE CONTRACTED (WHETHER OR NOT RECEIVED OR CONTRACTED IN THE PERFORMANCE OF DUTY), EXAMINE APPLICANTS FOR APPOINTMENT AND RETIREMENT IN AND TO SAID POLICE FORCE AND SAID FIRE DEPARTMENT, AND ATTEND SUCH DEPENDENT SICK AND INJURED, AND EXAMINE AND ATTEND SUCH INSANE OR ALLEGED INSANE PERSONS AS MAY BE TAKEN IN CHARGE BY SAID POLICE, AND SHALL PERFORM SUCH OTHER DUTIES AS THE SAID COMMISSIONERS MAY DIRECT. (THE LANGUAGE ADDED BY PUBLIC LAW 87-708 IS ITALICIZED.)

THE ABOVE SECTION GOVERNS THE APPOINTMENT OF POLICE SURGEONS TO THE METROPOLITAN POLICE AND SPECIFIES THE DUTIES THAT THEY ARE TO PERFORM. NOTHING IN THIS SECTION AUTHORIZES PAYMENT FOR SERVICES PERFORMED BY ANY PHYSICIAN OTHER THAN THE POLICE SURGEONS.

THE CREATION OF THE UNITED STATES PARK POLICE IS AUTHORIZED BY SECTION 4- 201 OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA CODE WHICH PROVIDES THAT:

THE WATCHMEN PROVIDED BY THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT FOR SERVICE IN ANY OF THE PUBLIC SQUARES AND RESERVATIONS IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA SHALL, AFTER AUGUST 5, 1882, BE KNOWN AS THE "UNITED STATES PARK POLICE." THEY SHALL HAVE AND PERFORM THE SAME POWERS AND DUTIES AS THE METROPOLITAN POLICE OF THE DISTRICT.

IT IS NOTED THAT THE POWERS AND DUTIES OF THE PARK POLICE ARE EQUATED WITH THOSE OF THE METROPOLITAN POLICE, NOT OTHER FEDERAL OFFICERS. THE COMPARABILITY TO THE METROPOLITAN POLICE IS CONTINUED BY SECTION 4-206 WHICH IS THE BASIS FOR GRANTING THE UNITED STATES PARK POLICE THE SAME RIGHT TO FREE MEDICAL ATTENDANCE AS THAT RECEIVED BY THE METROPOLITAN POLICE. THAT SECTION WAS ENACTED BY PUBLIC LAW 83, APPROVED APRIL 26, 1902, 32 STAT. 152, AND PROVIDES THAT:

THE PARK WATCHMEN ON APRIL 28, 1902, PROVIDED BY LAW AND THOSE THAT MAY THEREFORE BE PROVIDED FOR BY LAW FOR SERVICE IN ANY OF THE PUBLIC SQUARES AND RESERVATIONS IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, SHALL RECEIVE FREE MEDICAL ATTENDANCE, THE SAME AS THE METROPOLITAN POLICE OF SAID DISTRICT.

WE FOUND NOTHING IN THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OF THIS SECTION WHICH INDICATES THAT THE CONGRESS INTENDED THAT THE PARK POLICE WOULD RECEIVE ANY MEDICAL TREATMENT, FOR NON-SERVICE CONNECTED INJURIES OR DISEASES, AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE BEYOND THAT RENDERED BY THE POLICE SURGEONS.

THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OF THE ACT OF JUNE 8, 1906, WHICH ORIGINALLY PROVIDED FOR THE APPOINTMENT OF POLICE SURGEONS, WAS ALSO REVIEWED. AGAIN, NOTHING WAS FOUND TO INDICATE THAT THE CONGRESS INTENDED TO PROVIDE FOR ANY MEDICAL TREATMENT FOR NON-SERVICE CONNECTED INJURIES OR DISEASES BEYOND THAT PROVIDED BY THE POLICE SURGEONS. IN THIS CONNECTION A PORTION OF THE DEBATE IN THE HOUSE, WHICH IS FOUND AT 40 CONG. RECORD 4290, MARCH 26, 1906, IS SET OUT BELOW:

MR. MADDEN. WHY DO YOU PROVIDE SURGEONS FOR THE DEPARTMENT?

MR. CAMPBELL OF KANSAS. BECAUSE IT IS NECESSARY TO HAVE SURGEONS TO ATTEND POLICEMEN AND MEMBERS OF THE FIRE DEPARTMENT AND TO ATTEND THE INSANE WHO COME WITHIN THE JURISDICTION OF THE POLICEMEN.

THE EMPHASIS IS ON THE APPOINTMENT OF POLICE SURGEONS TO PROVIDE MEDICAL TREATMENT FOR ELIGIBLE OFFICERS.

THIS SAME EMPHASIS IS FOUND IN THE MOST RECENT ENACTMENT IN THIS AREA, PUBLIC LAW 87-708. IN THE HOUSE REPORT ON THE BILL, REPORT NO. 2174, AUGUST 10, 1962, THE FOLLOWING HISTORY AND EXPLANATION OF THE MECHANICS OF THE MEDICAL TREATMENT BENEFITS RECEIVED BY METROPOLITAN POLICE OFFICERS IS PROVIDED:

MEDICAL CARE FOR POLICEMEN AND FIREMEN AND THEIR TREATMENT FOR INJURIES AND ILLNESSES INCURRED BOTH ON AND OFF DUTY HAS BEEN IN EXISTENCE IN THE DISTRICT FOR 100 YEARS WITHOUT INTERRUPTION. IT HAS SERVED EXTREMELY WELL TO MAINTAIN MEMBERS OF THESE DEPARTMENTS IN THE OUTSTANDING PHYSICAL CONDITION REQUIRED IN THE PROPER PERFORMANCE OF THEIR JOBS. IN ADDITION, THIS BENEFIT HAS BEEN WIDELY USED (AND WITH GREAT SUCCESS) AS AN INDUCEMENT FOR THE RECRUITMENT OF CANDIDATES FOR THESE JOBS.

THE BOARD OF POLICE AND FIRE SURGEONS, WHICH ADMINISTERS THE MEDICAL CARE PROGRAM, CONSISTS OF 12 MEMBERS OF THE MEDICAL PROFESSION - 2 OF WHOM ARE PAID ON A FULL-TIME BASIS BY THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND THE REMAINING 10 BEING PAID ON A PART-TIME BASIS (80 PERCENT OF A 40-HOUR WEEK, OR 32 HOURS). MEMBERS OF THE BOARD SERVE DURING REGULAR CLINIC HOURS AT THE POLICE AND FIRE CLINIC, LOCATED ON THE 3D FLOOR OF ENGINE CO. 16, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA FIRE DEPARTMENT, 1018 13TH STREET NW., ON WEEKDAYS, WITH A LIMITED SERVICE AVAILABLE TO DEPARTMENT MEMBERS ON SUNDAYS. THESE DOCTORS ARE ON CALL ON A 24-HOUR BASIS FOR EMERGENCY TREATMENT AND ATTENDANCE TO MEMBERS OF THE DEPARTMENTS, AND THEY ARE ALSO AVAILABLE AND DO RESPOND TO THE SCENES OF MULTIPLE ALARMS OF FIRES, RIOTS, ETC., WHERE POLICEMEN AND FIREMEN ARE SERVING IN UNUSUAL NUMBERS AND UNDER UNUSUAL CONDITIONS. ADDITION, BOARD MEMBERS MAKE REGULAR VISITS TO DEPARTMENT MEMBERS CONFINED TO HOMES AND HOSPITALS.

ENACTMENT OF THIS BILL WILL NEITHER ADD TO NOR WILL IT DETRACT FROM THE MEDICAL CARE BENEFITS NOW AVAILABLE TO MEMBERS OF THE POLICE AND FIRE DEPARTMENTS, AND IT WILL INVOLVE NO ADDITIONAL COSTS WHATSOEVER TO THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA GOVERNMENT.

AS STATED IN THE SAME REPORT, "THE PURPOSE OF THIS BILL IS TO CLARIFY LANGUAGE IN EXISTING LAW ***," NOT TO INCREASE ANY BENEFITS.

UNDER PUBLIC LAW 85-157, AUGUST 21, 1957, 71 STAT. 391, IT IS CLEAR THAT THE COST OF ANY MEDICAL TREATMENT REQUIRED FOR SERVICE CONNECTED INJURIES OR DISEASE CAN BE PAID, EVEN IF THE TREATMENT IS RENDERED BY PHYSICIANS OTHER THAN POLICE SURGEONS. HOWEVER, NEITHER PUBLIC LAW 85 157, PUBLIC LAW 87-708, NOR ANY OTHER PROVISION OF LAW OF WHICH WE ARE AWARE, AUTHORIZES PAYMENT FOR MEDICAL TREATMENT OF NON-SERVICE CONNECTED INJURIES OR DISEASES, BEYOND THOSE SERVICES RENDERED BY THE POLICE SURGEONS.

WHILE WE DO NOT QUESTION THE AUTHORITY OF THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR TO ASSIGN MEMBERS OF THE PARK POLICE TEMPORARILY OR ON AN EMERGENCY BASIS TO DUTIES OUTSIDE OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, IN LIGHT OF THE POWERS GIVEN TO HIM REGARDING HIS LAW ENFORCEMENT RESPONSIBILITIES IN RECENT APPROPRIATION LEGISLATION, WE HAVE FOUND NO AUTHORITY FOR THE PAYMENT OF PHYSICIAN SERVICES OTHER THAN THOSE PERFORMED BY DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA POLICE SURGEONS, FOR THE TREATMENT OF NON-SERVICE CONNECTED INJURIES OR DISEASES SUFFERED BY PARK POLICE OFFICERS WHILE WORKING AWAY FROM THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. ACCORDINGLY, THE QUESTION PRESENTED MUST BE ANSWERED IN THE NEGATIVE.