B-27022, JULY 14, 1942, 22 COMP. GEN. 32

B-27022: Jul 14, 1942

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- WHICH ARE PRIMARILY FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE GOVERNMENT AS A NECESSARY INCIDENT TO THE SUCCESSFUL OPERATION OF THE LABORATORY. EVEN THOUGH SUCH EXPENSE IS NOT SPECIFICALLY PROVIDED FOR THEREIN. REQUESTING DECISION AS TO WHETHER YOU ARE AUTHORIZED TO MAKE PAYMENT ON A VOUCHER IN THE AMOUNT OF $626 IN FAVOR OF DR. IT IS STATED THAT MONTHLY EXAMINATIONS OF THESE EMPLOYEES ARE CONTEMPLATED. SINCE THE CIVILIANS ARE EMPLOYED AT THE CHEMICAL WARFARE LABORATORY APPARENTLY THEY ARE ENGAGED ON WORK WHICH FROM TIME TO TIME BRINGS THEM IN CONTACT WITH ARSENIC. IT IS THE PURPOSE OF THESE PERIODIC EXAMINATIONS TO DETECT CASES OF ARSENIC POISONING IN THEIR EARLY STAGES IN ORDER THAT PROPER STEPS MIGHT BE TAKEN TO AVOID ILLNESS.

B-27022, JULY 14, 1942, 22 COMP. GEN. 32

APPROPRIATIONS - AVAILABILITY - PHYSICAL EXAMINATIONS OF CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES PERIODIC PHYSICAL EXAMINATIONS OF CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES AT A CHEMICAL WARFARE LABORATORY FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE HEALTH OF THE EMPLOYEES BY THE EARLY DETECTION OF ARSENIC POISONING REPRESENT PRECAUTIONARY MEASURES TO PREVENT ILLNESS--- AS DISTINGUISHED FROM CURATIVE MEDICAL TREATMENT--- WHICH ARE PRIMARILY FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE GOVERNMENT AS A NECESSARY INCIDENT TO THE SUCCESSFUL OPERATION OF THE LABORATORY, AND, THEREFORE, THE EXPENSE THEREOF MAY BE PAID FROM THE ROPRIATION," CHEMICAL WARFARE SERVICE, ARMY, 1942," AVAILABLE FOR OPERATION OF THE LABORATORY, EVEN THOUGH SUCH EXPENSE IS NOT SPECIFICALLY PROVIDED FOR THEREIN.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO LT. COL. C. H. FARISH, U.S. ARMY, JULY 14, 1942:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED FROM THE CHIEF OF FINANCE YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 19, 1942, AND SUPPORTING PAPERS, REQUESTING DECISION AS TO WHETHER YOU ARE AUTHORIZED TO MAKE PAYMENT ON A VOUCHER IN THE AMOUNT OF $626 IN FAVOR OF DR. ROBERT C. KIRK FOR LABORATORY FEES AND PHYSICAL EXAMINATIONS OF CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES OF THE PITTSBURGH CHEMICAL WARFARE PROCUREMENT DISTRICT, EMPLOYED AT THE CHEMICAL WARFARE LABORATORY, COLUMBUS, OHIO, MADE DURING THE MONTH OF JANUARY 1942. IT IS STATED THAT MONTHLY EXAMINATIONS OF THESE EMPLOYEES ARE CONTEMPLATED.

SINCE THE CIVILIANS ARE EMPLOYED AT THE CHEMICAL WARFARE LABORATORY APPARENTLY THEY ARE ENGAGED ON WORK WHICH FROM TIME TO TIME BRINGS THEM IN CONTACT WITH ARSENIC, AND IT IS THE PURPOSE OF THESE PERIODIC EXAMINATIONS TO DETECT CASES OF ARSENIC POISONING IN THEIR EARLY STAGES IN ORDER THAT PROPER STEPS MIGHT BE TAKEN TO AVOID ILLNESS, THE NEED FOR MEDICAL TREATMENT, AND THE CONSEQUENT LOSS IN WORKING TIME.

IT HAS BEEN LONG RECOGNIZED THAT THE EXPENSE OF MEDICAL TREATMENT FOR CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES OF THE GOVERNMENT IS PERSONAL TO THE EMPLOYEE AND THAT THERE IS NO AUTHORITY FOR THE PAYMENT THEREOF FROM PUBLIC FUNDS UNLESS PROVIDED FOR IN THE CONTRACT OF EMPLOYMENT OR BY STATUTORY ENACTMENT OR VALID REGULATION. 6 COMP. DEC. 955; 8 ID. 296, 11 ID. 177; 16 ID. 99; 3 COMP. GEN. 111; 18 ID. 533.

THERE HAS BEEN FOUND NO PROVISION EITHER OF STATUTE OR REGULATION SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZING PAYMENT OF THE COST OF THESE EXAMINATIONS FROM PUBLIC FUNDS, AND, PRESUMABLY, THE CONTRACTS OF EMPLOYMENT OF THE EMPLOYEES CONTAIN NO SUCH PROVISION.

HOWEVER, THIS OFFICE HAS HELD THAT WHERE THE CIRCUMSTANCES ARE SUCH THAT MEDICAL ATTENTION TO AN EMPLOYEE--- INCLUDING INOCULATION OR VACCINATION TO WHICH THESE EXAMINATIONS SEEM MORE OR LESS AKIN IN VIEW OF THEIR PRECAUTIONARY NATURE--- MAY BE CONSIDERED AS PRIMARILY FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE GOVERNMENT RATHER THAN THE EMPLOYEE, THE EXPENSE THEREOF MAY PROPERLY BE PAID FROM APPROPRIATED FUNDS. 2 COMP. DEC. 347; 6 ID. 447; 60 MS COMP. DEC. 1425; A-29752, DECEMBER 17, 1929; A-32786, AUGUST 8, 1930; A-97344, AUGUST 26, 1938. CF. 15 COMP. GEN. 20.

IT UNQUESTIONABLY IS OF FUNDAMENTAL IMPORTANCE IN THE WAR EFFORT THAT THE WORK OF THE CHEMICAL WARFARE SERVICE BE PROSECUTED WITHOUT HINDRANCE OR INTERRUPTION OF ANY KIND. WERE THE GOVERNMENT UNABLE OR UNWILLING TO PROVIDE MEANS FOR OFFSETTING THE EVER-PRESENT DANGER OF ARSENIC POISONING THE SITUATION MIGHT WELL CONSTITUTE A SERIOUS OBSTACLE IN THE SECURING OF QUALIFIED PERSONNEL FOR THIS WORK. THE EMPLOYEES THEMSELVES COULD HARDLY BE EXPECTED AND WOULD MOST LIKELY BE UNWILLING TO INCUR THE EXPENSE OF THESE EXAMINATIONS AND LABORATORY TESTS WERE THE COST THEREOF NOT BORNE BY THE GOVERNMENT. NOT ONLY WOULD THE AFFLICTION OF AN EMPLOYEE WITH ARSENIC POISONING SLOW UP, TO SOME DEGREE AT LEAST, THE PRODUCTION OF ESSENTIAL WAR MATERIALS BUT ALSO MIGHT HAVE A DEPRESSING EFFECT ON THE MORALE OF FELLOW WORKERS. IT IS INDICATED IN THE PAPERS ATTACHED TO THE VOUCHER THAT THE SERVICES ARE ESSENTIAL TO THE SUCCESSFUL OPERATION OF THE LABORATORY AND, CONSEQUENTLY, ARE PRIMARILY FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE GOVERNMENT; THAT THE EXPENSE IS A REASONABLE AND NECESSARY INCIDENT TO THE MANUFACTURE, PROCUREMENT, AND TEST OF ARTICLES AND MATERIALS BY THE LABORATORY; AND IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT THE SERVICES ARE INCIDENT TO PREVENTING ILLNESSES AND SAFEGUARDING THE HEALTH OF EMPLOYEES RATHER THAN THE DIRECT FURNISHING OF MEDICAL ATTENTION TO EMPLOYEES WHO MAY HAVE BECOME ILL BY REASON OF THE EMPLOYMENT.

THE APPROPRIATION " CHEMICAL WARFARE SERVICE, ARMY, 1942," WHICH IS PROPOSED TO BE CHARGED WITH THE COST OF THE SERVICES, PROVIDES GENERALLY FOR THE PURCHASE, MANUFACTURE, AND TEST OF OFFENSIVE OR DEFENSIVE MATERIALS OR APPLIANCES, INCLUDING SERVICES CONNECTED THEREWITH, INCLUDING INCIDENTAL EXPENSES. 55 STAT. 382. UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES, IT APPEARING THAT THE AMOUNT CHARGED IS REASONABLE; THAT THE SERVICES REPRESENT PRECAUTIONARY AND PREVENTATIVE MEASURES RATHER THAN CURATIVE TREATMENT; AND THAT THEY PRIMARILY ARE FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE GOVERNMENT AND ARE A NECESSARY INCIDENT TO THE SUCCESSFUL OPERATION OF THE LABORATORY, THE APPROPRIATION INVOLVED MAY BE REGARDED AS AVAILABLE FOR PAYMENT FOR THE SERVICES AND THIS OFFICE WILL NOT BE REQUIRED TO OBJECT TO AN OTHERWISE PROPER PAYMENT ON THE VOUCHER PRESENTED.