B-3331, JULY 10, 1939, 19 COMP. GEN. 27

B-3331: Jul 10, 1939

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MEDICAL TREATMENT - PRIVATE - CLINICAL RECORDS OF HOSPITALIZED ARMY RESERVE OFFICERS ON DUTY WITH CIVILIAN CONSERVATION CORPS - APPROPRIATION AVAILABILITY CIVILIAN CONSERVATION CORPS FUNDS FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1939 ARE NOT AVAILABLE FOR PAYMENT TO A PRIVATE HOSPITAL FOR COPIES OF THE HOSPITAL'S CLINICAL RECORDS FOR USE BY A BOARD OF OFFICERS IN DETERMINING WHETHER THE DISABILITY FOR WHICH AN ARMY RESERVE OFFICER WAS HOSPITALIZED. WAS INCURRED IN LINE OF DUTY. REQUESTING DECISION WHETHER PAYMENT IS AUTHORIZED ON A VOUCHER TRANSMITTED THEREWITH IN FAVOR OF THE SALEM DEACONESS HOSPITAL. WAS ON ACTIVE DUTY WITH THE CIVILIAN CONSERVATION CORPS FROM FEBRUARY 1. THAT WHILE ON ORDINARY LEAVE OF HE WAS ADMITTED TO THE SALEM DEACONESS HOSPITAL.

B-3331, JULY 10, 1939, 19 COMP. GEN. 27

MEDICAL TREATMENT - PRIVATE - CLINICAL RECORDS OF HOSPITALIZED ARMY RESERVE OFFICERS ON DUTY WITH CIVILIAN CONSERVATION CORPS - APPROPRIATION AVAILABILITY CIVILIAN CONSERVATION CORPS FUNDS FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1939 ARE NOT AVAILABLE FOR PAYMENT TO A PRIVATE HOSPITAL FOR COPIES OF THE HOSPITAL'S CLINICAL RECORDS FOR USE BY A BOARD OF OFFICERS IN DETERMINING WHETHER THE DISABILITY FOR WHICH AN ARMY RESERVE OFFICER WAS HOSPITALIZED, WHILE ON ORDINARY LEAVE OF ABSENCE FROM THE SAID CORPS, WAS INCURRED IN LINE OF DUTY.

ASSISTANT COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO LT. COL. W. M. DIXON, UNITED STATES ARMY, JULY 10, 939:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED BY REFERENCE FROM THE CHIEF OF FINANCE YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 20, 1939, REQUESTING DECISION WHETHER PAYMENT IS AUTHORIZED ON A VOUCHER TRANSMITTED THEREWITH IN FAVOR OF THE SALEM DEACONESS HOSPITAL, SALEM, OREG., IN THE AMOUNT OF $5 FOR FIVE COPIES OF THE HOSPITAL'S CLINICAL RECORDS PERTAINING TO DR. LOUVERA B. SCHMIDT, A FORMER PATIENT, COVERING THE PERIOD OF HIS HOSPITALIZATION DURING JUNE 1938.

IT APPEARS THAT CAPT. LOUVERA BROYLES SCHMIDT, DENTAL RESERVE, WAS ON ACTIVE DUTY WITH THE CIVILIAN CONSERVATION CORPS FROM FEBRUARY 1, 1937, TO SEPTEMBER 30, 1938; THAT WHILE ON ORDINARY LEAVE OF HE WAS ADMITTED TO THE SALEM DEACONESS HOSPITAL, WHERE OPERATIONS WERE PERFORMED ON MAY 27 AND JUNE 8, 1938, AND THAT THE BOARD OF OFFICERS CONVENED UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF PARAGRAPH 2, ARMY REGULATIONS 35-3420, FINALLY DETERMINED THAT THE RESERVE OFFICER'S DISABILITY WAS NOT CONTRACTED IN LINE OF DUTY, HAVING EXISTED PRIOR TO ENTRY UPON ACTIVE DUTY.

THE CLINICAL RECORDS APPEAR TO HAVE BEEN OBTAINED FROM THE SALEM DEACONESS HOSPITAL PURSUANT TO A REQUEST DATED OCTOBER 13, 1938, ADDRESSED TO THE HOSPITAL BY A RESERVE MEDICAL OFFICER, PROBABLY A MEMBER OF THE BOARD, THE REQUEST BEING WORDED AS FOLLOWS:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO A FORMER PATIENT, CAPTAIN LOUVERA B. SCHMIDT, HOSPITALIZED IN YOUR INSTITUTION DURING THE MONTH OF JUNE, 1938.

THE UNDERSIGNED REQUESTS FIVE (4) CERTIFIED TRUE COPIES OF MEDICAL, SURGICAL AND CLINICAL HISTORIES IN THE ABOVE CASE.

ARMY REGULATIONS 35-3420, PARAGRAPH 2, E (1) DATED SEPTEMBER 23, 1937, PROVIDES THAT WHENEVER A RESERVE OFFICER CONTRACTS A DISEASE WHICH MAY REQUIRE MEDICAL AND HOSPITAL TREATMENT AFTER THE TERMINATION OF AN ACTIVE DUTY PERIOD, ETC., THE COMMANDING OFFICER OF THE POST, CAMP, OR STATION WILL CONVENE A BOARD OF THREE OFFICERS, AT LEAST ONE OF WHOM WILL BE A MEDICAL OFFICER, TO INVESTIGATE AND REPORT UPON THE MATTER.

PARAGRAPH 2 E (1) OF THE SAME REGULATIONS PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

(B) SPECIFIC STATEMENT AS TO HOW, WHEN, AND WHERE THE INJURY WAS INCURRED OR THE DISEASE CONTRACTED; AS TO NATURE AND EXTENT OF DISEASE OR INJURY, AND DATE DISEASE WAS FIRST MANIFESTED OR INJURY INCURRED; AND WHETHER OR NOT CONTRACTED OR INCURRED IN LINE OF DUTY WHILE ON ACTIVE DUTY. (IN CASE OF DISEASE, PARTICULAR CONSIDERATION SHOULD BE GIVEN BY THE BOARD TO THE QUESTION OF WHETHER THE ILLNESS MANIFESTED WAS DUE TO ANY CONDITION OR DISEASE WHICH EXISTED PRIOR TO ENTRY UPON ACTIVE DUTY. WHERE CURRENT OR PRIOR MEDICAL HISTORY WILL AID IN DETERMINING WHETHER OR NOT THE DISABILITY IN QUESTION WAS INCURRED IN LINE OF DUTY WHILE ON THE PARTICULAR TOUR OF ACTIVE DUTY ALL PERTINENT INFORMATION AVAILABLE, INCLUDING REPORT OF PHYSICAL EXAMINATION MADE AT TIME OF ENTRY UPON ACTIVE DUTY AND CLINICAL RECORD IF THE OFFICER HAS BEEN OR IS BEING HOSPITALIZED, WILL BE SECURED AND CONSIDERED BY THE BOARD. THIS WILL BE DONE IN EACH CASE INVOLVING DISEASE.)

THE ACT OF MAY 23, 1938 52 STAT. 414, PROVIDES FUNDS FOR THE CIVILIAN CONSERVATION CORPS AS FOLLOWS:

FOR ALL AUTHORIZED AND NECESSARY EXPENSES TO CARRY INTO EFFECT THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT ENTITLED " AN ACT TO ESTABLISH A CIVILIAN CONSERVATION CORPS, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES," APPROVED JUNE 28, 1937, INCLUDING PERSONAL SERVICES IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND ELSEWHERE; THE PURCHASE AND EXCHANGE OF LAW BOOKS, BOOKS OF REFERENCE, PERIODICALS, AND NEWSPAPERS; RENTS IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND ELSEWHERE; THE PURCHASE (INCLUDING EXCHANGE), OPERATION, MAINTENANCE, AND REPAIR OF MOTOR- PROPELLED AND HORSE-DRAWN PASSENGER-CARRYING VEHICLES TO BE USED ONLY FOR OFFICIAL PURPOSES; HIRE, WITH OR WITHOUT PERSONAL SERVICES, OF WORK ANIMALS, ANIMAL-DRAWN AND MOTOR-PROPELLED VEHICLES, AND WATERCRAFT; PRINTING AND BINDING; TRAVEL EXPENSES, INCLUDING NOT TO EXCEED $2,000 FOR EXPENSES OF ATTENDANCE AT MEETINGS CONCERNED WITH THE WORK OF THE CORPS WHEN SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZED BY THE DIRECTOR; CONSTRUCTION, IMPROVEMENT, REPAIR, AND MAINTENANCE OF BUILDINGS, BUT THE COST OF ANY BUILDING ERECTED HEREUNDER SHALL NOT EXCEED $25,000; AND ALL OTHER NECESSARY EXPENSES; * *

RESERVE OFFICERS DETAILED TO ACTIVE DUTY WITH THE CIVILIAN CONSERVATION CORPS ARE ENTITLED TO THE SAME PAY AND ALLOWANCES AS IF THEY WERE PAID FROM THE APPROPRIATION " ORGANIZED RESERVES," AND GENERALLY DURING THEIR TOUR OF ACTIVE DUTY ARE ENTITLED TO THE SAME MEDICAL TREATMENT AS PROVIDED FOR ARMY OFFICERS. THE MEDICAL AND HOSPITAL TREATMENT CONTEMPLATED PRIMARILY IS THAT PROVIDED BY MEDICAL OFFICERS OF THE ARMY IN ARMY HOSPITALS AND THE HOSPITAL RECORDS REFERRED TO IN THE REGULATIONS QUOTED ABOVE, IF NECESSARY FOR DETERMINATION OF THE LINE OF DUTY DISABILITY IN CASE OF DISEASE OF RESERVE OFFICERS, ARE THE AVAILABLE RECORDS OF ARMY OR OTHER GOVERNMENT HOSPITALS AND NOT RECORDS OF CIVILIAN HOSPITALS REQUIRED TO BE PURCHASED BY THE GOVERNMENT. SUPPORT FOR THIS CONCLUSION IS FOUND IN THE FACT THAT USUALLY MEDICAL, CLINICAL, AND SURGICAL RECORDS ASSOCIATED WITH DISABILITIES OF A PATIENT IN A CIVILIAN HOSPITAL ARE OF SUCH CONFIDENTIAL NATURE THAT THE PATIENT'S CONSENT TO THEIR RELEASE TO THIRD PARTIES IS NORMALLY NECESSARY AND DESIRABLE, AND AS A GENERAL RULE REQUIRED, BEFORE THE OFFICERS OF SUCH CIVILIAN HOSPITALS MAY SAFELY FURNISH COPIES THEREOF TO OTHER SOURCES. IT IS THE UNDERSTANDING OF THIS OFFICE THAT, GENERALLY SPEAKING, WHERE THE COST OF FURNISHING SUCH HOSPITAL RECORDS IS INCONSEQUENTIAL THE SAME ARE USUALLY FURNISHED TO THE PATIENT OR FORMER PATIENT, OR TO THE MEDICAL OFFICER DESIGNATED BY HIM, WITHOUT EXPENSE, AS PART OF THE HOSPITAL TREATMENT. THERE APPEARS NO LEGAL REQUIREMENT THAT THE EXPENSES INCURRED SHOULD BE BORNE BY THE GOVERNMENT IN THE ABSENCE OF A CLEAR STATUTORY PROVISION AUTHORIZING PAYMENT BY THE UNITED STATES. SUCH A PROVISION IS NOT FOUND IN THE APPROPRIATION FOR THE CIVILIAN CONSERVATION CORPS, CONSEQUENTLY PAYMENT OF THE VOUCHER IS NOT AUTHORIZED.