B-41957, MAY 24, 1944, 23 COMP. GEN. 888

B-41957: May 24, 1944

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MEDICAL TREATMENT - PRIVATE - EXPENSES OF PREVENTIVE TREATMENT FOR CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES THE PURCHASE OF DRUGS AND THEIR ADMINISTRATION BY A PRIVATE PHYSICIAN TO WEATHER BUREAU EMPLOYEES AS AN IMMEDIATE PREVENTIVE MEASURE AFTER THE EMPLOYEES WERE EXPOSED IN THE LINE OF DUTY TO SPINAL MENINGITIS. 1944: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF MAY 10. DEAR SIR: THE ABOVE REFERENCED VOUCHERS HAVE BEEN PRESENTED TO ME FOR APPROVAL AS AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER FOR PAYMENT FROM THE APPROPRIATION "1341400.001. YOUR DECISION IS RESPECTFULLY REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER OR NOT THE EXPENSES ON THE VOUCHERS ARE LEGALLY PAYABLE FROM THE APPROPRIATION REFERRED TO ABOVE. THE VOUCHER FOR $7.20 FOR PURCHASES OF DRUGS CONTAINS A STATEMENT AS FOLLOWS: THE DRUGS PURCHASED AND FOR WHICH THIS VOUCHER IS SUBMITTED IN PAYMENT WERE NECESSARY IN ORDER TO TAKE IMMEDIATE PREVENTIVE MEASURES AFTER ALL AIRPORT WEATHER BUREAU EMPLOYEES WERE EXPOSED IN THE LINE OF DUTY TO SPINAL MENINGITIS.

B-41957, MAY 24, 1944, 23 COMP. GEN. 888

MEDICAL TREATMENT - PRIVATE - EXPENSES OF PREVENTIVE TREATMENT FOR CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES THE PURCHASE OF DRUGS AND THEIR ADMINISTRATION BY A PRIVATE PHYSICIAN TO WEATHER BUREAU EMPLOYEES AS AN IMMEDIATE PREVENTIVE MEASURE AFTER THE EMPLOYEES WERE EXPOSED IN THE LINE OF DUTY TO SPINAL MENINGITIS, EPIDEMIC VARIETY, AND IN ORDER TO OBVIATE THE POSSIBILITY OF THE EMPLOYEES BEING QUARANTINED AND THE RESULTANT CLOSING OF THE STATION, MAY BE CONSIDERED AS HAVING BEEN NECESSARY FROM AN ADMINISTRATIVE STANDPOINT AND PRIMARILY FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE GOVERNMENT, RATHER THAN THE EMPLOYEES, SO AS TO JUSTIFY PAYMENT OF THE EXPENSES THEREOF FROM THE BUREAU'S APPROPRIATION FOR SALARIES AND EXPENSES.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL YATES TO D. Y. ENGELL, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE, MAY 24, 1944:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF MAY 10, 1944 ( MAT) THE) HI), AS FOLLOWS:

SUBJECT: LEGALITY OF PURCHASES

REFERENCE: ATTACHED VOUCHERS (TWO) IN FAVOR OR DR. HARRY MANDELL

FOR PROFESSIONAL SERVICES IN THE AMOUNT OF $3.00 AND

SAN BRUNO PHARMACY FOR DRUGS IN THE AMOUNT OF $7.20.

DEAR SIR: THE ABOVE REFERENCED VOUCHERS HAVE BEEN PRESENTED TO ME FOR APPROVAL AS AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER FOR PAYMENT FROM THE APPROPRIATION "1341400.001, SALARIES AND EXPENSES, WEATHER BUREAU, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE (ALL OTHER EXPENDITURES, 1944).'

UNDER THE PROVISION OF SECTION 3 OF THE ACT OF DECEMBER 29, 1941, 55 STAT. 876, YOUR DECISION IS RESPECTFULLY REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER OR NOT THE EXPENSES ON THE VOUCHERS ARE LEGALLY PAYABLE FROM THE APPROPRIATION REFERRED TO ABOVE.

THE VOUCHER FOR $7.20 FOR PURCHASES OF DRUGS CONTAINS A STATEMENT AS FOLLOWS:

THE DRUGS PURCHASED AND FOR WHICH THIS VOUCHER IS SUBMITTED IN PAYMENT WERE NECESSARY IN ORDER TO TAKE IMMEDIATE PREVENTIVE MEASURES AFTER ALL AIRPORT WEATHER BUREAU EMPLOYEES WERE EXPOSED IN THE LINE OF DUTY TO SPINAL MENINGITIS, EPIDEMIC VARIETY, BY CAA EMPLOYEE HOSPITALIZED ON EVENING PRECEDING THIS ACTION. THE ACTION TAKEN WAS THE SAME AS THAT TAKEN BY THE CAA AND WAS BASED UPON MEDICAL ADVICE. THE PHYSICIAN IN CHARGE OF THE CAA CASE WAS OF THE OPINION THAT QUARANTINE OF EXPOSED PERSONNEL WOULD BE UNNECESSARY IF THESE MEASURES FOLLOWED. QUARANTINE OF WEATHER BUREAU PERSONNEL WOULD HAVE CLOSED THE STATION, SINCE ALL WERE EXPOSED.

THE OTHER VOUCHER FOR $3 FOR PROFESSIONAL SERVICES CONTAINS THE FOLLOWING EXPLANATION:

SERVICES OF A PHYSICIAN IN PRIVATE PRACTICE SECURED AFTER INABILITY TO LOCATE REPRESENTATIVES OF PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE WITHIN A PRACTICABLE DISTANCE. ACTION TAKEN UPON ADVICE OF PHYSICIANS IN CHARGE OF CASE OF EPIDEMIC MENINGITIS AMONG CAA PERSONNEL, AND CO-ORDINATED WITH SIMILAR ACTION BY CAA. ORIGINAL PURPOSE OF ACTION: TO TAKE REASONABLE PRECAUTIONARY MEASURE AGAINST CONTAGION OF PERSONNEL EXPOSED, AND TO OBVIATE POSSIBLE QUARANTINE OF WEATHER BUREAU AND CAA QUARTERS.

THE APPROPRIATION PROPOSED TO BE CHARGED, SALARIES AND EXPENSES, WEATHER BUREAU, 1944, ACT OF JULY 1, 1943, 57 STAT. 300, PUBLIC LAW 105, PROVIDES, IN PERTINENT PART, AS FOLLOWS:

* * * FOR SALARIES AND EXPENSES NECESSARY FOR CARRYING INTO EFFECT IN THE UNITED STATES AND POSSESSIONS, ON SHIPS AT SEA, AND ELSEWHERE WHEN DIRECTED BY THE SECRETARY OF COMMERCE, THE PROVISIONS OF SECTIONS 1 AND 3 OF AN ACT APPROVED OCTOBER 1, 1890 (15 U.S.C. 311-313), AND SECTION 803 OF THE CIVIL AERONAUTICS ACT OF 1938 (49 U.S.C. 603), INCLUDING INVESTIGATIONS OF ATMOSPHERIC PHENOMENA; COOPERATION WITH OTHER PUBLIC AGENCIES AND SOCIETIES AND INSTITUTIONS OF LEARNING * * *.

IN DECISION OF JULY 14, 1942, 22 COMP. GEN. 32, IT WAS STATED:

* * * 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. SEE, ALSO, DECISIONS B- 26915, JUNE 30, 1942; B-33058, MARCH 23, 1943; AND B-34228, MAY 21, 1943. CF. 22 COMP. GEN. 243.

THE PURCHASE AND ADMINISTRATION OF THE DRUGS UNDER THE STATED FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES APPEAR TO HAVE BEEN NECESSARY FROM AN ADMINISTRATIVE STANDPOINT AND PRIMARILY FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE GOVERNMENT RATHER THAN THE EMPLOYEE. ACCORDINGLY, IN LINE WITH THE RULE LAID DOWN IN THE DECISIONS, SUPRA, THE TWO VOUCHERS, IF OTHERWISE REGULAR, MAY BE PROCESSED FOR PAYMENT.