B-51251, JANUARY 4, 1946, 25 COMP. GEN. 490

B-51251: Jan 4, 1946

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

TO ENLISTED PERSONNEL OF THE COAST GUARD WHILE ON LEAVE OR LIBERTY DURING THE PERIOD THE COAST GUARD WAS OPERATING AS PART OF THE NAVY MAY NOT BE CHARGED TO NAVY DEPARTMENT APPROPRIATIONS. AS FOLLOWS: THE NAVY DEPARTMENT HAS UNDER CONSIDERATION THE QUESTION AS TO WHETHER OR NOT NAVY APPROPRIATIONS ARE LEGALLY AVAILABLE FOR PAYMENT OF EXPENSES OF CIVILIAN MEDICAL AND HOSPITAL TREATMENT OF ENLISTED PERSONNEL OF THE COAST GUARD WHILE ON LEAVE OR LIBERTY. IN THIS CONNECTION THERE IS ENCLOSED A FILE OF CORRESPONDENCE ON THIS SUBJECT. YOUR DECISION IS REQUESTED ON THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS: (1) WHETHER OR NOT THE APPROPRIATION FOR THE " MEDICAL DEPARTMENT" OF THE NAVY. IS LEGALLY AVAILABLE TO DEFRAY THE EXPENSES OF CIVILIAN MEDICAL TREATMENT INCURRED BY COAST GUARD PERSONNEL WHILE ON LIBERTY OR LEAVE. (2) IF THE ANSWER TO QUERY (1) IS IN THE AFFIRMATIVE.

B-51251, JANUARY 4, 1946, 25 COMP. GEN. 490

MEDICAL TREATMENT - PRIVATE - COAST GUARD ENLISTED MEN ON LEAVE OR LIBERTY - APPROPRIATION CHARGEABLE THE DUTY OF FURNISHING "MEDICAL, SURGICAL, AND DENTAL TREATMENT AND HOSPITALIZATION" TO PERSONNEL OF THE COAST GUARD HAVING BEEN IMPOSED ON THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE BY THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE ACT OF JULY 1, 1944, AND FUNDS HAVING BEEN APPROPRIATED TO THE SERVICE FOR SUCH PURPOSES, THE COST OF FURNISHING EMERGENCY CIVILIAN MEDICAL TREATMENT, HOSPITALIZATION, ETC., TO ENLISTED PERSONNEL OF THE COAST GUARD WHILE ON LEAVE OR LIBERTY DURING THE PERIOD THE COAST GUARD WAS OPERATING AS PART OF THE NAVY MAY NOT BE CHARGED TO NAVY DEPARTMENT APPROPRIATIONS. COMP. GEN. 681, AMPLIFIED.

ASSISTANT COMPTROLLER GENERAL YATES TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, JANUARY 4, 1946:

THERE HAS BEEN CONSIDERED YOUR LETTER OF JULY 21, 1945, AS FOLLOWS:

THE NAVY DEPARTMENT HAS UNDER CONSIDERATION THE QUESTION AS TO WHETHER OR NOT NAVY APPROPRIATIONS ARE LEGALLY AVAILABLE FOR PAYMENT OF EXPENSES OF CIVILIAN MEDICAL AND HOSPITAL TREATMENT OF ENLISTED PERSONNEL OF THE COAST GUARD WHILE ON LEAVE OR LIBERTY.

IN THIS CONNECTION THERE IS ENCLOSED A FILE OF CORRESPONDENCE ON THIS SUBJECT.

IN ORDER THAT APPROPRIATE INSTRUCTIONS MAY BE ISSUED IN THIS MATTER, YOUR DECISION IS REQUESTED ON THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS:

(1) WHETHER OR NOT THE APPROPRIATION FOR THE " MEDICAL DEPARTMENT" OF THE NAVY, AS PROVIDED IN THE NAVAL APPROPRIATIONS ACT APPROVED MAY 29, 1945 ( PUBLIC LAW 62--- 79TH CONGRESS), IS LEGALLY AVAILABLE TO DEFRAY THE EXPENSES OF CIVILIAN MEDICAL TREATMENT INCURRED BY COAST GUARD PERSONNEL WHILE ON LIBERTY OR LEAVE.

(2) IF THE ANSWER TO QUERY (1) IS IN THE AFFIRMATIVE, TO WHAT EXTENT MAY SAID APPROPRIATION " MEDICAL DEPARTMENT" BE CONSIDERED APPLICABLE FOR THIS PURPOSE, THAT IS, IF FOR THE ENTIRE ENLISTED PERSONNEL OF THE COAST GUARD WHILE THE LATTER IS OPERATING AS PART OF THE NAVY, OR, IF SAID APPROPRIATION IS LEGALLY AVAILABLE ONLY FOR COAST GUARD PERSONNEL ACTUALLY SERVING ON NAVAL VESSELS OR AT NAVAL STATIONS UNDER THE COMMAND OF NAVAL OFFICERS?

IT IS EVIDENT FROM THE CORRESPONDENCE ENCLOSED WITH YOUR LETTER THAT THE QUESTIONS PRESENTED ARISE BY REASON OF THE DECISION DATED MARCH 16, 1945, 24 COMP. GEN. 681, ADDRESSED TO THE FEDERAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATOR, RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF ENLISTED MEN OF THE COAST GUARD SERVING, DURING THE WAR, AS PART OF THE NAVY, TO CIVILIAN HOSPITALIZATION AND MEDICAL TREATMENT WHILE ON AUTHORIZED LEAVE OR LIBERTY.

THE SAID DECISION OF MARCH 16, 1945, SPECIFICALLY WAS DIRECTED TO A DETERMINATION OF THE RIGHTS OF ENLISTED MEN OF THE COAST GUARD, DURING THE WAR, TO NECESSARY CIVILIAN HOSPITALIZATION AND MEDICAL TREATMENT WHILE ON LEAVE, AS NOW AUTHORIZED FOR ENLISTED PERSONNEL OF THE NAVY (23 COMP. GEN. 980), AND NO PARTICULAR DISCUSSION WAS CONTAINED THEREIN RESPECTING THE PARTICULAR APPROPRIATION CHARGEABLE WITH SUCH EXPENSES. HOWEVER, IT APPEARS FROM THE ENCLOSURES WITH YOUR LETTER THAT THE CONCLUSION REACHED IN THE DECISION THAT, AT LEAST DURING THE PERIOD THE COAST GUARD OPERATES AS PART OF THE NAVY IN TIME OF WAR AND PERSONNEL THEREOF ARE SUBJECT TO THE LAWS PRESCRIBED FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF THE NAVY, ENLISTED MEN OF THE COAST GUARD ARE ENTITLED TO CIVILIAN HOSPITALIZATION AND MEDICAL TREATMENT ON A PARITY WITH ENLISTED MEN OF THE NAVY, HAS BEEN VIEWED AS POSSIBLY INDICATING THAT APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE NAVY ARE AVAILABLE FOR THE PAYMENT OF SUCH EXPENSES. THE DECISION WAS NOT SO INTENDED. ON THE CONTRARY, THE DECISION SPECIFICALLY REFERRED TO CLAIMS ADMINISTRATIVELY APPROVED FOR PAYMENT UNDER PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE APPROPRIATIONS AND THE FEDERAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATOR WAS ADVISED THAT SUCH CLAIMS WOULD BE ALLOWED BY THIS OFFICE.

WITH RESPECT TO THE FUNDS PROPERLY CHARGEABLE FOR THE EXPENSES INCURRED IN CONNECTION WITH THE FURNISHING OF HOSPITALIZATION AND MEDICAL AND DENTAL TREATMENT TO PERSONNEL OF THE COAST GUARD, IT MAY BE STATED, GENERALLY, THAT THE ANNUAL APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE COAST GUARD CONTAIN NO PROVISION FOR THE FURNISHING OF SUCH SERVICES TO PERSONNEL OF THAT SERVICE, NOR IS THERE A MEDICAL CORPS, AS SUCH, ESTABLISHED WITHIN THE COAST GUARD; BUT, SINCE THE ENACTMENT OF THE ACT OF JANUARY 28, 1915, 38 STAT. 800, CREATING THE COAST GUARD BY CONSOLIDATION OF THE THEN EXISTING REVENUE-CUTTER SERVICE AND THE LIFE-SAVING SERVICE, THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR FURNISHING MEDICAL CARE AND TREATMENT TO COAST GUARD PERSONNEL HAS BEEN PLACED WITH THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE. SEE, GENERALLY, THE ACT OF APRIL 9, 1930, 46 STAT. 150; THE ACT OF JULY 30, 1937, 50 STAT. 547; AND PUBLIC LAW 410, APPROVED JULY 1, 1944, 58 STAT. 682. SECTION 326 OF THE ACT OF JULY 1, 1944, 58 STAT. 697, 698, AN ACT TO CONSOLIDATE AND REVISE THE LAWS RELATING TO THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE, SPECIFICALLY PROVIDES:

SEC. 326. (A) SUBJECT TO REGULATIONS OF THE PRESIDENT--- (1) COMMISSIONED OFFICERS, CHIEF WARRANT OFFICERS, WARRANT OFFICERS, CADETS, AND ENLISTED PERSONNEL OF THE REGULAR COAST GUARD, INCLUDING THOSE ON SHORE DUTY AND THOSE ON DETACHED DUTY, WHETHER ON ACTIVE DUTY OR RETIRED; AND REGULAR AND TEMPORARY MEMBERS OF THE UNITED STATES COAST GUARD RESERVE WHEN ON ACTIVE DUTY OR WHEN RETIRED FOR DISABILITY;

(2) COMMISSIONED OFFICERS, SHIPS' OFFICERS, AND MEMBERS OF THE CREWS OF VESSELS OF THE UNITED STATES COAST AND GEODETIC SURVEY, INCLUDING THOSE ON SHORE DUTY AND THOSE ON DETACHED DUTY, WHETHER ON ACTIVE DUTY OR RETIRED; AND

(3) COMMISSIONED OFFICERS OF THE REGULAR CORPS OF THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE, WHETHER ON ACTIVE DUTY OR RETIRED, AND COMMISSIONED OFFICERS OF THE RESERVE CORPS WHEN ON ACTIVE DUTY OR WHEN RETIRED FOR DISABILITY; SHALL BE ENTITLED TO MEDICAL, SURGICAL, AND DENTAL TREATMENT AND HOSPITALIZATION BY THE SERVICE. THE SURGEON GENERAL MAY DETAIL COMMISSIONED OFFICERS FOR DUTY ABOARD VESSELS OF THE COAST GUARD OR THE COAST AND GEODETIC SURVEY.

(C) THE SERVICE SHALL PROVIDE ALL SERVICES REFERRED TO IN SUBSECTION (A) REQUIRED BY THE COAST GUARD AND SHALL PERFORM ALL DUTIES PRESCRIBED BY STATUTE IN CONNECTION WITH THE EXAMINATIONS TO DETERMINE PHYSICAL OR MENTAL CONDITION FOR PURPOSES OF APPOINTMENT, ENLISTMENT, AND REENLISTMENT, PROMOTION AND RETIREMENT, AND OFFICERS OF THE SERVICE ASSIGNED TO DUTY ON COAST GUARD VESSELS MAY EXTEND AID TO THE CREWS OF AMERICAN VESSELS ENGAGED IN DEEP-SEA FISHING.

TITLE II OF THE LABOR-FEDERAL SECURITY APPROPRIATION ACT, 1946, PUBLIC LAW 124, APPROVED JULY 3, 1945, 59 STAT. 368, 369, UNDER THE HEADING "1PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE," PROVIDES, IN PERTINENT PART, AS FOLLOWS:

FOR NECESSARY EXPENSES IN CARRYING OUT THE FUNCTIONS OF THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE ACT OF JULY 1, 1944 ( PUBLIC LAW 410) (HEREINAFTER REFERRED TO AS THE ACT) * * * AS FOLLOWS:

HOSPITALS AND MEDICAL CARE: FOR CARRYING OUT THE PURPOSES OF * * * SECTIONS * * * 326 * * * OF THE ACT * * * $15,501,300.

IN VIEW OF THE QUOTED STATUTORY PROVISIONS, IT IS CLEAR THAT THE FURNISHING OF "MEDICAL, SURGICAL, AND DENTAL TREATMENT AND HOSPITALIZATION" TO PERSONNEL OF THE COAST GUARD IS A DUTY IMPOSED BY LAW ON THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE AND THAT FUNDS HAVE BEEN APPROPRIATED SPECIFICALLY TO THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE FOR SUCH PURPOSES. THE AUTHORITY TO PROVIDE SUCH SERVICES HAS BEEN REGARDED AS INCLUDING AUTHORITY FOR THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE TO UTILIZE CIVILIAN MEDICAL AND HOSPITAL FACILITIES FOR PERSONS ENTITLED TO SUCH SERVICES WHEN GOVERNMENT FACILITIES ARE NOT AVAILABLE. CONSEQUENTLY, WHILE THE FACT THAT THE COAST GUARD OPERATES AS A PART OF NAVY IN TIME OF WAR AND ITS PERSONNEL ARE SUBJECT TO THE LAWS FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF THE NAVY IS IMPORTANT TO A DETERMINATION OF THE BASIC RIGHTS OF COAST GUARD PERSONNEL TO HOSPITALIZATION, MEDICAL TREATMENT, ETC., WHILE SERVING WITH THE NAVY, THAT FACT PROPERLY MAY NOT BE VIEWED AS AUTHORIZING THE USE OF NAVY APPROPRIATIONS TO PAY THE EXPENSES OF PROVIDING SUCH SERVICES FOR COAST GUARD PERSONNEL OR AS AFFECTING THE AVAILABILITY OF PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE APPROPRIATIONS SPECIFICALLY PROVIDED FOR THE PURPOSE OF FURNISHING SUCH SERVICES. IT FOLLOWS THAT SINCE OTHERWISE PROPER EXPENSES OF CIVILIAN HOSPITALIZATION, MEDICAL TREATMENT, ETC., FURNISHED ENLISTED PERSONNEL OF THE COAST GUARD ARE EXPRESSLY PROVIDED FOR UNDER THE SAID PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE APPROPRIATION, SUCH EXPENSES ARE NOT CHARGEABLE TO NAVY APPROPRIATIONS.

ACCORDINGLY, QUESTION (1) IS ANSWERED IN THE NEGATIVE, MAKING UNNECESSARY ANY ANSWER TO QUESTION (2).

THE CORRESPONDENCE FORWARDED WITH YOUR LETTER IS RETURNED HEREWITH AS REQUESTED.