B-95481, JUNE 20, 1950, 29 COMP. GEN. 511

B-95481: Jun 20, 1950

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EVEN THOUGH THE COMMITMENT DECREE OF THE COURT STATES THAT THE PATIENT IS NOT A RESIDENT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 1950: REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER OF THE ACTING ADMINISTRATOR DATED MAY 15. WHETHER THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA IS AUTHORIZED TO PAY THE SAME UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA APPROPRIATION ACT. IT APPEARS FROM YOUR LETTER THAT THE PATIENT INVOLVED WAS COMMITTED TO SAID HOSPITAL BY A DECREE OF THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. THE DECREE STATED THAT THE PATIENT IS NOT A RESIDENT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. HE MAY BE COMMITTED BY THE COURT TO SAINT ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL AS A DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA PATIENT UNTIL SUCH TIME AS HIS RESIDENCE SHALL HAVE BEEN ASCERTAINED.

B-95481, JUNE 20, 1950, 29 COMP. GEN. 511

APPROPRIATIONS - AVAILABILITY - CARE OF INSANE PERSONS LIVING IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA THE EXPENSES INCURRED BY SAINT ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL FOR THE CARE OF A PATIENT WHO HAD LIVED IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA FOR MORE THAN ONE YEAR IMMEDIATELY PRIOR TO COMMITMENT MAY BE REIMBURSED FROM THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA APPROPRIATION ACT, 1949, UNDER THE PROVISION RELATING TO THE SUPPORT OF INDIGENT INSANE, EVEN THOUGH THE COMMITMENT DECREE OF THE COURT STATES THAT THE PATIENT IS NOT A RESIDENT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE ADMINISTRATOR, FEDERAL SECURITY AGENCY, JUNE 20, 1950:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER OF THE ACTING ADMINISTRATOR DATED MAY 15, 1950, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO THE VALIDITY OF A CLAIM OF SAINT ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL AGAINST THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA FOR THE COST OF THE CARE OF A PATIENT AT SAID HOSPITAL UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES STATED IN THE LETTER, AND WHETHER THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA IS AUTHORIZED TO PAY THE SAME UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA APPROPRIATION ACT, 1949, RELATING TO THE SUPPORT OF INDIGENT INSANE.

IT APPEARS FROM YOUR LETTER THAT THE PATIENT INVOLVED WAS COMMITTED TO SAID HOSPITAL BY A DECREE OF THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, DATED SEPTEMBER 1, 1948, IN CASE MENTAL HEALTH NO. 1297-48. THE DECREE STATED THAT THE PATIENT IS NOT A RESIDENT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. IN THIS CONNECTION AND AS POINTED OUT IN THE LETTER, SECTION 317 OF TITLE 21 OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA CODE PROVIDES THAT, IF AN INSANE PERSON BE FOUND NOT TO BE A RESIDENT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, HE MAY BE COMMITTED BY THE COURT TO SAINT ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL AS A DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA PATIENT UNTIL SUCH TIME AS HIS RESIDENCE SHALL HAVE BEEN ASCERTAINED, AND THAT UPON THE ASCERTAINMENT OF HIS RESIDENCE IN SOME OTHER JURISDICTION, HE SHALL BE TRANSFERRED THERE. THE COURT DECREE FURTHER PROVIDED THAT THE EXPENSE OF THE MAINTENANCE AND TREATMENT OF THE PATIENT IN SAINT ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL SHOULD BE BORNE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA APPROPRIATION ACT, 1949. IT IS STATED IN THE LETTER OF MAY 15, 1950, THAT THE PATIENT HAD LIVED IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA FOR APPROXIMATELY 20 YEARS IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING THE FILING OF THE COMMITMENT PETITION.

SECTION 401 OF TITLE 32 OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA CODE PROVIDES THAT THE EXPENSE OF THE INDIGENT PERSONS WHO MAY BE ADMITTED TO SAINT ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL SHALL BE PAID FROM THE REVENUES OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, AND SECTION 402 PROVIDES THAT SUCH EXPENSE SHALL BE CHARGED AGAINST THE APPROPRIATIONS TO BE PAID TOWARD THE EXPENSES OF THE DISTRICT BY THE GENERAL GOVERNMENT. THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA APPROPRIATION ACT, 1949, 62 STAT. 537, 549, CONTAINS AN APPROPRIATION FOR SUPPORT OF INDIGENT INSANE OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA IN SAINT ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL, AS PROVIDED BY LAW, WITH A PROVISO WHICH READS AS FOLLOWS:

THAT HEREAFTER THE FUNDS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA SHALL NOT BE AVAILABLE FOR THE CARE OF ANY PERSON ADMITTED HEREAFTER TO SAINT ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL WHO HAS NOT LIVED IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA FOR MORE THAN ONE YEAR IMMEDIATELY PRIOR TO APPLICATION FOR VOLUNTARY ADMISSION OR THE FILING OF THE PETITION PROVIDED FOR IN THE ACT APPROVED JUNE 8, 1938, AS AMENDED.

IT APPEARS THAT, WHILE THE PATIENT HAD LIVED IN THE DISTRICT FOR APPROXIMATELY TWENTY YEARS IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING THE FILING OF THE PETITION, THE DISTRICT HAS, IN VIEW OF THE QUOTED PROVISION OF THE 1949 APPROPRIATION ACT, APPARENTLY CONSTRUED THE FINDING OF NONRESIDENCE BY COURT AS BARRING PAYMENT UNDER THE APPROPRIATION INVOLVED. HOWEVER, THE ACTING ADMINISTRATOR EXPRESSES THE VIEW THAT THE PATIENT'S LEGAL RESIDENCE IS NOT MATERIAL TO THE QUESTION OF PAYMENT AND THAT THE PROVISO IS NOT APPLICABLE BECAUSE THE PATIENT ACTUALLY LIVED IN THE DISTRICT FOR MORE THAN ONE YEAR IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING THE FILING OF THE PETITION. SUPPORT OF THAT VIEW, ATTENTION IS DIRECTED TO THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OF THE PROVISO AND IT IS SUGGESTED THAT, IN CONSIDERATION OF THE PROVISIONS OF TITLE 21, SECTION 317, OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA CODE, SUPRA, THE FINDING OF NON-RESIDENCE HAD THE EFFECT OF MERELY DETERMINING THE TEMPORARY NATURE OF THE COMMITMENT OF THE PATIENT PENDING HER TRANSFER TO THE STATE OF HER RESIDENCE.

THE PROVISO FIRST APPEARED IN THE 1949 APPROPRIATION ACT. AS IT ORIGINALLY APPEARED IN H.R. 6430, 80TH CONGRESS--- WHICH BECAME PUBLIC LAW 724, THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA APPROPRIATION ACT, 1949--- IT PROVIDED THAT FUNDS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA SHOULD NOT BE AVAILABLE FOR THE CARE AT SAINT ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL OF ANY PERSON "WHO HAS BEEN A RESIDENT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA FOR LESS THAN ONE YEAR.' THE BILL WAS PASSED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ON MAY 5, 1948, WITH THE PROVISO AS ORIGINALLY DRAWN. 94 CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, PAGE 5333. IN THE HEARINGS BEFORE THE SUBCOMMITTEE OF THE SENATE COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS, IT WAS REQUESTED BY REPRESENTATIVES OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA THAT THE PROVISO BE CHANGED TO PROVIDE THAT FUNDS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA SHOULD NOT BE USED FOR THE CARE OF ANY PERSON ADMITTED TO SAID HOSPITAL WHO HAD NOT MAINTAINED "HIS PRINCIPAL PLACE OF ABODE" IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA FOR MORE THAN ONE YEAR IMMEDIATELY PRIOR TO APPLICATION FOR VOLUNTARY ADMISSION OR THE FILING OF THE PETITION PROVIDED FOR IN THE ACT OF JUNE 3, 1938, AS AMENDED. HOWEVER, THAT WAS NOT DONE. INSTEAD, ON THE RECOMMENDATION OF THE SENATE COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS, THE PROVISO AS ORIGINALLY WRITTEN WAS DELETED AND THERE WAS INSERTED IN LIEU THEREOF THE PROVISO AS IT APPEARS IN THE ACT. THE BILL CONTAINING SUCH PROVISO WAS PASSED BY THE SENATE ON JUNE 3, 1948. 94 CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, PAGES 7019-20. THE CONFERENCE FAILED TO AGREE ON THE ITEM BUT THE HOUSE MANAGERS REPORTED THEY WOULD RECEDE AND CONCUR IN AN AMENDMENT, AFTER WHICH THE PROVISO, AS IT APPEARS IN THE ACT, WAS AGREED TO BY THE HOUSE ON JUNE 12, 1948. CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, PAGE 8027.

IT HAS FREQUENTLY BEEN HELD THAT THE WORD "LIVE" IS SYNONYMOUS WITH "RESIDE," THOUGH IT HAS ALSO BEEN HELD OTHERWISE AND THAT A PERSON MAY "LIVE" IN ONE PLACE AND HAVE A LEGAL RESIDENCE IN ANOTHER. SEE 25 WORDS AND PHRASES, PERMANENT EDITION 410; CLARK V. INDUSTRIAL ACCIDENT COMMISSION OF CALIFORNIA, 19 P.2D 44 ( CAL. APP.); LEROUX V. SAME, 35 P.2D 624 ( CAL. APP.). HOWEVER, ANY DOUBT IN THE INSTANT MATTER WOULD APPEAR TO BE RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OF THE MEASURE ABOVE REFERRED TO, WHICH, IT IS BELIEVED, CLEARLY ESTABLISHES THE PURPOSE OF THE CONGRESS TO DRAW A DISTINCTION BETWEEN A "RESIDENT" OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND ONE WHO "LIVED IN" THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. AND IT WOULD SEEM TO FOLLOW THEREFROM THAT IT WAS NOT THE PURPOSE OF THE CONGRESS TO MAKE THE MATTER OF THE LEGAL RESIDENCE OF A PATIENT THE CONTROLLING FACTOR AND THUS RESTRICT SUCH PAYMENTS TO THE CASE OF A PERSON WHO HAD BEEN A LEGAL RESIDENT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA FOR MORE THAN A YEAR, BUT, INSTEAD TO MAKE THE APPROPRIATION AVAILABLE FOR THE CARE OF PATIENTS WHO HAD LIVED IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA FOR NOT LESS THAN THE PRESCRIBED PERIOD EVEN THOUGH THEIR LEGAL RESIDENCE MIGHT BE ELSEWHERE.

ACCORDINGLY, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT SO FAR AS CONCERNS THE INSTANT CASE, THE APPROPRIATION IS AVAILABLE FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF SAINT ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL BY THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND THAT THE CLAIM PROPERLY MAY BE PAID BY THE DISTRICT, IF OTHERWISE CORRECT.