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office suggested the use of loose-leaf books in lieu of bound books as directories of the routes of city carriers and as special-delivery receipt books, which suggestion was then adopted by the Post Office Department. You request decision as to whether the carrier may now be paid a reward therefor, for which he has applied under the provi. sions of the act of June 19, 1922, 42 Ştat., 655, which reads as follows:
The Postmaster General is hereby authorized to pay a cash reward for any invention, suggestion; or series of suggestions for an improvement or economy in device, design, or process applicable to the Postal Service submitted by one or more employees of the Post Office Department or the Postal Service which shall be adopted for use and will clearly effect a material economy or increase efficiency, and for that purpose the sum of $5,000 is hereby appropriated: Provided, That the sums so paid to employees in accordance with this Act shall be in addition to their usual compensation : Provided further, That the total amount paid under the provisions of this Act shall not exceed $1,000 in any month or for any one invention or suggestion : Provided further, That no em. ployee shall be paid a reward under this Act until he has properly executed an agreement to the effect that the use by the United States of the invention, suggestion, or series of suggestions made by him shall not form the basis of a further claim of any nature upon the United States by him, his heirs, or assigns: Provided further, That this appropriation shall be available for no other purpose.
Generally when a statute is designed to operate retrospectively, as well as prospectively, the intention so to do has been expressed in apt words. Unless the intention is so expressed, or unless it appears by necessary implication from the nature and words of the statute so clearly as to leave no room for a reasonable doubt, the statute will not be construed to operate retrospectively. Wrightman v. Boone County, 88 Fed., 435; Jasper v. United States, 43 Ct. Cls., 368.
The above-quoted statute indicates no intention to operate retrospectively so as to entitle an employee of the Post Office Department or an employee of the Postal Service to a reward for any invention, suggestion or series of suggestions for an improvement or economy in device, design, or process applicable to the Postal Service which had been theretofore submitted and accepted. On the contrary, the language of the statute is that the reward shall be paid for any invention or suggestion " which shall be adopted for use and will clearly effect a material economy or increase efficiency.” Such language may not be construed to cover any invention or suggestion submitted and adopted prior to the date of the statute. See 22 Comp. Dec., 209.
Answering your question specifically: I have to advise that the act of June 19, 1922, cited, does not authorize the payment to an employee of the Post Office Department or of the Postal Service for an invention or suggestion effecting a material economy or an increased efficiency which had been submitted and adopted prior to June 19, 1922.
REIMBURSEMENT FOR MEDICAL AND HOSPITAL EXPENSES IN.
CURRED BY OFFICER OF NAVAL RESERVE FORCE ON LEAVE.
An officer of the Naval Reserve Force on leave granted by the Bureau of
Navigation who became ill while returning to his station and for whom, at a point en route, private medical and hospital treatment was procured at his request, with the sanction of a recruiting medical officer of the Navy stationed at said point, was not restored to military control, and may not be reimbursed for the expenses of medical and hospital treatment in
curred. Comptroller General McCarl to the Secretary of the Navy, October 10, 1922:
There has been received your letter dated September 15, 1922, with inclosures, requesting decision whether you may cause payment in the sum of $4,484.38 to be made to Frank Simpson, jr., lieutenant commander, United States Naval Reserve Force, as reimbursement of civilian medical and hospital treatment secured by him during the period from June 18 to September 19, 1920, under facts appearing as follows:
The officer was serving at the Navy air station, San Diego, Calif., on May 11, 1920, when he was granted 10 days' leave of absence, with 10 days' travel time, for the purpose of permitting him to attend to "important personal business" in New York, N. Y., and with the understanding that if his affairs would permit he was to report before the expiration of his leave to the department for assignment to duty in the preparation of a history of naval aviation, which period of leave was subsequently extended to June 21, 1920. While the officer was en route back to his station at San Diego and when nearing San Francisco on June 18, 1920, he became violently ill, necessitating immediate medical and hospital treatment. At his request a civilian physician in San Francisco, who had theretofore treated him, met his train and removed him to a civilian hospital. Commander Ohnesorg, Medical Corps, United States Navy, on duty at the Navy recruiting station at San Francisco, was informed of Lieutenant Commander Simpson's condition and appears to have approved of the arrangements perfected for his care, stating that the sudden illness would not permit of the admittance to the naval hospital at Mare Island and that after the operation it was deemed inadvisable to transfer the patient.
Under the terms of the act of July 1, 1918, 40 Stat., 712, members of the Naval Reserve Force when employed on active service, ashore or afloat, are entitled to the same pay and allowances as received by the officers and enlisted men of the regular Navy, but the reimbursement of civilian medical and hospital treatment of an officer of the Navy is prohibited by section 1586, Revised Statutes, unless
they were incurred when he was on duty, and the medicines could not have been obtained from Daval supplies, or the attendance of a naval medical officer could not have been had.
Officers of the Navy are entitled by law to necessary medical care and treatment by the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery of the Navy, and, as conditions precedent to reimbursement for expenditures made for such treatment from civilian sources, it must be shown that the officers were in a duty status and that the medical and hospital facilities of the Navy were unavailable. See 17 Comp. Dec., 472, 27 id., 514, 726, 757, 1 Comp. Gen., 440; 10 MS. Comp. Gen., 2037, June 27, 1922; 1 id., 369, August 11, 1921,
Even had medical and hospital facilities of the Navy not been available for Lieutenant Commander Simpson's treatment, and his condition remained such throughout the whole of the period from June 18 to September 19, 1920, that he could not be removed to the nearest Navy hospital, distant a few miles, he was not on duty, but on leave, when he was admitted to the civilian hospital.
The notification of the senior medical officer of the recruiting station at San Francisco of the officer's condition did not place him on a duty status, nor did his approval of the measures taken for the treatment make the United States chargeable with the expense thereof. See 1 Comp. Gen., 137, Preston v. United States, 37 Ct. Cls., 39.
In rendering an opinion upon this point to such effect in this case, the Judge Advocate General of the Navy, November 30, 1921, said:
The question presented in reference is not one of line of duty, but whether the claimant was on duty within the meaning of section 1586, Revised Statutes, above quoted, at the time the expenses presented were incurred. This office is of the opinion that the claimant was not on duty within the meaning of the provisions of said section, and for that reason the claims presented by this officer can not be allowed. This officer having been given leave from duty by the Bureau of Navigation, he could not again be placed on duty merely by the order of a naval officer, but said order must come through regular channels from the Bureau of Navigation. In view of this fact it is apparent that the authorization of Commander Ohnesorg was not sufficient to place this man on duty as required by section 1586, Revised Statutes, for the purpose of authorizing the payment of expenses incurred by said officer for medical and hospital treatment, and you are advised accordingly.
The expiration of his leave on June 21 did not eo instanti terminate his nonduty status which continued until he actually reported at his station on September 19, 1920; 1 Comp. Gen., 440.
See also report of Bureau of Navigation of May 31, 1921, in this matter, to the effect that the reporting of claimant while on leave to the Navy Department did not place him in a duty status.
Answering your question specifically, I have to advise that there is no legal liability on the United States for the payment of the cost of the civilian medical and hospital treatment secured by Lieutenant Commander Simpson during the period from June 18 to September 19, 1920, while he was not in a duty status.
NAVAL OFFICER, COUNTING ON AND AFTER JULY 1, 1922, FOR
LONGEVITY PAY, SERVICE AS CONTRACT SURGEON, REVENUE CUTTER SERVICE.
Service on a vessel of the Revenge Cutter Service, under an appointment by
the Secretary of the Treasury as a surgeon of the Revenue Cutter Service, was service as a contract surgeon serving full time within the meaning of the act of June 10, 1922, 42 Stat., 626, and may be counted by an officer of
the Navy on and after July 1, 1922, for longevity pay purposes. Comptroller General McCarl to the Secretary of the Navy, October 11, 1922:
I have, by your direction, the letter of the Judge Advocate General of the Navy, dated September 19, 1922, requesting decision whether Lieut. Commander Howson W. Cole (M. C.), United States Navy, is entitled to count service rendered by him as a surgeon in the United States Revenue Cutter Service from July 6, 1903, to June 9, 1904, for purposes of longevity increase of pay under the act of June 10, 1922, 42 Stat., 625.
It appears that under date of July 1, 1903, a letter was addressed to Doctor Cole, at Baltimore, Md., by an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, advising him in connection with his application for employment as a surgeon in the United States Revenue Cutter Service that one was required temporarily on the U. S. S. Rush, then at Seattle, Wash., which vessel was to make a cruise in Alaskan waters; that if he desired the position and would present himself to the commanding officer of that vessel authority would be given the commanding officer to employ him at a compensation of $125 per month and rations. He was further advised that "it is to be understood that you pay your expenses to the west coast,"
On July 6, 1903, a letter was addressed to the commanding officer of the U.S. S. Rush:
You are authorized, should Dr. H. W. Cole, jr., present himself to you at Seattle before the Rush shall sail, to employ him for temporary duty on the vessel as surgeon, at a compensation of one hundred and twenty-five dollars ($125) per month and a ration.
On May 9, 1904, orders were addressed to Surg. H. W. Cole, jr., R. S. C., as follows:
1. You are detached from the Rush and directed to immediately proceed to your home at Baltimore, Maryland, and report your arrival to the de partment.
2. You will be allowed your actual necessary traveling expenses under this order.
These orders, certified to have been received on May 23, 1904, were followed by a letter dated June 10, 1904, addressed to Doctor Cole in Baltimore:
1. Your services as surgeon in the U. 8. Revenue-Cutter Service being no longer required, you are hereby honorable discharged to date from the 9th instant. You will be entitled to compensation up to and including that date.
T'he records of the U. S. Coast Guard headquarters show that Doctor Cole reported on the U. S. S. Rush July 13, 1903, and fol. lowing detachment arrived in Baltimore June 9, 1904. It is learned from said headquarters that surgeons so appointed wore the uniform of an officer and in the matter of quarters assigned them, privileges accorded, and the courtesies and respect that men were required to accord them they occupied the same status as commissioned officers.
The employment of Doctor Cole was upon authority of an appropriation for pay of “surgeons employed” and “ for rations for the same," first found in the act of March 3, 1903, 32 Stat., 1096, and continued until 1906, when the appropriation was made for“two contract surgeons," which latter authorization was discontinued in 1912. Section 1 of the act of June 10, 1922, 42 Stat., 626, provides:
Every officer paid under the provisions of this section shall receive an increase of 5 per centum of the base pay of his period for each three years of service up to thirty years;
For officers in the service on June 30, 1922, there shall be included in the computation all service which is now counted in computing longevity pay, and service as a contract surgeon serving full time;
Section 2751 of the Revised Statutes provides that commissioned officers of the Revenue Cutter Service should be appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. No provision of law was made, however, prior to the act of March 3, 1905, 33 Stat., 1036, for the appointment of commissioned surgeons.
The term “contract surgeons" is used broadly in the provision of the act of June 10, 1922, cited. We find “contract surgeons" specifically referred to in the appropriations for the Revenue Cutter Service for the years 1906 to 1912, and prior thereto appropriations were made for "surgeons employed.” Such surgeons, not being commissioned officers, held office under appointment at the will of the Treasury Department and the appointment could be terminated at the will of the appointee. Service such as rendered by Doctor Cole was in the broadest sense that of a contract surgeon serving full time, credit for which is authorized for longevity purposes by the act of June 10, 1922.
The Coast Guard headquarters report that from available information it appears that surgeons employed on vessels of the Revenue Cutter Service were not required to take oath of office. From the terms of Doctor Cole's employment it appears his entrance on duty began upon the date he reported on the U. S. S. Rush, or on July 13, 1903. The period of this service to be counted for longevity by an officer of the Navy is from that date to and including June 9, 1904.
Your question is answered accordingly.