Colonel Dempsey, B-277033

CourtComptroller General of the United States
PartiesDear Colonel Dempsey:
Docket NumberB-277033
Decision Date27 June 1997

Dear Colonel Dempsey:

No. B-277033

Comptroller General of the United States

June 27, 1997


Lieutenant Colonel Gregory C. Dempsey Chief, Resource Management Division Headquarters, U.S. Army Medical Department Activity Fort Knox, Kentucky 40121-5520

This is in reply to your May 6, 1997, memorandum (MCXM-RMB-B (37)) to the Comptroller General of the United States requesting a ruling whether appropriated funds may be used to pay for military physicians' state licenses and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) certifications.[1]

You state that due to a decrease in manpower and funding, the Medical Department Activity Commander at Fort Knox wishes to utilize an external partnership with a local community hospital. You explain that the Commander considers entering into such a partnership essential to maintain the military physicians' surgical skills, and it would permit patient care and follow-up to eligible beneficiary groups that would otherwise be referred to a private physician.

You state that to enter into this partnership would require the military physicians to obtain Kentucky state licensure and DEA certification at a cost of $250 and $210, respectively. The Commander would like to use appropriated funds to pay these costs since it appears to be in the best interest of the Fort Knox Medical Activity and the eligible beneficiaries of the medical care. You also state that the Commander plans to institute necessary internal controls to insure that the physicians whose fees are paid from appropriated funds for the purpose of the partnership will not be permitted to use the licensure and certification for personal gain.

We have long held that it is the duty of an officer or employee of the government to qualify himself for the performance of his official duties, and therefore, generally, individuals must bear the cost of obtaining professional licenses and certifications as a personal expense. 22 Comp. Gen. 460 (1922); 46 Comp.Gen. 695 (1967); 61 Comp.Gen. 357 (1982); B-210522, Dec. 15, 1983; and B-260771, Oct. 11, 1995. We did make an exception to this rule and allow reimbursement to military members for the cost of a license or certification necessary to perform environmentally sensitive tasks, such as pesticide application or asbestos removal, where Federal law expressly requires the agency to comply with applicable state and local environmental requirements. 73 Comp.Gen. 171 (1994). However, that decision specifically...

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