Eisenhower Army Medical Center
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Center Judge Advocate Frequently Asked Legal Questions

Please note that the answers to the following questions are informational only and do not constitute legal advice. Please consult an attorney for answers to your specific legal questions. BOTTOM LINE: IF YOU HAVE A QUESTION, ASK!

OFFICE LOGISTICS

MEDICAL LAW

ETHICS


OFFICE LOGISTICS

  • DO YOU OFFER ANY SERVICES ON A WALK-IN BASIS? Yes. We offer notary services and powers of attorney on a walk-in basis. Please call in advance, however, if you know you'll be visiting our office at a certain time.
  • WHAT ABOUT GENERAL LEGAL ASSISTANCE AND TRIAL DEFENSE SERVICES? We work closely with the Fort Gordon Legal Assistance and Trial Defense Service offices to ensure all of our clients receive professional attention. Two Legal Assistance attorneys make scheduled, weekly, visits to our office to see clients. Please call us for details.
  • DO YOU TEACH ANY CLASSES WITHIN THE HOSPITAL? Yes. We teach a portion of each month's new-comer's and birth-month training. We are also available to teach special classes to groups within the hospital. Please contact us for details.

MEDICAL LAW

  • WHAT IS A LIVING WILL? A Living Will, sometimes called an Advanced Medical Directive, is a document which a person uses to express his wishes regarding accepting or rejecting medical treatment in the event the person subsequently becomes unable to make those decisions himself. Your loved ones should always know if you have a Living Will. Our office, in conjunction with the Legal Assistance Office, can help you prepare a Living Will. Click here to see the Living Will form.
  • WHAT IS A MEDICAL POWER OF ATTORNEY? A Medical Power of Attorney is a document which a person uses to permit someone else to make decisions regarding accepting or rejecting medical treatment in the event the person subsequently becomes unable to make those decisions himself. Your loved ones should always know if you have a Medical Power of Attorney. Our office can help you prepare a Medical Power of Attorney. Click here to see the Power of Attorney form.
  • WHAT ARE ANATOMICAL GIFTS? An anatomical gift is the donation of an organ or tissue after the death of an individual. An individual may express his wishes regarding this through an organ donor card. Our office can provide advice on this matter. When an appropriate situation arises for a possible anatomical gift, health care providers should contact their supervisors or our office.
  • WHAT IS THE MEDICAL AFFIRMATIVE CLAIMS PROGRAM? Under the Medical Care Recovery Act, the government is able to recover the cost of medical care that we provide on account of injury or disease caused by the tort of a third party. If a third party's tort causes the government to spend money on medical care, our office seeks to recover the cost of that care from the tort-feasor or his insurance company. Most recovery comes from auto insurance, homeowner's insurance, and worker's comp insurance. This program also seeks recovery from any policies held by the patient himself. It does not, however, seek recovery from health insurance policies. The government seeks that recovery under the Third Party Collection Program.
  • WHAT IS THE THIRD PARTY COLLECTION PROGRAM? Under the Medical Care Recovery Act, the government is able to recover the cost of medical care that we provide to patients with health insurance. In these situations, the insurance company is the primary payer and the government is the secondary payer. The Third Party Collection Program seeks recovery of the government's medical treatment costs from the patient's health insurance policy. This program does not seek recovery from other insurance policies, or from third party tort-feasors. Our office's Medical Affirmative Claims program does that.
  • ARE THERE RULES REGARDING DO NOT RESUCITATE ORDERS? Yes, there are very specific rules regarding DNR's. Health care providers should consult their supervisors and our office when these issues arise. Patients and their families may also consult with our office for more information regarding this issue.

ETHICS

  • DOES THE HOSPITAL HAVE AN ETHICS ADVISOR? Yes. The Center Judge Advocate is the hospital's Ethics Counselor. Please contact him/her with your ethics questions.
  • CAN GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES ACCEPT GIFTS TO THEMSELVES FROM NON-GOVERNMENT SOURCES? Generally no, but there are some limited exceptions. People or companies outside the government often want to give gifts to government employees in the hope of receiving a return favor from that government employee. This could lead to government employees making decisions, not based on what's best for the government, but based on favors owed to outside sources. For this reason, government employees may not solicit any gifts from outside sources and may not receive any outside compensation for performing their government duties. Government employees may not accept gifts from anyone who does business with the government and may not accept gifts from an outside source because of the government employee's official position. HOWEVER, there are some exceptions: modest items of food and refreshments such as soft drinks; items of little intrinsic value such as greeting cards, pens, and plaques; benefits available to the public as a whole; and unsolicited gifts of $20 or less as long as they do not exceed $50 from the same source in a year. Remember, even if an item fits an exception, if it is given with the intention of influencing you in the performance of your official duties, you may not accept it.
  • CAN GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES ACCEPT GIFTS TO THE ARMY FROM NON-GOVERNMENT SOURCES? Yes, but under limited circumstances. Non-government sources frequently want to give gifts to our medical center or to the Army in general. Our office must approve these offers on a case by case basis, in conjunction with our Clinical Investigations department. Please contact our office for more details.
  • CAN GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES ACCEPT GIFTS OF FREE TRAVEL FROM NON-GOVERNMENT SOURCES? Yes. Non-government sources often offer free travel to government employees, especially in a medical setting, so that the government employee can teach at a seminar, attend a conference, or engage in special training which will benefit the government. The bottom line is that the government must benefit from the free travel, and the non-government source must not expect any preferential treatment from the government in return. The government employee must obtain advance approval for the travel from our office and from Clinical Investigations.
  • CAN GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES ACCEPT FREQUENT FLYER POINTS EARNED ON OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT TRAVEL? Yes. However, frequent flyer points earned on official travel belong to the government. Therefore, government employees must maintain a separate frequent flyer account for their government travel and deposit government miles only in their government account.
  • CAN GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES ACCEPT TRAVEL UPGRADES WHILE ON OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT TRAVEL? Yes, as long as there is no additional cost to the government and the upgrade is not being offered because of the traveler's official position or rank. Military personnel offered free upgrades to first class may never fly first class when in uniform.
  • HOW MUCH CAN GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES PARTICIPATE IN PRIVATE ORGANIZATIONS? Government employees may not be forced or coerced to join a private organization or engage in private organizational activities. Government employees may not conduct the business of a private organization on government time. Government employees can participate in private organizations in their personal capacities as long as such participation does not interfere with their government work, and as long as there is no actual or apparent official government endorsement of the private organization. Those government employees who participate in private organizations by virtue of their government position (command liaisons) may not manage any part of that organization.
  • WHAT ARE THE RULES FOR GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES SEEKING POST-GOVERNMENT EMPLOYMENT? Government employees may seek post-government employment while still working for the government. However, if they look for jobs with companies or individuals that do business with the government, they must be extra careful. They must never engage in, or appear to engage in, activities that constitute a conflict of interest. For example, they must not manage or make any decisions regarding any government projects that their prospective employer is involved in. Any company that has offered an employee a job, and the employee has not affirmatively rejected the offer, is a prospective employer. If an employee is offered a job by a government contractor that the employee works with in his official capacity, the employee must recuse himself from that contract or immediately decline the offer, and the employee must report the offer to his supervisor and the ethics counselor. After leaving the government, federal law forbids government workers from ever trying to influence a federal employee regarding a matter which they substantially participated in themselves while with the government. After leaving the government, federal law also forbids them for two years from trying to influence a federal employee regarding a matter which they supervised during their last year with the government. Post-government employment issues can be very complicated and are fact-specific. Contact the ethics counselor for a written opinion on any post-government employment issues.
  • CAN GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES OWN STOCK IN COMPANIES THAT DO BUSINESS WITH THE GOVERNMENT? Yes, as long as this does not create a conflict of interest. Employees generally have a conflict of interest when they participate in any matter in which they, their spouse, a relative or other designated persons hold a financial interest, with some minor exceptions. To avoid a conflict of interest, contact the ethics counselor before taking official action on a matter you believe might involve a conflict of interest.
  • CAN GOVERNMENT HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS "MOONLIGHT" IN THEIR OFF DUTY TIME? Yes, but only under very limited circumstances. Employees must coordinate these requests with their supervisors and with the command group. There are very strict rules for when health care providers can moonlight. They require written permission from the commander and a written statement from the off duty employer. In addition, government health care providers are not immune from any liability for any work they do outside of their government job.
  • WHICH GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES MUST FILE OGE 450 FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE FORMS? Employees who are in certain key positions must file this confidential financial disclosure form. Additionally, government employees must file this financial disclosure form if their duties require them to participate personally and substantially in activities or decisions which will have a direct and substantial economic effect on non-federal entities. Please contact our office if you have a question regarding whether your position requires you to file this form.
  • WHAT IF A GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE RECIEVES A SUBPOENA? A government employee who receives a subpoena should immediately contact our office. If the subpoena involves a private matter, our office will help you respond to it or find you a Legal Assistance attorney who can help you respond to it. If the subpoena is for a government matter , we will also discuss with you how to respond to it. When the subpoena is for a government matter, there are limits on what testimony the government employee can provide. This is especially true for health care providers. Federal law also protects government employees by mandating that only certain people can issue subpoenas to them, and that those people must provide certain advance notice of subpoenaed testimony.