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PSC GOing Places Transportation Technical Bulletin

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PSC hosts ‘Super Summit’ for HHS Department travel leadership, experts

The Program Support Center hosted a Travel Summit Feb. 4 for Departmental Operational Divisions, bringing together travel and systems experts for the purpose of sharing information and priorities to progress the stabilization of Concur’s travel management application.

Participants included representatives of all of the Department’s Operational Divisions’ travel program managers, principle travel system administrators, and information system subject matter experts, many of whom will serve as the Department’s Travel Leadership Coalition (TLC). 

The TLC is a working group and advisory body chartered with first identifying and prioritizing ETS2 issues for the Department, and then with advising the Travel Governance Council (TGC). The TGC is the Executive leadership group responsible for the Department’s travel strategy, oversight, deciding and performance body.

The TLC meets the second Tuesday of every month. The TGC meets the third Tuesday of every month.

HHS Travel Summit Photo Gallery:

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HHS employees can now subscribe to PSC’s ‘GOing Places’ Monthly Bulletin

HHS employees can subscribe to PSC’s monthly GOing Places Transportation Technical Bulletin by sending an email to the Editor at GOcard@hhs.gov.

PSC’s GOing Places Transportation Technical Bulletin serves as a monthly source for news, information, resources and tips for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) transportation and travel communities.


GSA proposal period for new FTR rules expires Mar. 8

The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) recently published two new FTR Proposed Rules in the Federal Register to assist agencies’ effective management of the SmartPay travel cards and increase the rebates from use by Federal employees on official travel.

  • The first Proposed Rule, Updating the Incidental Expenses Definition and the Laundry, Cleaning, and Pressing of Clothing Policy, is associated with moving ATM fees from an automatic miscellaneous expense reimbursement to become part of the Incidental Expense reimbursement which all travelers already receive. There are certain exceptions allowed, however the agency must authorize the reimbursement in advance. This Proposed Rule was published on Jan. 8 for 60 days of public comment.
  • The second Proposed Rule, Optimal Use of the Government Contractor-Issued Travel Charge Card, amends the FTR, which currently lists official travel expenses and classes of
    employees that are exempt from the mandatory use of the Government contractor-issued travel charge card. This Proposed Rule updates the list of exemptions to the mandatory use of the Government contractor-issued travel charge card, with the goal being to increase the issuance to travelers and appropriate use of travel charge cards for employees on official travel. This Proposed Rule was published on Jan. 29 for 60 days of public comment.

GSA is seeking to modify the FTR to save the government money, as Congress and the Obama administration have told agencies they need to cut travel costs. According to the Jan. 8 proposed rule, the change “will increase the government’s ability to project travel costs, improve cost control, and simplify rules of official travel.” The government currently treats as incidental expenses such costs as fees and tips for porters, hotel staff, and baggage handlers.

The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) is proposing to amend the Federal Travel Regulation (FTR) by updating the definition for incidental expenses to include ATM fees, and by clarifying the policy for laundry, cleaning, and pressing of clothing.

Government travelers would be limited in how much they could recoup in fees related to automatic teller machine transactions under GSA’s new proposed rule.

ATM fees incurred on official government travel would be treated as incidental expenses rather than more general miscellaneous expenses under a draft rule that was published in the Federal Register earlier this month. The Federal Travel Regulation (FTR) caps reimbursements for incidental expenses at $5 per day.

GSA’s proposed rule related to the FTR also would clarify the reimbursement guidance on laundry, cleaning and pressing of clothing expenses, which still would be treated as miscellaneous expenses under the change. The proposed new language simply states that, “Your agency may reimburse the expenses incurred for laundry, cleaning, and pressing of clothing as a miscellaneous travel expense for TDY [temporary duty] within CONUS [contiguous United States].”

Those interested in submitting comments to the proposed rule should do so by March 8, 2016.


Travel Card delinquencies, cancelations for non-payment require management action

Not only does the Department have a “Zero Tolerance Policy” regarding travel card delinquencies and cancelations for non-payment, but the Government Charge Card Abuse Prevention Act of 2012 mandates that federal agencies take corrective action, including adverse administrative action, to compel prompt payment of government travel credit card debt.

Travelers must pay their travel card balances in full upon receipt of the travel card bill, per the individual cardholder agreement. Delinquencies not only affect individual credit scores, but can result in the bank initiating collection action to satisfy the employees’ debt.

Here are some recent examples where customers have sought PSC advocacy to have credit card suspensions lifted or for cards to be reinstated:

  • An OpDiv program manager requested assistance with helping an employee travel on Temporary Duty because the employee didn’t have a travel card. PSC’s research into this situation revealed that the employee had a travel card that had been canceled for non-payment three months previously. The employee stated that the card cancelation resulted from not being paid for their previous travel. Further research revealed that the traveler had been paid. In addition to owing the balance, the traveler owed three months’ worth of late penalties. Late payment penalties accrue on cards canceled for indebtedness, per the cardholder agreement and the GSA Master Contract. The program manager was also advised of the obligations to address the card abuse as established in the Department’s “Zero Tolerance Policy” and the Government Charge Card Abuse Prevention Act of 2012.
  • An OpDiv program advised PSC that a number of travelers’ cards were being suspended due to travel vouchers not processing. PSC investigated this issue and found that the root causes included travelers simply not paying their cards and not filing vouchers at all. The OpDiv program was advised of the research findings, as well as the obligations outlined in the Department’s “Zero Tolerance Policy” and the Government Charge Card Abuse Prevention Act of 2012.
  • A traveler was at risk of being stranded while on travel when their card was suspended. PSC’s research into the issue revealed a bona fide system issue with the traveler’s travel authorizations, but also showed that in some cases vouchers had not been filed. Because vouchers did not exist, there was nothing to indicate that the traveler was not being paid. The program office was advised to avoid risks to travelers by actively monitoring travel authorization and vouchers using the travel management system’s reporting functionality. The program office was also advised of the individual traveler’s obligation to file vouchers within five days of the travel ending, and the obligation for the traveler to pay the charge card balance in full upon receipt of the monthly billing statement, per the individual cardholder agreement. Despite the employee making a good faith effort to pay the card debt by making payments, this did not meet the stipulations of the cardholder agreement.



CGE UPDATES & TIPS:

Concur travel management system will transition to new user interface in April 2016

The new CGE User Interface, the visible “skin” of the application, is staged in the preview environment so that it can be reviewed and tested by PSC’s technicians and select users. PSC is testing the user interface changes and coordinating with Concur to inform the company of defects discovered so the defects can be either mitigated or prioritized to be addressed in the new user interface updates before the Government-wide launch in April.

Please note that the application will be renamed “ConcurGov” when the new User Interface is launched in April 2016.

The new User Interface was developed based on customer feedback, and the intent is to improve navigation so it is more contemporary and in line with what customers experience with commercial travel sites.

The new CGE ConcurGov User Interface rollout will be released in three phases:

  • Phase 1:  Three iterative releases to each agency’s Training Preview environment to promote awareness
    • Dec.  16, 2015 – Focus: Site navigation, Travel (Completed)
    • Jan. 2016 – Focus: Administration  (Set for Jan. 21 into Training Preview)
    • Feb. 2016 – Focus: Documents
  • Phase 2:  One release – All Preview environments
    • Mar. 2016 – Full release to all Preview environments
  • Phase 3:  One release – All Stable environments
    • Apr. 2016 – Full release to all Production environments

CGE customer service notification: Jet Blue and Travelport announcement

At the February User Group meeting, Concur reported that Travelport and Jet Blue were closer to an agreement and, until then, the TMCs would book and ticket Jet Blue by using Sabre or by contacting the airline. Concur was working toward an alternate online booking solution for this problem. In the meantime, Jet Blue signed a contract with Travelport and this alternative is no longer necessary.

As of Feb. 12, content is now displayed in Apollo, Worldspan, and Sabre.


‘Funds Check Failure’ is a document error that’s easy to avoid

”Funds Check” failures are rather common and easily avoided CGE error notices.

  • When adding a Common Account Number (CAN) to a document, ensure that the CAN has funds applied to it before submitting the document.
  • If you are unsure if the CAN has funds applied to it, check with your Budget Officer for verification.
  • If the CAN does not have funds applied to it, either choose another CAN that does have funds or work with your Budget Officer/CAN owner to have funds applied to the CAN before submitting the document.
  • If you do receive a Funds Check Failure error message and the document is rejected, either change the CAN on the document to a CAN that does have funds applied to it and re-submit the document, or work with your Budget Officer/CAN owner to have funds applied to the CAN.


CGE report updates and improvements

The Program Support Center’s travel team continues to improve the quality of services provided to OpDiv customers, including in the area of travel reporting.  PSC recently added the following reports:

“Daily Submitted Report – AUTHORIZATIONS VOUCHERS Current Only HHS”

“Daily Submitted Report _AUTHORIZATIONS VOUCHERS Current Only HHS” is an automatically generated report that is emailed before 8 a.m. each morning. This report provides account managers and key FATAs a quick daily look at documents with the status of PENDING, PENDING UFMS, and REJECT.

Concur has recently made some improvements to this report which have led to a reduction in processing time from over an hour to under 30 minutes.

“Employees Traveling by LocationAll”

The “Employees Traveling by LocationAll” report permits CGE users to determine based on itineraries either (1) who is departing, arriving, or staying at a selected location on a particular day or (2) where selected individuals are departing, arriving, or staying on a particular day.

This report is not designed to show exactly where a particular person is located, but rather give indications as to where trips depart, trips arrive, and TDY are located based on prompts selected. So although this report is by no means a GPS, it does give indications as where to begin the search.



PSC TRANSPORTATION SERVICES UPDATES:

Travel card holders are required to undergo retraining every 3 years

Save the date. The 2nds annual A-OPC Workshop will be held March 28, 2016!It’s that time again for travel card training!  In accordance with HHS Travel Charge Card policy, cardholders are required to complete travel charge card training prior to receiving the charge card, and must recertify every three (3) years thereafter. A/OPCs are required to complete travel charge card training at the time of their appointment and recertify every year thereafter (HHS Travel Manual, 10.3.4.4).

The HHS Travel Charge Card Training course can be completed online through the HHS Learning Management System (LMS).

After completing the HHS Travel Charge Card Training via LMS, please provide a copy of your certificate of completion to Shannon.Brown@psc.hhs.gov with a copy to Darrell.Beutel@psc.hhs.gov.


PSC now providing Transit Subsidy Program support for U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps detailed to Department of Defense

PSC is now administering Transit Subsidy Benefits for U.S. Public Health Service officers on detail to the Department of Defense (DOD).

Typically, officers on detail receive benefits from the agency to which they are assigned. Because Commissioned Corps are not DOD employees, they have not been able to participate in the DOD mass transit program. Recognizing the importance of attracting and retaining employees, the Defense Health Agency (DHA) and PSC explored many channels to secure funding to provide this meaningful benefit to Commissioned Corps Officers. With a funding source now established; PSC designed a nationwide program to support application through distribution of the benefit.

Through the PSC Transit Subsidy Program, Pentagon-based Commissioned Corps officers are now eligible for a monthly tax free benefit not to exceed $255 to offset commute costs via mass transit or qualified vanpools. 

To learn more about the program and/or to apply, Commissioned Corps members should contact the Defense Health Agency Human Resources Office and request an application via email at: dha.ncr.dha-hr.mbx.phs-transhare@mail.mil.



TRAVEL TRAINING UPDATES:


New course: Instructor-led travel training for Federal Travel Arrangers

Did you know? FATA Training. Of the 1,500 plus FATA's currently in CGE, only 800 have completed the required training!PSC piloted the new Travel Training for Federal Travel Arrangers course on Feb. 22-23. A representative from almost every OpDiv attended the pilot course and provided valuable feedback. The final version of the course will soon be available and open for registrations. To inquire about hosting a class, please reach out to transportation@psc.gov or your Account Manager.

 


CGE Job Aids offer step-by-step instructions for most common user processes

Most of the calls to the Help Desk can be avoided by using the PSC Transportation Services CGE Job Aids. These Job Aids provide users with step-by-step instructions and accompanying screenshots to walk the user through almost any process in CGE.

Did you know? FATA Training. Of the 1,500 plus FATA's currently in CGE, only 800 have completed the required training!Topics include:

Check out the 44 CGE Job Aids that are posted online at: http://www.hhs.gov/travel/traveltraining/trainingguides/training_guides.html.



PSC continues to offer face-to-face, instructor-led training on a monthly basis to qualify employees as Federal Agency Travel Administrators

PSC strives to provide training that is highly effective and enables OpDiv/StaffDivs with the skills necessary to support all employees who are involved in travel for their organization. As FATAs play a key role in supporting travel, it is critical that they complete the necessary training to be able to properly perform their duties. However, there is currently a large discrepancy between users who have the FATA role in CGE and the FATAs who have completed the training. This discrepancy could result in system errors, delays in problem resolution, policy violations, and impact your agencies ability to carry out their mission. For a complete list of CGE users who have the FATA role, as well as a list of the FATAs who have completed this training, reach out to your PSC Account Manager.

FATA Training Schedule:

FY 2016 FATA TRAINING SCHEDULE

Date

Time

Location

Mar. 8-9, 2016

8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. each day

330 Independence Ave., SW
Cohen Bldg., Room 5194
Washington, DC  20201

Apr. 5-6, 2016

8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. each day

5600 Fishers Lane, Room  5E49
Rockville, MD 20857

May 3-4, 2016

8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. each day

330 Independence Ave., SW
Cohen Bldg., Room 5194
Washington, DC  20201

Jun. 7-8, 2016

8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. each day

5600 Fishers Lane, Room  5E49
Rockville, MD 20857

Jul. 5-6, 2016

8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. each day

330 Independence Ave., SW
Cohen Bldg., Room 5194
Washington, DC  20201

Aug. 2-3, 2016

8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. each day

5600 Fishers Lane, Room  5E49
Rockville, MD 20857

Sept. 6-7, 2016

8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. each day

330 Independence Ave., SW
Cohen Bldg., Room 5194
Washington, DC  20201


Cost: The fee for this course is $300 per participant. Printed materials are offered for an additional $88.50. A Portable Document Format copy is provided to each student free of charge. Payment should be submitted prior to attending class.

Registration: Participants can register through the HHS University Learning Management System (LMS) by searching the Course Catalog using the Course ID: TTFATA. The payment form is included in the course confirmation (select Current Learnings > View > Attachments). The payment form must be submitted via email to transportation@psc.gov prior to attending the course.

PSC Customer Kudos!: “We wanted to express our sincere appreciation for making the Concur CGE Training Production Site available and your help in setting it up for OCR’s two nationwide travel meetings. We felt this system enabled the attendees to have a better grasp of the materials and we do hope to have it available in the future.”Cancellation Policy: It is important that students who register for a class but cannot attend cancel their registration in the LMS within the required cancelation period so that their space can be offered to another student. Cancellations must occur 21 days prior to the first day of class in order to receive a refund. OpDivs will be charged for the cost of the course when students register but do not attend, and for students who fail to cancel their class registration less than 21 days before the course date. OpDivs may substitute a different student if they wish to keep a class seat. This policy enables PSC to cover the actual cost of developing and delivering quality instruction to OpDivs. 

Certificates of Completion: Upon completion of the FATA training and submission of payment, PSC will work with the LMS team to update each learner’s transcript. Once the transcript is updated, each learner can log into the LMS and print their certificate of completion.

Course Prerequisites: Participants must complete the follow courses in the LMS as preparation for attending the FATA training:

  • Travel Training for Travelers and Preparers: Parts 1 and 2
  • Travel Training for Certifiers and Approvers

Learners who have previously completed these trainings are not required to re-take them prior to class.



TRAVEL & TRANSIT TIPS:


GO!card® user ‘Do’s’ and ‘Don’ts’

Example of a PSC GO!CardHere are a few tips to remember when using the GO!card®:

Do’s:

  • Do use all of your transit subsidy benefits or lose them.
  • Do purchase your fare cards no later than the 15th of the benefit month.
  • Do spend only what you need during months when you take leave.
  • Do update your account if your commuting costs change.
  • Do complete a new application to recertify your participation in the PSC Transit Subsidy Benefits Program every year.
  • Do call 1-800-316-6056 or email GOcard@hhs.gov to report your GO!card® as lost or stolen.

Did you know? PSC Transportation services currently has 45,731 GO!cards in circulation - a 77 percent increase in caldholder volume in the first half of the fiscal year!Don’ts:

  • Don’t use your GO!card® while on travel.
  • Don’t use your transit subsidy benefits for anything other than commuting to/from your residence and your work station.
  • Don’t allow anyone else to use your transit subsidy benefits.

For more information and detailed guidelines on using the GO!card,® please go to:
www.hhs.gov/travel/gocard.



Enroll in STEP for safer travel abroad

' 'The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service that allows U.S. citizens and nationals traveling abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Registering for this free service will allow travelers to receive security message and alerts, and help the U.S. government to better assist American citizens in case of an emergency while traveling abroad.

The benefits of enrolling in STEP include the following:

  • Receive important information from the U.S. Embassy about safety conditions in foreign countries to help make informed decisions about travel plans.
  • Help the U.S. Embassy contact travelers in an emergency, whether natural disaster, civil unrest, or family emergency.
  • Help family and friends get in touch in an emergency.

To enroll in the STEP program, please go to: https://step.state.gov/step.



Fleet Operations Updates:


Protocol and procedures for ordering new or replacement Fleet vehicles from GSA

PSC helps HHS Operating/Staff Divisions with the daily operation and overall management of a wide range of fleet government vehicle and driver services, including fleet travel policy development, sustainable fleet planning, and vehicle lease management.

One of the fleet services that PSC provides is managing the process for ordering new or replacement vehicles from GSA. PSC provides guidance and support to help program offices adhere to the proper protocol for managing this process.

The following chart provides guidelines for HHS Operating/Staff Divisions on the protocol and procedures for ordering new or replacement vehicles from GSA under existing lease programs:

Protocol for Ordering New or Replacement Fleet Vehicles from GSA

Condition

Process

IF:

THEN:

Step 1

If an HHS Operating/ Staff Division has formally been issued a Budget Office Address Code (BOAC) by General Services Administration (GSA):

Then the Operating and/or Staff Division is authorized to lease and/or buy fleet assets in accordance with HHS Acquisition policy as well as CFR 134-02. Also see General Services Administration (GSA) ADM 4800.2H. These guidance tools address category and types of fleet assets authorized by the Federal Government in general, and Cabinet Level Executive Departments in particular.

How can one determine if a BOAC exists?:
The agency/department will have a BOAC memo from GSA.

Step 2

If the Operating/Staff Division has formally been issued a Budget Office Address Code (BOAC) by GSA, that organization’s leadership must assign an agency Fleet Manager (*See HHS Logistics Policy Manual, section 4.0):

Then the designated Fleet Manager shall be authorized to add, modify or delete planned, projected or forecast fleet asset configurations for affected agency components. The Operating/Staff Division component’s functional mission situations may be deployed in several locals. For example, fleet assets may be deployed at a headquarters level sites or directed towards specific regional areas, certain districts within those regions or throughout CONUS nationwide (and/or designated protectorates) and, as necessary, deployed in certain international mission settings as appropriations may dictate.

Step 3

If the Operating/Staff Division’s Fleet Manager has formally been designated, in writing, to act on behalf of the Operating/Staff Division:

Then the designated Fleet Manager shall be a part of the HHS Fleet Council and, as such, identified in writing. Thereafter, the HHS Fleet Manager is encouraged to collaborate with the designated Op/Staff Division Fleet manager on all matters related to:

  • Federal Fleet compliance via GSA;
  • HHS Fleet internal Transportation and Safety policy in concert with HHS Safety policy guidance;*
  • OMB/GSA Fleet security matters associated with fleet assets (e.g., certain tag guidance);
  • Sustainability compliance and reporting (e.g., Green House Gas [GHG] metric ton and GHG volume per mile compliance issues);
  • Executive Office of the President (EOP) Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) guidance; and
  • Office of Management and Budget (OMB) criteria associated with approved fleet fiscal controls.

(*See guidance as outlined in HHS Logistics Policy Manual, § 4.0.)




INDUSTRY NEWS:


U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security releases timetable for implementation of REAL ID Act

On Jan. 8, 2016, the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security announced the following timetable* for the implementation of the REAL ID Act for air travel:

  • Effective immediately, the Department of Homeland Security will conduct outreach to educate the traveling public about the timeline below, and continue engagements with states to encourage compliance with REAL ID standards.
  • Starting Jul. 15, 2016, TSA, in coordination with airlines and airport stakeholders, will begin to issue web-based advisories and notifications to the traveling public. 
  • Starting Dec. 15, 2016, TSA will expand outreach at its airport checkpoints through signage, handouts, and other methods.
  • Starting Jan. 22, 2018, passengers with a driver’s license issued by a state that is still not compliant with the REAL ID Act (and has not been granted an extension) will need to show an alternative form of acceptable identification for domestic air travel to board their flight. Passengers with driver’s licenses issued by a state that is compliant with REAL ID (or a state that has been issued an extension) will still be able to use their driver’s licenses or identification cards.
  • Starting Oct. 1, 2020, every air traveler will need a REAL ID-compliant license, or another acceptable form of identification, for domestic air travel.

This timetable recognizes that some states must change their laws to comply with the REAL ID Act. It is also designed to provide an opportunity for members of the public to learn more about the implications of not having a REAL ID-compliant license, and so that individuals have an ample opportunity to replace their pre-REAL ID licenses with new compliant licenses or to obtain another acceptable form of identification.

How Does the REAL ID Act Impact HHS Travelers?:

If an HHS traveler is from one of the states that is still not compliant with the REAL ID Act, then they’ll need to ensure they have a passport to travel, which is covered in the HHS Travel Policy Manual.

Starting January 22, 2018, travelers who do not have a license from a compliant state or a state that has been granted an extension will be asked to provide alternate acceptable identification. If the traveler cannot provide an acceptable form of identification, they will not be permitted through the security checkpoint.

For more information about the REAL ID Act, please go to: http://www.dhs.gov/real-id-public-faqs.



PSC Contact Information:


PSC GOing Places Transportation Technical Bulletin is published by PSC Transportation Services
located at 7700 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 920, Bethesda, Maryland 20857.

To ask questions, comments, add news or subscribe to PSC’s GOing Places Transportation Technical Bulletin, please contact the Editor by email at GOcard@hhs.gov.