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PSC GOing Places Transportation Technical Bulletin

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Executive steering, community stakeholder groups kick off in February to promote ETS2 stabilization

February will be an important month for PSC’s efforts to progress the stabilization of the Department’s travel systems and program in manners that meet the traveling community’s needs.

Key to this effort is the charting and forming of the Travel Governance Council and the Travel Leadership Coalition.

The Travel Governance Council is comprised of HHS Senior Travel Officials (STOs) and chaired by Mr. Al Sample, Director of PSC’s Administrative Operations Portfolio. The primary goals of the council are to provide direction to PSC on strategic decisions and initiatives pertaining to the travel system to ensure alignment with HHS mission requirements. Secondly, the group members will keep their stakeholders and travelers informed about discussions and initiatives regarding HHS’s Travel Management System, Government-wide travel policies and provide Executive sponsorship to support change initiatives.  

The Travel Leadership Coalition consists of the Department’s principle Travel Program Managers, Lead Federal Agency Travel Administrators (Lead FATAs), and System Subject Matter Experts (SMEs). The coalition will initially be charged with aggregating and reviewing the full body of known issues pertaining to the Department’s CGE instances, recommending the priorities for the issues to be addressed, and with developing and articulating the Department’s core system and service support needs and expectations. 

After the coalition’s initial work is complete, it will then serve as a consultative body to the HHS Travel Governance Council’s agenda. The Travel Leadership Coalition will be chaired by Mr. Matt Zakielarz, PSC’s Transportation Services Director. Mr. Manny Van Pelt, the Departmental Travel Program Manager and the PSC Travel Branch Manager, will serve as vice chair.

On Feb. 4, PSC will host a “Travel Super Summit” in Washington, D.C., during which the coalition will baseline all the known issues, and these will be used to create PSC’s 2016 travel system stabilization plan. The U.S. General Service Administration’s HHS account manager and Concur Technology’s HHS account manager have also been invited to attend.


 

March 8 is deadline to comment on GSA’s proposal to limit traveler reimbursement of ATM fees, clarify laundry expenses

Travelers have until March 8, 2016 to comment on the U.S. General Services Administration’s proposal to limit the fees that travelers may recoup for using ATMs while traveling, and on GSA’s proposal to clarify rules for laundry expenses. The new proposed rule can be found by following this link

According to the Jan. 8 edition of Government Executive magazine, GSA is proposing that, “ATM fees incurred on official government travel would be treated as incidental expenses rather than more general miscellaneous expenses under a draft rule published in the Federal Register on Friday.”

Presently, the Federal Travel Regulation caps reimbursements for incidental expenses at $5 per day.
The magazine also reported, “GSA is seeking to modify the FTR to save the government money. The change “will increase the government’s ability to project travel costs, improve cost control, and simplify rules of official travel,” the Jan. 8 proposed rule stated. Congress and the Obama administration have told agencies they need to cut travel costs. The government currently treats as incidental expenses such costs as fees and tips for porters, hotel staff, and baggage handlers.

The Defense Department made a similar change to the Joint Travel Regulation in October 2014. The magazine reported that, “(DoD) estimated that the changes would save an estimated annual $15.6 million in miscellaneous expenses from an overall annual expenditure of $348 million in that category.”

GSA’s proposed rule also seeks to clarify the reimbursement rules on expenses for laundry, cleaning and pressing of clothing. GSA proposes that these expenses would still be treated as miscellaneous expenses under the change. The proposed new language is, “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].”



CGE UPDATES & TIPS:


January CY 2016 mileage rates updated in CGEtnews-a

The CY 2016 mileage rates were loaded into the CGE environments on Dec. 30, 2015.

Please note that all travel documents created before Dec. 31, 2015 that have POV mileage reimbursement expenses that occur after Jan. 1, 2016 must be updated in the system.

For questions, please contact your PSC Transportation Services account manager.


Concur announces new look, name coming to travel management system

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 launch.

GSA has directed Concur to push the release out Government-wide during April.

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.

Please note that the application will be renamed “ConcurGov” when the new User Interface is launched in April. The launch phases and timeline are:

ConcurGov User Interface rollout schedule:

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


PSC Account Management team nets key CGE updates for its customers

The following CGE bug fixes and enhancements were resolved in the Dec. 2015 system update:

CGE System Changes Resolved by PSC Account Management in Dec. 2015

Functional Area

Summary of Issue(s) Resolved

Expenses

HHS Copy Per Diem Expenses Values and Conditions issues resolved in CGE:

  • Copy Per Diem Expenses to include ability to copy payment method now in test preview so users can test the new functionality and will be delivered into production with the SU122 update on Jan. 18.
  • Replaced the “Copy Per Diem Conditions Through” field with a “Copy Per Diem Expense Values and Conditions” hyperlink to support the fact that it copies payment methods now as well as expense amount.
    • Once a user clicks the “Copy Per Diem Expense Values and Conditions” hyperlink when editing a Lodging or an M&IE per diem expense, it displays the updated page.
    • Users see the Copy Per Diem Expense Values and Conditions hyperlink on the Expenses page when editing either a (lodging or M&IE) per diem expense, or an expense that is considered part of a per diem expense (such as a hotel tax).

Enterprise Application Integration (EAI)

Issue: The EAI Travel Advance Service is a scheduled task that runs according to agency specifications (e.g., daily every five minutes). An issue occurred where authorizations were stamped Advance-Submitted but the advance XML wasn’t delivered to the EAI due to a connection timeout.

Resolution: This error has been fixed so that CGE now sends the advance XML to the EAI and stamps the document Advance-Submitted.

Issue: Finishing process is sending the TSA Precheck Known Traveler Number from the profile into the GDS with an incorrect format for country code US.

Resolution: This formatting issue was previously fixed for the Apollo GDS and this fix ensures Worldspan and Sabre are also resolved to use “US” as the correct country code.

Issue: Profile Service fails with “TravelerGender” element in the request.

Resolution: Now, all valid “TravelerGender” values pass the validation.

Issue: “TravelerRedressNumber” and “KnownTravelerNumber” are not populating when importing and exporting

Resolution: The TSA Known Traveler Number and the DHS Traveler Redress Number are now populating in user profiles when imported via the EAI Profile Service and the TAVS Admin import utility. These values are also now able to be populated in the profile section of Concur Data or the TAVS Admin profile export.

Reporting

  • Users will be able to see the Ticketing Deadline date/time information in Cognos reports and ETL archive.


Updating of Concur’s travel management system is a multi-stage process

Concur Technologies, Inc. performed “push” updates to its travel management system software. These are referred to as “Service Updates,” and are identified as “SU” and a numerical designator.  Altogether, Services Updates are referred to as “releases.”

Concur first puts a Service Update into a safe environment called “Preview” where it can be reviewed and regression testing performed.

During the preview time period, agencies have the opportunity to provide Concur with feedback and the results of their testing. During this time, PSC’s CTIP team performs regression testing to identify data processing issues that must be corrected to ensure documents successfully process. The feedback and test results are considered as they’re received. Once the review and regression testing time period has expired, Concur decides what specific items will be in the update and then releases the Service Update to the “Stable” environment.

The Stable environment is the “live” system. Not all items that are in “Preview” make it to “Stable.” This is because test results and agency feedback may prompt Concur to pull a particular change from the release and continue working on it.

CGE Software Update Release Schedule. Relase: SU122, Preview Update: 12/16/2015, Production (stable) Update: 1/18/2016. Relase: SU123, Preview Update: 1/21/2016, Production (stable) Update: 2/22/2016. Relase: SU124, Preview Update: 2/25/2016, Production (stable) Update: 3/21/2016. Relase: SU125, Preview Update: 3/24/2016, Production (stable) Update: 4/18/2016.  Relase: SU126, Preview Update: 4/21/2016, Production (stable) Update: 5/16/2016.



Self-rescue, local FATAs are the starting points for issues resolution

It’s important for Lead and local FATAs to recognize what types of issues pertaining to the travel management system should be escalated.  A key consideration is this: “Who will actually address my concern?”  Travelers, local FATAs and Lead FATAs should make every effort to resolve an issue at a point where it is actually going to be addressed immediately.

Issue escalation should be judiciously applied using the following guidance:

Level

Issue Owner

Responsibility

1

Federal Travelers, Federal Travel Arrangers, Federal Travel Supervisory Approvers, and Federal Travel Funding Approvers

  • Complete required training on how to use system according to role assigned.
  • Correctly complete authorizations and vouchers, and monitor authorization and voucher status as they progress through the system. 
  • Maintain knowledge and skill of the system’s dynamic functionality by taking refresher training regularly.
  • Directly prompt next level approver to take action when documents are not stamped in a timely fashion.  
  • Perform “self-rescue” by completing training and re-training regularly or annually, reviewing Job Aids, using “Tier Zero,” contacting One DHHS Tier 1 Helpdesk (1-888-663-3447), and consulting with local FATA for assistance.
  • For issues that Tier 1 escalates to Tier 2, reports the issue to the local FATA.
  • It is important to note that items identified as bona fide system technical issues take longer to resolve as a system process must be applied to research, identify, correct, and test the solution.  

2

Local FATA

  • Diagnose voucher processing issues and take action such as ensuring documents are approved in a timely fashion so document progress, have travelers make corrections to documents, coach travelers on how to use the system, obtain document status report to monitor document progress.
  • Identify suspected technical issues and consult with Lead FATA.
  • Continually participate in training to maintain skills, learn new functionality, and develop overall expertise in travel.
  • Obtain assistance from One DHHS Tier 1 Helpdesk (1-888-663-3447).
  • For issues – Tier 1 escalates to Tier 2, reports the issue to the Lead FATA.
  • It is important to note that items identified as bona fide system technical issues take longer to resolve as a system process must be applied to research, identify, correct, and test the solution.

 3

Lead FATA

  • Advise local FATA on technical issues.
  • Create initial traveler profiles, and complete and submit CTIP traveler profile templates.
  • Consult with PSC Account Manager on technical issues (confirming technical issues and reporting them to Concur Tier 2), and for guidance on how to apply administrator permissions to resolve issues.
  • Continually participate in training to maintain skills, learn new functionality, and develop overall expertise in travel so as to serve as their OpDiv’s authoritative source on all matters pertaining to travel.
  • Advise Senior Travel Official on travel matters.
  • Raise system performance issues and account management issues to Account Manager.
  • Escalate issues.
  • It is important to note that items identified as bona fide system technical issues take longer to resolve as a system process must be applied to research, identify, correct, and test the solution.

4

PSC Account Manager

  • Primary customers are the Senior Travel Official and the Lead FATA.
  • Consult on system issues and individual document issues when necessary.
  • Coach Lead FATA on system nuances and how to resolve issues so OpDiv can establish and maintain its travel/travel system body of knowledge.
  • Report issues to Concur, and monitor progress of resolution.
  • Keeps primary customers informed of travel system, policy and procedure.
  • Monitor overall OpDiv travel performance and processing performance, and consults with primary customers on how to improve. 
  • Offer solutions to OpDiv travel program issues and needs, including training course offerings, custom reports, system configuration/settings advice, travel procedures and standards clarification, etc.
  • It is important to note that items identified as bona fide system technical issues take longer to resolve as a system process must be applied to research, identify, correct, and test the solution.

5

Executives and Management

  • Senior and Executive Management should be brought into document workflow issues only AFTER all support avenues have been exhausted AND there has been a communication breakdown or total non-responsiveness.
  • It is important to note that items identified as bona fide system technical issues take longer to resolve as a system process must be applied to research, identify, correct, and test the solution.



Godzilla provides monster-size support to travel account management

Godzilla is not only the monster king, but he’s also the secret behind successful management of customer issues raised to the PSC account management team. PSC Transportation Services uses technical issue tracking and assignment software titled, “JIRA.”  “JIRA” is the truncated form of the Japanese word “gojira,” which is translated as “Godzilla.”

Whenever an issue is raised that cannot be immediately resolved, PSC/TS’s account managers and system technicians log the issue in JIRA. This enables the issue to be assessed for scheduling, for it to be assigned and reassigned for action, and for an issue or project’s tasks to be logged “start to finish.”  For example, when an OpDiv needs CTIP profiles entered or updated, the PSC account management technician logs the request in JIRA, attaches the profile template provided by the customer, and then assigns the new JIRA to a CTIP developer for the issue to be worked. The CTIP developer logs any issues or guidance in the JIRA task, which the account manager shares with the customer if necessary. 

When an issue, request or concern is reported to PSC Transportation Services, a ticket is created within JIRA which includes all details reported and tracks the progress of the issue as well as captures all work being performed by PSC Transportation Services. Each JIRA ticket is assigned a number and is shared with the reporting official from the OpDiv for ease of use when requesting either an update from their Account Manager, or if more information is shared by the reporting official to Transportation Services, so that the information is updated in JIRA and appropriate action can be taken.

JIRA tickets that require Concur Tier 2 assistance are cross referenced with any Concur Tier 2 tickets that have been opened for that issue. All Concur Tier 2 updates are then also entered into the JIRA so that Account Managers can share Concur Tier 2 updates with the reporting official.



CTIP middleware serves as CGE and financial system integrator

The Common Transportation Integration Platform (CTIP) is the middleware that resides between and integrates Concur’s travel management application with the Unified Financial Management System (UFMS) and the Healthcare Integrated General Ledger Accounting System (HIGLAS). 

Middleware is software that performs a limited, specific function between two IT systems or two other pieces of software.

One of the principle purposes of CTIP is to transform data between CGE and the respective financial systems. CGE’s data input/output form is XML, whereas UFMS and HIGLAS’s input/output form is CSV. In order for data to be used by either system, middleware (i.e., CTIP) must transform the data to the form that is usable by each system. CTIP allows the sharing and mapping of data between two entities that cannot work together without an integration component.

Flor chart showing CGE (ConcurGov), Common Transport, Unified Financial Management System, and HIGLAS are connected. CGE <-> Common Transport -> Unified Financial Management System and HIGLAS. Unified Financial Management System and HIGLAS -> Common Transport



CTIP Profile Administration Tool development continues to progress

There were a few OpDiv functional needs that were not met during the implementation of Concur’s travel management system here at HHS. These are collectively referred to as “ETS2 Phase 2.” One need is a tool for the OpDivs to use to manage user profiles without the assistance of PSC. PSC is developing the CTIP Profile Administration Tool (CTIP-PAT) to meet this customer need.  

The CTIP PAT has been modeled and developed, and it’s being tested in a development sandbox. Next, it will be vetted through the OCIO processes, including ensuring it meets information assurance standards and 508 compliance.

PSC will continue to provide updates as the development progresses. Further, ETS2 Phase 2 development will be incorporated into the agenda topics for the upcoming Transportation Leadership Coalition meetings.



ETS1 data slated to be ready in February project update

During December, PSC received a U.S. General Services Administration Contracting Officer’s determination that the migration of legacy ETS1 data to Concur’s data warehouse was not in the scope of the GSA’s ETS2 Master Contract. To migrate the data, a separate contract would have to be let. This decision made PSC’s data migration planning and preparatory work unusable without a contract. Additionally, there was no means to expeditiously emplace a contract-based means for the work to be performed.

As part of the preparation, PSC obtained the ETS1 data extract from the legacy GovTrip travel management system, as well as the associated mapping, from Northrup-Grumman.

Since PSC already had the data, an alternate plan was formulated and executed. Instead of migrating the data to Concur’s data warehouse, PSC is placing the data in the existing GovNetNG space, which all OpDivs already have access to and is an existing secure site operating under an ATO. A development team is preparing a data query tool to enable OpDivs to perform travel reporting from their own data.

OpDivs will have about nine months to query and extract data from the site before the GovNetNG platform is sunset. OpDivs may – at their own discretion – take ownership of their data by extracting it, and they may establish their own means to report on the data. PSC will ultimately transition the data to the Financial Business Information System (FBIS) platform. 

PSC plans for the data and reporting to be ready in February 2016. The intent is for structured data to be made available in the first half of the month, and for unstructured data (PDFs and images) to be made available in the latter half of the month.



PSC TRANSPORTATION SERVICES UPDATES:


Transit subsidy benefit increased to $255 per month for eligible enrollees

The Program Support Center (PSC) is pleased to announce that on Jan. 1, 2016, the monthly transit benefit for employees enrolled in the Transit Benefit Program increased to $255 per month, up from $130 per month.

Enrollees eligible for the increased amount are those who entered an actual monthly commuting cost greater than $130 when they first enrolled in the Transit Benefit Program or last updated their commuting costs. GO!card® credit limits and Transit Program vouchers for enrollees will automatically increase starting with the January 2016 benefit period. No action is necessary if participants’ commuting costs have not changed from their latest certified amount received as of Dec. 31, 2015.  

Enrollees who experienced an increase in commuting costs may update their transit benefit application via the Program Support Center’s GovZoneTM website. Unfortunately, GovZone does not currently support the update feature for existing benefits.* In order to update/change benefits, federal employees will need to withdraw their current benefits and submit a new application by following the steps below:

  1. Visit GovZone.psc.gov and click on the “Begin Login” button. Follow the prompts to login via AMS.
  2. Click on "My Services” at the top of the homepage.
  3. Click on “Transit Subsidy Program Management.”
  4. Review the Approved Monthly Benefits amount. (Please Note: Benefit Approvers must click “View Benefits” to reach their Benefits Profile.)
  5. If the Approved Monthly Benefits amount is correct, no further action is required.
  6. To change the Approved Monthly Benefits amount, please follow these steps:
    • Withdraw your current benefit – available by clicking on the triple line button under the action column (This will not terminate existing benefits).
    • Submit a new application for approval.

The PSC Transit Team is not terminating/withdrawing benefits during the workaround period, unless the participant has left HHS employment or specifically requested to terminate participation.

The PSC Transit Subsidy Benefit Program Office validates all new and updated applications. GO!card® credit limit or voucher amounts will update in approximately three working days after validation and approval. Please note that program participants will still be able to use their GO!card® benefits during the new application approval routing period.

GO!card® enrollees may also call 1-888-297-0783 to validate that their card’s credit limit has been increased. Each caller must provide their account number and the last four digits of their HHSID to the responding telephone support technician.


U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps’ Defense detailees’ transit benefits now administered by PSC

Beginning Feb. 1, Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service on detail to the Defense Health Agency (DHA) are eligible to receive transit subsidy benefits through the Program Support Center. Commissioned Corps employees who are interested in receiving transit subsidy benefits should request enrollment information by sending an email to: dha.ncr.dha-cae.mbx.supportagreements@mail.mil.


PSC welcomes new HHS travel card program managerSAVE THE DATE! The next A/OPC meeting will be held in March 2016. More details to follow on the location, agenda and opportunities to participate.

PSC recently welcomed Ms. Shannon Brown as the new Travel Card Program Account Manager for the Department of Health and Human Services.  Ms. Brown will support the Department’s national travel card program as its National Agency Program Coordinator.  Ms. Brown joins PSC after previously supporting travel card programs for the Department of Defense. 

Ms. Brown succeeds Ms. Allison Morton, a long-time PSC team member who continues to apply her card program management expertise with at Health Resources and Services Administrations.

Ms. Brown can be contacted via email at Shannon.Brown@psc.hhs.gov, or by phone at 301-492-4843.



TRAVEL TRAINING UPDATES:


PSC offers in-person, instructor-led training to qualify employees as Federal Agency Travel Administrators

CGE users who will have the FATA system role are required to complete the instructor-led “Travel Training for Federal Agency Travel Administrators course. For a complete list of FATAs who have completed this training, reach out to your PSC Account Manager.

PSC Transportation Services is currently offering FATA training on a monthly basis in the D.C. metro area. Training in other locations, including the regional offices, can be scheduled upon request.

FY 2016 FATA TRAINING SCHEDULE

Date

Time

Location

Feb. 2-3, 2016

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

5600 Fishers Lane, Room  5E49
Rockville, MD 20857

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: $300 per participants. Printed materials are offered for an additional $88.50. A soft copy can be provided free of charge.

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.

Cancellation Policy: Participants who register but cannot attend should cancel their registration in the LMS as soon as possible so that their space can be offered to another FATA. For a full refund, cancellations must occur 21 days prior to the first day of class. Cancellations less than 21 days, as well as all no-shows, will result in forfeiture of payment. Substitutions are permitted at no additional cost.

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.

Traveler and Travel Preparer (Arranger) Training:

The online training for Travelers and Travel Preparers was recently updated on the LMS. Two new modules, Cancellations and Foreign Travel, have been added. Due to the length of the course, it is now divided into two parts:

  • Travel Training for Travelers and Preparers Part 1

Modules include:

    • Introduction
    • Basic Travel
    • Cancellations
    • Resources

This course is required for all employees of HHS who travel or support travel and who will use the online travel system, Concur Government Edition (CGE).

  • Travel Training for Travelers and Preparers Part 2

Modules include:

    • Sponsored Travel
    • Foreign Travel
    • Local Travel
    • Resources

This course is recommended for all employees of HHS who travel or support travel and who will use the online travel system, Concur Government Edition (CGE).

Learners who completed the previous version of the course will continue to show as “complete” in LMS.

PSC Transportation Services is developing a classroom-based instructor-led course for Travelers and Travel Arrangers (Preparers). This course is expected to be available in March of 2016.

Please note:

  • Travel training course fees must be paid before first day of class
  • PSC has experienced a few instances where OpDiv students have attended travel training classes, but the classes were not paid for prior to the class date.
  • Students will not receive credit in the Learning Management System or be provided a certificate of completion for any class that they attend that is not paid for. 
  • Once the class fee is paid, the student’s completion of the training will be recorded in the Learning Management System.


Cost of hard copy training manuals has increased to $88.50

Paper-based travel training course manual prices have increased to $88.50, up from $75.

The Program Support Center travel program manager decided that free paper-based travel training course manuals would no longer be provided to students starting in FY16, and the training program would shift to providing the manuals as free electronic documents. This is part of the program’s overall strategy to:

  • Keep training course costs in check,
  • Support the Secretary’s and the Federal Government’s “green” initiatives, and
  • Reduce paper waste in light of the fact that the travel management system is refreshed on a monthly cycle and the course content must be continually updated.

PSC will provide training materials free to course participants in Portable Document Format (PDF), and will ensure training continues to emphasize hands-on, in-class practical application. 

Printed training course materials will continue to be made available for the actual cost to produce the material, which is currently $88.50. 

PSC will also continue to explore other training manual delivery options that are not paper-based, and which will facilitate in-class student needs.



TRAVEL TIPS:


HHS travel card billing tip: Roles and responsibilities for travelers and FATAs

Working together and understanding both traveler and FATA roles and responsibilities is vital to the success in working through recent billing issues due to the newly implemented vouchering process in the Concur travel system. Here are a few important guidelines to consider:

  • Unless the card is lost, stolen, or the transactions are under dispute, the cardholder is responsible for paying all charges and fees associated with his/her travel card in full (to view the Cardholder Agreement, follow this link).
  • It is the traveler’s obligation to monitor the status of their travel vouchers as they are processed through CGE (and it is the local FATA’s obligation to monitor travel voucher status using the CGE document status report).
    • Travelers should seek assistance from their local FATA for assistance with monitoring document processing and understanding any document status codes.
    • Any document in a “Pending” or “Pending UFMS” status for longer than 7 days should be assessed by the local FATA as a potential problem that requires them to examine the document. If further consultation is needed, the local FATA should escalate the issue to their Lead FATA.
  • When the traveler hasn’t received reimbursement for their travel and expects that they will have a balance:
    • For smaller account balances, say less than $1,000, as an example, travelers are encouraged to pay the bill.
    • For larger balances, the account may be re-aged (given an additional 30 days to pay).
  • Before considering the second option, PSC recommends the following A/OPC review process:
    • Was the voucher submitted within five days of the trip’s end?
    • Did the various approvers stamp and route the documents in a timely fashion?
    • Was the document identified as problematic by their FATA no more than seven days after submission?
    • Were there any UFMS processing issues?
    • Has the Lead FATA required support from the PSC Travel Account Manager (AM) to resolve any issues associated with this traveler’s voucher?

Account re-aging guidelines:

When the above questions result primarily in affirmative answers, an account re-age is appropriate.

Foremost, it must be understood that it is the bank’s discretion as to whether or not an individual’s request for to re-age an account will be granted.  

Account re-aging will only be endorsed for bona fide, validated system technical issues or crisis circumstances only. The re-age process will not be used by travelers to avoid making timely payment of their personal financial obligation to the credit card company.

Examples of improper use of account re-age requests that will be categorically not supported or endorsed include:

  • Failure to file vouchers in a timely fashion (5 business days from end of travel),
  • Failure of approvers to approve (route) submitted vouchers,
  • Voucher rejections because travelers claimed unauthorized expenses and had to amend their voucher, and
  • Failure to confirm in a financial management system that the payment was made or scheduled for payment before requesting a re-age.
  • Requests to re-age accounts that are submitted to the National APC within three days of the end of the billing cycle as these will likely not be processed by the bank in time.

Bear in mind that re-ages may only be requested once in a 12-month period, which is why this is a request of last resort that should be used rarely, if ever. When a charge card is already suspended, this option moves the cardholder back one delinquency cycle, but does not change the delinquent status.

Please forward re-age requests and the full justification for the request to Shannon.Brown@psc.hhs.gov (and send a copy to Darrell.Beutel@psc.hhs.gov). Processing time can take 2-3 business days, or longer. 



Use the ‘Tier Zero’ online knowledgebase for problem troubleshooting

Access to answers on the most common travel questions are right at your fingertips! The HHS Travel Office (PSC Transportation Services), in conjunction with the ONE DHHS Help Desk, developed Tier Zero – an online, self-service travel knowledgebase which allows users to:

  • View the Top 10 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
  • View Alerts and Important Updates
  • Search for Information and Troubleshooting Tips
  • Access Status Updates on Existing Travel Help Desk Tickets

To access the Tier Zero online knowledge base, go to: https://egov-portal.psc.gov.

For questions or further assistance, please submit a Help Desk ticket to the ONE DHHS Help Desk Tier 1 support by clicking “Contact Us” and then pressing “Click Here to Submit a Ticket.” Knowledgebase users can also contact the Tier 1 Help Desk by phone at 1-888-ONE-DHHS (663-3447), or via email at egovtravelhelpdesk@hhs.gov.



INDUSTRY NEWS:


Travelers should confirm with airlines if their ID is acceptable

Several states are continuing to experienced challenges with meeting the provisions of the 2005 REAL ID Act, and the New York Times reported Dec. 28 that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Transportation Security Administration is moving toward not allowing certain state-issued licenses to be used to access airport security zones.

Air travelers must pass through security zones to reach their boarding gates.

Travelers should monitor the TSA Web site at www.tsa.gov for the latest information about what DHHS considers acceptable as forms of identification.



Airline flight boarding passes might not be fully secure so protect them from disclosure

' 'Travelers might not realize it, but the data stored within the bar code at the bottom of an airline boarding pass holds personal information that some information security experts believe could be valuable to hackers, identity thieves or even stalkers.

Experts have shown that if a hacker gets a hold of a boarding pass – either a physical copy of an image of the boarding pass posted online – the hacker can upload the image to a free barcode reader and glean a lot of private information, including the traveler’s name, frequent flyer number, travel history and flight itineraries, as well as personal contact information. The data available on the boarding pass depends on what an airline elects to put on it.

The discovery that information could be harvested this way came from a blog writer, who saw a picture of a boarding pass posted on social media and set out to determine what could be gleaned from the boarding pass.

It’s possible that travelers can be adversely impacted by this form of hack. Someone who comes across this information could alter a traveler’s travel plans and could also reset the PIN number needed to access a frequent flier account. Details from a frequent flier account could help hackers break into other personal accounts as well.

At the same time, government travelers have an obligation to maintain records of travel for 56 months.   PSC’s travel team recommends that simple precautions be taken to avoid bad actors from exploiting convenience features on board passes:

  • Use electronic boarding passes whenever available.
  • Keep paper boarding passes covered until needed for scanning at the gate.
  • Don’t throw away used boarding passes in public waste receptacles or leave them in public areas.
  • After trips, keep travel artifact documents stored securely.
  • Shred travel documents after the required records retention period.
  • Use passwords to protect travel documents scanned or saved for record keeping purposes.
  • …And never post pictures of boarding passes on social media!

In representing the interests of its customers, the Program Support Center’s travel program has raised this issue to the U.S. General Services Administration’s ETS2 Security Working Group, and has encouraged GSA to take a proactive stance in addressing travel information security gaps such as this and others that have been identified by PSC.



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.