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Circular 05-01


DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
INDIAN HEALTH SERVICE
Rockville, Maryland

Refer to: DAS

INDIAN HEALTH SERVICE CIRCULAR NO. 2005-01

Effective Date:  02/25/2005

INDIAN HEALTH SERVICE HEADQUARTERS TRANSHARE PROGRAM

  1. PURPOSE.  The Indian Health Service (IHS) Headquarters Transhare Program is a transportation incentive program for IHS Headquarters employees.  It offers transit subsidies to employees who commute to work by public transportation or a registered vanpool within the National Capital Region (NCR).

  2. BACKGROUND.  The Federal Employees Clean Air Incentives Act, Public Law 103-172, was enacted as part of a national effort to improve air quality and reduce traffic congestion.  The Clean Air Act provides for the establishment of programs to encourage Federal employees to commute by means other than single-occupancy motor vehicles.  Presidential Executive Order 13150, "Federal Workforce Transportation," ordered all Federal agencies to implement a Transit Benefit Program (TBP) for their employees by October 1, 2000.

  3. POLICY.  The IHS Headquarters will offer to eligible employees a transit commuter benefit amount equal to their commuting cost, not exceeding the statutory maximum monthly limit.

  4. DEFINITIONS.

    1. Metrocheks.  Metrocheks are wallet-sized fare-card vouchers that IHS Headquarters provides eligible employees as a transit commuter benefit.  Metrocheks are the recognized media used for paying commuter fees.  Metrocheks can be used directly on the metro rail or can be exchanged for other types of transportation fare media, e.g., bus flash passes, vanpool checks, Maryland Area Rail Commuter (MARC) train fares, etc.  Metrocheks allow the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Program Support Center (PSC) to track disbursed subsidies.

    2. SmarTrip Card.  The SmarTrip card is a permanent, plastic, electronic farecard that Metro rail riders use in place of paper farecards and Metrocheks.  SmarTrip cards can be used on the Metro rail system only.  A SmarTrip card costs $5. Each card has a unique serial number, which is registered at the time of purchase.  If the registered card is lost, it can be replaced, along with the remaining Metro value, for a $5 fee, through the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority office.

    3. SmartBenefits.  SmartBenefits is a Web-based program that allows the PSC to load the dollar value of an employee’s Metrochek commuter benefit directly to their SmarTrip card.  To use this program, IHS Headquarters employees need to provide their registered SmarTrip card serial number to the Parking and Information Office (PIO) to load the benefit value directly into the card’s account.

    4. Parking and Information Office.  The PI0 administers the transit subsidy program for HHS employees using public transportation nationwide.  The PIO is part the PSC which is located in the Parklawn Building, 5600 Fishers Lane, 5th floor, Room 5B07, Rockville, Maryland 20857.  The PIO office hours are Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  The phone number (301) 443-2414.

    5. National Capital Region.  The NCR is defined as the District of Columbia; Montgomery, Prince George’s, and Frederick Counties in Maryland; Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William Counties in Virginia; and “...all cities now or hereafter existing in Maryland or Virginia within the geographic area bounded by the outer boundaries of the combined area of said counties.” (Executive Order 13150, dated April 21,2000)

  5. ELIGIBILITY.

    1. Participant.  A participant must be an IHS Headquarters employee.  “Employee” means an employee as defined by Title 5, Section 2105, United States Code (U.S.C.). Participating IHS employees may have regular or intermittent tours of duty, be full-time or part-time, and be on permanent or temporary appointments, provided they are formally appointed to the position and are paid by the IHS.

    2. Contractors/Others.  Individuals who work at IHS Headquarters; but are employed by other branches of the Federal Government or other organizations are not eligible for the IHS Transhare Program.

  6. PROCEDURES.

    1. Form.  Eligible employees who wish to join the Transhare Program must obtain a PSC-58, "PSC TRANSHARE Program Application," (Circular Exhibit 2005-01-A) from the Office Services Branch (OSB), Suite 120, Reyes Building, or from the PIO staff, Parklawn Building, Room 5B-07, or download an electronic copy from the HHS Intranet Web site at http://intranet.hhs.gov/hr/ohr/hhs_intranet_forms.html

    2. Application.  The employee must complete the PSC-58 and return it to the OSB, Suite 120, Reyes Building, along with a copy of the most recent earnings and leave statement (or, if a new employee, acceptance/offer letter).  The OSB will retain a copy of the completed PSC-58 for reporting purposes and forward the application packet to the PIO staff.

    3. Approval.  After the application is approved, the employee will be contacted by the PIO with instructions on the time and place to pick up the subsidy (Metrocheks).

    4. Parking Permit.  Employees who hold a current IHS Headquarters parking permit must relinquish their parking privileges in order to receive this subsidy.

  7. SUBSIDY DISTRIBUTION.

    1. Collecting the Subsidy.  Transhare participants will be required to present their IHS identification card each time they pick up their Metrocheks from the PIO.

    2. Metrocheks.  Metrocheks are dispensed quarterly.  The PSC will notify participants via email (HHS-wide within the NCR) per quarter for the next quarter's distribution schedule.  Participants must arrive at the designated place during the designated time period to pick up his/her Metrocheks.  If a participant fails to pick up his/her Metrocheks for any given period, that subsidy will be forfeited unless prior arrangements have been made.

    3. SmartBenefits.  SmartBenefits are dispensed monthly.  Participants claim their SmartBenefits by taking their SmarTrip card to any Metro station Passes/Farecards machine between the first and last day of the benefit month to claim their transit benefit with the SmarTrip card.  If the participant fails to claim his/her SmartBenefits within the 30-day period, the subsidy will be forfeited.

    4. Subsidy Forfeiture.  Participants who fail to claim their transit commuter benefit forfeit their benefits for that month.  A participant who forfeits the benefit does not lose his/her Transhare eligibility and may continue to claim benefits the next month by contacting the PIO.

  8. RESPONSIBILITY.  Transhare participants are personally responsible for safeguarding all Metrocheks issued to them.  If a Metrochek is damaged or lost, the participant is responsible for replacement.  No exchange or refunds will be given under any circumstances.  Participants who are leaving IHS employment are responsible for notifying the Support Services Supervisor in writing and returning the unused transportation fare media.

  9. WITHDRAWAL FROM THE TRANSHARE PROGRAM.  A participant may elect to withdraw from the Transhare program at any time.  The participant must notify the Support Services Supervisor and the PSC Transhare coordinator in writing and return any unused Metrocheks to the PIO.  Partially-used Metrocheks cannot be returned.  The participant must reimburse the Government for the cost with a personal check or money order.  For any unused SmartBenefits fare, the participant must reimburse the Government for the cost with a personal check or money order.

  10. PENALTY.

    1. Privileges.  Transhare participants are responsible for complying with these procedures.  Failure to do so may result in disciplinary actions up to and including the employee’s losing both Transhare benefits and parking privileges.

    2. Transfer.  Transhare fares will be used for the daily commute to and from work and the transfer of the fare to anyone else is prohibited.  Violation may result in criminal prosecution under U.S.C. Title 18, Section 1001, civil penalty action providing for administrative recoveries of up to $10,000 per violation and/or disciplinary actions up to and including dismissal.

  11. SUPERSEDURE.  None.

  12. EFFECTIVE DATE.  This Circular is effective upon the signature of the Director, IHS.

/Robert G. McSwain for/
Charles W. , D.D.S., M.H.S.A.
Assistant Surgeon General
Director


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