DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
Public Health Service
Date : AUG 23 1988
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health Operations and Director, Office of Management
Amendment to PHS ADP and Telecommunications Approval Authority Telephone and Facsimile Equipment acquisitions
PHS Agency Officers
In response to a request from my office, the Office of the secretary (OS) has changed its policies regarding OS approval rquirements for telephone line, telephone equipment and facsimile equipment: acquisitions of less than $25,000 value. On July l4, 1988. The Assistarrt Secretary for Management and Budget gave the Public Health Service (PHS) their full dollar authotities for the items listed in Section 201-23-501 of the Federal information Resources Management Regulations ( FIRMR ), "Use of Multi-year Contract Authority for small Telecommunication Systems."
Effective immediately, under the authority of the August 17, 1987 Acquisition Delegation of Authority to PHS agencies, your agency may exercise approval authority over the following items. The Director,Division of ADP and Telecommunications Management will exercise this authority in OASH.
- Installation, replacement, relocation or removal of any stand-alone telephone equipment arrangement that has the capacity or capability to serve fewer than 50 telephones at locations in the 50 states and Puerto Rico, when the:
- system life does not exceed five years; and,
- system life cost does not exceed $25,000; and
- General Services Administration consolidated service is not available.
- Installation or reloca on of fewer than 25 business lines.
- Lease or purchase of intercity facsimile telecommunications services and facilities when the:
- system life does not exceed five years; and
- system life cost(including maintenance) does not exceed $25,000 and,
- Facilities are located in the 50 States or Puerto Rico
In exercising this authority, please be reminded that under FIRMR 201-23.501,agencies electing to exercise control procedures coordinated by the agency designated senior offficial for information resources management activities and the agency senior procurement executive.
At locations where telephone service is centrally Coordinated, such as by the Administrative Services Center for the Parklawn Building and the Telecommunications Management Branch for the National Institutes of Health campus, agencies Will Continue to acquire telephone services and equipment through these service organizations.
For facsimile transmission, subpart PHS: 103-35..56 of the HHS Telecommunications Management Manual is rescinded, and replaced with the following guidance:
(Currently, long distance telephone transmission costs PHS about $0.40 per minute. Therefore, large documents that would require more than one-half hour to transmit via facsimile machine can usually be delivered more economically by express mail.)
- PHS Will continue t:o provide facsimile transmission services through existing Com Centers, and agencies should first attempt to meet needs for facsimile transmission using these and other shared rescources.
- prior to sending any document, the cost of facsimile transmission should be compared to other alternatives such as messenger service, inter-office mail, or Postal Service. Whenever the cost savings can be deemed to outweigh a priorty for immediate receipt of information, an alternative to facsimile transmission should be chosen.
- Facsimile Transceiver Acquisitions
- Requests for facsimile equipment to be located in program offices should be approved by PHS agencies only when justified based on evaluation of relevant factors such as volume of material transmitted, lack of proximity to shared facilities (i.e., the General Services Administration (GSA) Com Centers or DHHS Com Centers) or other agency facsimile Resources, or priority of program need for rapid or after business hours facsimile availability.
- Agency approval should alsobe based on review of an estimate of life cycle cost of the machine, including equipment cost, cost of paper, supplies and maintenence. PHS offices should purchase, not lease, facsimile equipment. Although not a part of the "system life cost" transmission costs based on estimated volume of documents transmitted should also be estimated so that the program office is aware of the full cost of its planned facsimile usage.
- Agencies should only approve facsimile machine acquisitions for current state of-the-art equipment which is compatable with other machines with which users anticipate communicating. (At this time, facsimile machines acquired should meet at least Group III specifications).
- Agencies should consider facsimile alternatives for offices equipped with PCS, such as PC facsimile board technology which allows PCS to perform direct electronic facsimile transmissiion
- Agencies shall not use facsimile transmission to send classified, sensitive or Privacy Act-protected materials. The public telephone lines used in facsimile transmission are not secure. Only non-sensitive information may be sent. (PC hackers are already Proficient at intercepting private facsimile transmission using PCs eguipped with Facsimile boards.)
This authority for approval of telecommunications and facsimile acquisitions is a supplement to the authorities Delegated in the August 17, 1987 Acquisition Delegatian of Authority to all, PHS Agency Heads. Those PHS agencies to whom I have in the Past year given increased ADP acquisition approval authority may treat this as an amendment to that authority in effect, this is a first step towards consolidation of ADP and telecommunications into one uniform approval process under the term "informatian processing resources." According to GSA, telecommunications approval, threshold increases can be an anticipated outcome of the FIRMR revision project now in progress at GSA.
Should your staff have any questions please have them call .Denise Van 0sterom on 443-4610.
Wilford J. Forbush
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