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Special General Memorandums 2002-03

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Department of Health and Human Services USA logo
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Public Health Service
     Indian Health Service
 Rockville MD 20852

SGM 2002-03

OCT 18, 2002

TO: Area Directors
Headquarters Office Directors
FROM: Interim Director
SUBJECT: Travel Management Controls/Meeting Requests

Purpose:

The purpose of this memorandum is to:

  1. Provide for an overall reduction of Indian Health Service (IHS) administrative travel, and

  2. Establish a decision-making process for:

    1. ensuring administrative travel costs meet purpose and expected outcome criteria that support the Agency's mission, goals, and operational objectives;

    2. approving travel requests of five or more Federal employees; and

    3. approving travel requests when airfare and per diem costs will exceed $2,500.

Reduction of Administrative Travel

Any savings resulting from the reduction of administrative travel will be used to further the provision of patient care.  Effective immediately, the following procedures will be implemented:

  • Area Directors (AD) and Headquarters (HQ) Office Directors will be provided with reduced administrative travel allocations for fiscal year 2003.  A spreadsheet is attached that provides travel targets by location.

  • Agency-wide administrative travel will be monitored on a monthly basis.  Added to the monthly financial reports will be a special recurring report on the status of allowances and obligations that shows the level of travel by organizational component compared to budget target.

  • A new automated system will be deployed to support travel management and to monitor progress toward the reduced targets.

  • The travel of general administrative personnel at HQ and Area Offices will be reduced and will be subject to authorizations that clearly prescribe the purpose and expected outcome.  Executive (SES and equivalent) individual travel, especially by those in HQ, will be decreased, and the number of HQ and Area executives traveling to a single event (e.g., meeting, conference, site visits, etc.) will be decreased.  Executive travel will be monitored on an individual basis.

  • The number of IHS-wide sponsored conferences and meetings will be reduced.  Each IHS Area will develop and implement a process requiring senior Area management approval of all conferences.  The Executive Leadership Group will continue to review and recommend approval of all conferences that involve more than one IHS Area.

  • Conferences and meetings that request a substantial number of HQ personnel will be held in the Washington D.C., vicinity (or the number of HQ attendees will be reduced).

  • The number of HQ personnel attending Tribally-sponsored conferences and meetings will be limited to senior officials needed to address critical policy issues and/or conduct consultation.

  • The use of video conferencing to enable access/availability of specific administrative resources for "live" presentations, discussions, etc., will be increased.

Travel Requests of Five or More Federal Employees

All travel requests of five or more Federal employees are to be submitted to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of the Secretary (OS), no later than 30 days before the date of travel.  All travel requests must be complete and accutarget when they are submitted to the IHS HQ Travel Management Specialist by the AD or HQ Office Director (or their representatives).

Effective immediately, ADs and HQ Office Directors must take the necessary steps to ensure that sufficient lead time is allowed for the processing of each request by the IHS HQ Travel Management Specialist and submission to the OS. Requests received with insufficient time to meet the 30-day requirement will be returned without approval to the requesting office.  An exception to this requirement will be made for legitimate emergencies reflecting the need for direct patient care.  Any other requests for exceptions will be submitted to the attention of the Interim Director, IHS, for approval.

Travel requests must be submitted to the IHS HQ Travel Management Specialist through the automated Travel Request Site found on the IHS web page: http://www.IHS.GOV.  Every effort will be made to review and submit requests to the OS on the same day they are received.  To accomplish this, no requests will be edited by the IHS HQ Travel Management Specialist.  Incomplete or inaccutarget requests will be returned to the requesting office for correction.  This will delay the submission to the OS and must be taken into consideration in the overall timeframe required for processing by IHS HQ.

When submitting travel requests related to continuing education units (CEUs) or similar professional training or education requirements, such as continuing medical education (CMES), the following additional information will be required: the type [professional category?] (nursing, dental, physician, etc.) and number of CEUs/CMEs that a specific meeting will provide for each professional category.

Travel Requests When Airfare and Per Diem Costs Exceed $2,500

All individual travel within the United States and its territories that involves a round trip airfare plus per diem cost of $2,500 or more is subject to prior approval by HHS.  All such travel requests must be complete and accutarget when they are submitted to the IHS HQ Travel Management Specialist by the AD or HQ Office Director.

As with the travel of groups of five or more, AD and HQ Office Directors must take the necessary steps to ensure sufficient lead time is allowed for the processing of each request by the IHS HQ Travel Management Specialist and submission to the OS.  Requests received with insufficient time to meet the 30-day requirement will be returned without approval to the requesting office.  An exception to this requirement will be made for legitimate emergencies reflecting the need for direct patient care.  All other requests for exceptions will be submitted to the attention of the Interim Director, IHS, for approval.

Travel requests for individual travel that costs $2,500 or more must be submitted to the IHS HQ Travel Management Specialist by electronic mail.  Every effort will be made to review and submit requests to HHS on the same day they are received.  To accomplish this, no requests will be edited by the IHS HQ Travel Management Specialist. Incomplete or inaccutarget requests will be returned to the requesting office for correction. This will delay the submission to the OS and must be taken into consideration in the overall timeframe required for processing by IHS HQ.

Finally, no one shall obligate Government funds in support of any travel that requires prior approval until after the necessary approval has been received.  This includes conference support, training services, hotel costs, logistics, etc.  These steps are necessary to meet the requirements established by the OS.

The guidance in this document does not supersede other existing processes and controls, such as charters and other IHS directives that are currently in place for travel management.

Thank you for your commitment to this important process.

/Charles W. Grim, D.D.S./
Charles W. Grim, D.D.S., M.H.S.A.
Assistant Surgeon General

Attachment (For a copy of this attachment please contact your Area Directives, Delegations and Controls Officer or the Management Policy and Internal Control Staff at 301-443-2650)


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