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Indian Health Service The Federal Health Program for American Indians and Alaska Natives


     Indian Health Manual
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Part 5 - Management Services

Chapter 13 - Quarters Management

Title Section
Introduction 5-13.1
    Purpose 5-13.1A
    Justification for Government Housing 5-13.1B
    Policy 5-13.1C
    Authorities 5-13.1D
Responsibilities 5-13.2
    Director, IHS 5-13.2A
    Director, Office of Environmental Health and Engineering 5-13.2B
    Director, Division of Facilities Operations 5-13.2C
    Lead Realty Specialist 5-13.2D
    Area Director 5-13.2E
    Chief Executive Officer 5-13.2F
    Area Realty Management/Housing Officer 5-13.2G
    Tenant Manager 5-13.2H
    Area Housing Committee Chairman 5-13.2I
Housing Committees 5-13.3
    Housing Committee 5-13.3A
    Composition 5-13.3B
    Area Office Housing Committee 5-13.3C
    Service Unit Housing Committee 5-13.3D
Program Elements 5-13.4
    Quarters Designation 5-13.4A
    Assignment Priorities 5-13.4B
    Quarters Rent and Related Charges 5-13.4C
    Quarters Return Funds 5-13.4D
    Quarters Return Account 5-13.4E
    Rent, Services, and Utilities 5-13.4F
    Rental Rates 5-13.4G
    Internet Quarters Management Information System 5-13.4H
    Utilities at Government Quarters 5-13.4I
    Quarters Maintenance and Repair Program 5-13.4J

Exhibit Description
Manual Exhibit 5-13-A, "Tribal Management of Federal Quarters"
Manual Exhibit 5-13-B, "Exclusion from Gross Income for Federal Income Tax Purposes"

5-13.1  INTRODUCTION

  1. Purpose.  This chapter revises and updates the policy and procedures to effectively administer the Indian Health Service (IHS) Quarters Management Program.
  2. Justification for Government Housing.  The justification for providing Government housing is based upon the absence of an adequate, private housing market within a reasonable commuting distance of the IHS installation and/or the determination that necessary services or adequate protection of Government property cannot be satisfactorily accomplished without essential on-site staff.
  3. Policy.  It is IHS policy that all IHS Quarters Management Program staff shall manage, operate, and maintain the Government quarters at IHS Service Units to ensure the availability of suitable housing for personnel essential for the IHS health care delivery system.
  4. Authorities.
    1. Office of Management and Budget Circular (OMB) No. A-45, "Rental and Construction of Government Quarters"
    2. Public Health Service (PHS) Agency Heads, "Delegation of Authority to Manage PHS Controlled Quarters" (November 9, 1977)
    3. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Instruction 930-2, "Accepting Volunteer Service for Use in Providing Health Care" (June 2, 1997)
    4. Title 45 Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.) Part 57
    5. Section 320, Public Law (P.L.) 98-473, as amended
    6. Indian Health Care Improvement Act (P.L. 94-437) as amended by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (P.L. 111-148)
    7. Memorandum of Understanding between the IHS and Department of the Interior (DOI) that establishes cooperative management activities and guidelines for uniform rental rates and utility charges for Government employees through the DOI Internet Quarters Management Information System (iQMIS)
    8. Title 5, United States Code (U.S.C.) 5911

5-13.2  RESPONSIBILITIES

  1. Director, IHS.  The Director, IHS is administratively responsible for the overall management and direction of the IHS Quarters Management Program.
  2. Director, Office of Environmental Health and Engineering.  The Director, Office of Environmental Health and Engineering (OEHE) will:
    1. Oversee the IHS Quarters Management Program by monitoring implementation and promulgating additional guidance for program effectiveness.
    2. Collaborate with the Director, Office of Finance and Accounting (OFA) to prepare budget reports and ensure the proper allocation of resources to operate the program.
  3. Director, Division of Facilities Operations.  The Director, Division of Facilities Operations (DFO), OEHE, will:
    1. Manage and monitor the IHS Quarters Management Program.
    2. Ensure that the iQMIS is effectively administered by designated IHS Area and Service Unit staff responsible for Quarters Management.
  4. Lead Realty Specialist.  The Lead Realty Specialist, DFO, OEHE, will:
    1. Implement and evaluate the IHS Quarters Management Program.
    2. Assist the Area Realty Management/Housing Officers (ARM/HO) in establishing and implementing an effective Quarters Management Program that complies with Federal, departmental, and internal policies.
    3. Develop technical handbooks, guidelines, and standardized documentation to implement the requirements of the Quarters Management Program and iQMIS.
    4. Coordinate with OFA in preparing an annual report of rental collections, obligations, and resources forecast.
    5. Serve as the principle technical consultant to IHS staff on laws, policies, and regulations applicable to Quarters Management.
    6. Represent IHS Quarters Management interests with the DOI and other Federal agencies.
    7. Serve as the IHS National Quarters Officer to the Interagency Committees for iQMIS.
  5. Area Director.  The Area Director will:
    1. Establish an Area Quarters Management Program that implements the IHS Quarters Management Program.
    2. Establish an Area Housing Committee and appoint a chairman.
    3. Ensure that collected IHS Quarters Return (QR) funds are used exclusively for the operation, maintenance, and repair of Area quarters.
    4. Exercise authority for the management of IHS Area-controlled quarters covering:
      1. Determination that the Area's quarters are adequate.
      2. Designation of rental or transient quarters (see 5-13.4A).
      3. Determination of those officers or employees that shall be required to occupy quarters.
    5. Appoint an ARM/HO.
    6. Provide management support and training to the ARM/HO and the Tenant Manager (TM) who are responsible for all Quarters Management activities.
    7. Administer contracts or compacts with Tribes and Tribal organizations that operate a health facility under the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act, P.L. 93-638, as amended and the Tribe or Tribal organization who:
      1. Elects to manage the federally-owned quarters associated with such facility.
      2. Elects to establish rental rates and collect rents for federally-owned quarters in compliance with Section 309 of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act (IHCIA), as amended at 25 U.S.C. ยง 1638a.
    8. Comply with Title I Annual Funding Agreement or Title V Funding Agreement according to the IHCIA Quarters Management and Rent Setting section.  A sample is provided as Manual Exhibit 5-13-A.
  6. Chief Executive Officer.  The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) will:
    1. Establish a Service Unit Quarters Management Program that implements the IHS Quarters Management Program.
    2. Issue specific rules and guidance related to occupancy of quarters under his or her jurisdiction.  A set of the current rules and regulations shall be provided to the tenant at the time of occupancy and attached to the Tenant's Quarters Assignment and Acceptance Agreement.
    3. Establish a Service Unit Housing Committee.
    4. Ensure that collected QR funds are used exclusively for the operation, maintenance, and repair of the Service Unit's quarters.
    5. Exercise authority for the management of the Service Unit-controlled quarters covering:
      1. Determination that the Service Unit's quarters are adequate.
      2. Designation of rental or transient quarters (see 5-13.4A).
      3. Determination of those officers or employees that shall be required to occupy quarters.
      4. Assignment priorities for the occupancy of quarters.
    6. Ensure that quarters are properly maintained in accordance with policy and correctly accounted for on the real property inventory.
    7. Ensure that tenants are properly notified of any applicable environmental hazards.
  7. Area Realty Management/Housing Officer.  The ARM/HO is the IHS Area realty management person responsible for establishing and maintaining real property records and for physical accountability of all real property and space assigned to the IHS Area.  The ARM/HO will:
    1. Implement the Area Quarters Management Program.
    2. Serve as principle technical consultant to Area staff on matters relating to quarters management.
    3. Review each Service Unit's Quarters Management Program to evaluate compliance with Federal, departmental, and internal policies and procedures.
    4. Provide technical assistance to Service Unit TM within the Area.
    5. Use both the iQMIS and the IHS Healthcare Facilities Data System to manage the Quarters assets.
    6. Coordinate annual implementation of iQMIS rental rates and/or application of the rent series of the United States (U.S.) City Average Regional Consumer Price Index (CPI) Rent Series adjustment with the TM.  Annually, Federal agencies must implement CPI adjustments at the beginning of the first full pay period commencing on or after March 1 of each year.  Tenants shall be notified in writing 30 days prior to implementation.
    7. Determine the quarters quality ratings with assistance from Area facilities management staff.
  8. Tenant Manager.  The TM is the person with delegated authority to manage IHS-controlled quarters at the Service Unit or installation level.  The TM will:
    1. Ensure the Regional Quarters Rental Survey rental rates are implemented, in accordance with the OMB Circular No. A-45 "Rental and Construction of Government Quarters," and the CPI adjustment.  Annually, Federal agencies must implement rent adjustments at the beginning of the first full pay period commencing on or after March 1 of each year.  Tenants shall be notified in writing 30 days prior to implementation.
    2. Implement and enforce quarters occupancy rules and regulations to ensure safe and secure occupancy of government quarters, as well as to ensure the management of the quarters complies with Federal, Departmental, and internal policies.
    3. Ensure tenant compliance with established quarters maintenance, repair, and upkeep requirements.
    4. Serve as tenant point of contact for any changes to tenant and quarters status, such as, any health and safety issues affecting the tenants residing in the Government quarters, or change in tenant's family status.
    5. Serve as principle point of contact to Area Office staff on matters relating to quarters.
    6. Serves as principle party responsible for ensuring IHS responsibilities as a landlord are fulfilled and the quarters occupant's responsibilities as a tenant are communicated to the Quarter's occupant.
  9. Area Housing Committee Chairman.  The Area Housing Committee Chairman is appointed by the Area Director and serves as the liaison on quarters matters and disputes; and makes recommendations to the Area Director for Area-wide implementation.

5-13.3  HOUSING COMMITTEE

  1. Housing Committee.  Each Area Director and CEO who administers Government quarters shall establish a Housing Committee.  The Housing Committee shall recommend specific criteria for the operation and management of the housing program and other areas of concern necessary for the protection of Government property, tenant behavior, quarters management and operations, including policies, procedures, and enforcement means for:
    1. Pets
    2. Noise
    3. Lawn and exterior upkeep
    4. Quarters maintenance and repair
    5. Work request response
    6. Emergency maintenance
    7. Security standards
    8. Parking and abandoned vehicles
  2. Composition.  The Area Director and the ARM/HO shall not serve on the Area Housing Committee.  Additional personnel may be appointed by the Area Director or the Service Unit CEO.  The Housing Committee may include one representative from each of the following staff specialties:
    1. Program administration
    2. Professional services
    3. Equal employment opportunity
    4. Facilities management
    5. Financial management and/or real property management
  3. Area Office Housing Committee.  The Area Office Housing Committee:
    1. Serves as the liaison between the Area Director and the Service Unit Housing Committee on quarter's matters and disputes.
    2. Makes recommendation for satisfactory resolution on quarter's matters and disputes within the Area.
    3. Does not establish rental rates, perform appraisals, or determine adequacy of quarters.
  4. Service Unit Housing Committee.  The Service Unit Housing Committee:
    1. The CEO and the Service Unit's TM shall not serve on the Service Unit Housing Committee.
    2. Serves as the liaison between the CEO and the quarters tenants on quarters matters and disputes.
    3. Makes recommendations for satisfactory resolution on quarter's matters and disputes within the Service Unit.
    4. Does not establish rental rates, perform appraisals, or determine adequacy of quarters.

5-13.4  PROGRAM ELEMENTS

  1. Quarters Designation.  All quarters under IHS control and management shall be designated as either Rental Quarters or Transient Quarters:
    1. Rental Quarters.  Quarters intended for occupancy on a year-round basis by any IHS employee or other authorized person. Occupants assigned to rental quarters are always charged for rent and utilities.
    2. Transient Quarters.  Quarters intended for short-term occupancy of up to 90 days.  Transient quarters designation is made by the Area Director (or his or her delegated official) or the Service Unit CEO.  Persons assigned to transient quarters are charged daily, weekly, or monthly for rent and utilities.
  2. Assignment Priorities.  Effective management of quarters assignments is critical to ensure that housing is available to the staff to provide for the delivery of health care.  In some instances, a unit may be held vacant pending recruitment of an essential staff member.
    1. Required Occupants.  First priority is to those positions in which the incumbent is a 'required occupant,' i.e., one whose services are determined 'essential' to provide continuity for the IHS healthcare program.  For these positions, the requirement to occupy Government quarters shall be made a part of the employee's position description or billet as a condition of employment.  Each CEO will identify the positions whose incumbents constitute the minimum staffing complement necessary to ensure continuity of services and protection of property at each installation.  To meet the criteria for classification as an employee required to occupy on-site housing, the employee must be engaged in an activity related to the protection of human life and/or Federal property.

      A clause in the position vacancy announcement is required to inform potential applicants of any on-site residency requirements.  Quarters occupancy, as a condition of employment, shall be clearly stated.  Applications for such positions must include a certification by the applicant accepting assignment to rental quarters as a condition of employment and acknowledging the understanding of this fact.

    2. Permitted Occupants.  Available housing is next assigned to employees, not designated as 'required occupant,' due to inadequate local housing market and remoteness, e.g., a distance greater than one hour normal travel time from the nearest established community.

      Assignment of housing is at the choice of the employee.  Assignment covers civilian employees, United States Public Health Service (USPHS) Commissioned Corps Officers, and contractors.  Locally hired employees are not typically eligible to be assigned to Government quarters. Government quarters are provided at the Service Units to house the non-locally hired employees.

    3. The term "non-local" refers to those IHS employees residing greater than 46.6 miles (75 kilometers) by road from the health care facility at the time of acceptance of their employment, or a position that may require hiring an employee who resides greater than 46.6 miles (75 kilometers) by road from the health care facility.
    4. Volunteers.  Indian Health Service Quarters may be provided to volunteers only when the TM determines the prospective volunteer is part of a bona fide volunteer service program and meets other IHS volunteer program criteria.  A volunteer is defined as a member of a bona fide volunteer service program established in accordance with HHS Instruction 930-2 (June 2, 1997) and with Title 45 C.F.R. Part 57.  The sponsoring program of the volunteer is responsible for paying the rent and utilities costs if the volunteer or the volunteers' agency is not charged for these costs.
    5. Other HHS Employees.  Employees of the Department or other HHS Operating Divisions are allowed to occupy IHS housing during periods of extended vacancy.
    6. Other Federal Employees.  Employees of other Federal agencies are allowed to occupy IHS housing during periods of extended vacancy.
    7. Short-term Occupancy.  Short-term basis is defined as occupancy of up to 90 days, which can be extended for an additional 90 days at the discretion of the CEO.  Short-term or temporary use of Government quarters is at the sole discretion of the CEO.  The occupancy must occur during periods of extended non-use of the quarters or in the interim pending disposal of the quarters.
    8. Non-Federal Tenants.  The CEO:
      1. May allow non-Federal tenants to occupy Government quarters at an IHS Service Unit on a short term basis to ensure the availability of suitable housing for personnel essential for the IHS health care delivery system.
      2. Can issue a 30-day termination notice for the non-Federal tenant to vacate the quarters unit if the unit is needed for a higher-priority occupant.
      3. Assignment priorities for the occupancy of quarters.
  3. Quarters Rent and Related Charges.  Quarters shall be occupied on a rental basis.  Rental rates for quarters provided for an occupant shall be paid by, or deducted from the pay of, the quarters occupant or otherwise charged to him/her in accordance with law. The amounts of payroll deductions for the rates and charges shall remain in the applicable appropriation or fund.  When payment of the rates and charges is made other than payroll deductions, the amounts of payment shall be credited to the Government as provided by law.
  4. Quarters Return Funds.  The QR funds are collected from the tenants of quarters.  Staff quarters operation, maintenance, and improvement costs are funded using the QR funds.  Quarters Return funds will be used for the operation, management, and general maintenance of quarters, including maintenance personnel services; security guard services; repairs to housing units and associated grounds; and the purchase of materials, supplies, and household appliances/equipment (e.g., stoves, water heaters, furnaces, etc.).  In certain situations, Maintenance and Improvement (M&I) funds may be used, in conjunction with QR funds, to ensure adequate quarters maintenance and repair; e.g., locations with few quarters where QR funds are not enough to pay for all required maintenance costs.
  5. Quarters Return Account.  Section 320, P.L. 98-473, as amended, provides for the establishment of an IHS QR account.  Section 320 requires that rents, utilities, and other charges collected from quarters occupants shall be deposited in a specific fund, to remain available until expended, for the maintenance and operation of the quarters.
    1. The QR funds collected at the Service Unit will be forwarded to the OFA on a monthly basis.
    2. The QR funds collected in the QR account are managed by the OFA.
    3. The OFA will only allocate the QR funds to the Area Office from which they were collected.
    4. The Area shall expend the QR funds only at the site where the funds were collected and the funds may be used only for the operation, maintenance, and repair of quarters units.
    5. Up to 25 percent of the funds collected may be transferred within the service unit or to another service unit for targeted maintenance and repairs that improve the overall condition of the staff quarters.
  6. Rent, Services, and Utilities.  All occupants (or sponsoring organization) of IHS quarters shall be assessed charges for rent, services, and utilities in accordance with revised OMB Circular No. A-45, "Rental and Construction of Government Quarters."
  7. Rental Rates.  The quarter's age, condition, location, size, amenities, and standards of construction, etc., are taken into consideration when rental rates are established.  The DOI, Interior Business Center (IBC) performs housing surveys that are used as the basis for calculating rent.  These rents are then loaded into iQMIS to calculate the rental rate for each unit and adjusted annually based on the CPI.  The iQMIS rent computation for the assigned unit may permit a rent reduction adjustment for isolation (excessive distance to the nearest established community) for occupancy by Federal employees.
    1. United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps Officers who occupy permanent quarters will receive their Basic Allowance for Housing and are required to pay for rent, utilities, and other services in the same manner as prescribed for Civil Service employees.
    2. Non-permanent staff tenants of IHS quarters designated as transient quarters are charged rent that includes all charges for rent, utilities, and other services.
    3. Civilian employees required to occupy Federal quarters may be eligible to exclude from their gross income for Federal income tax purposes the rent they paid.  The authority for the income tax deduction by the individual employee exists in Section 119 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954.

      Specific information concerning Internal Revenue Service criteria is contained in Manual Exhibit 5-13-B.

    4. For approved volunteers, the Service Unit department or program accepting the volunteer's services are responsible for payment of all charges for rent, utilities, and other services of the unit assigned. Or, approved volunteers may have their quarters rent obligations funded by the volunteer's organization.  However, this isolation rent reduction factor cannot be applied for units occupied by volunteers.
  8. Internet Quarters Management Information System.  The iQMIS system was developed by the DOI for establishing consistent rental rates for Government quarters.  The iQMIS database is managed by the DOI/IBC through an interagency agreement with the IHS.
    1. Quarters occupancy and rental collections data is managed using iQMIS.  The iQMIS contains a computerized inventory of IHS quarters and rental rates.  The ARM/HO in each Area with quarters responsibility is responsible for the accuracy of the data that includes:
      1. Building Inventory Data
      2. Rental Rate Data
      3. Tenant/Assignee Information
      4. Quarters Condition
      5. Occupancy/Non-Occupancy Term
    2. The annual IHS expenditure for the iQMIS is administered through the interagency memorandum of understanding with the DOI and paid by the Office of Management Services, Division of Acquisition Policy using a prorated share of the QR funds from each Area Office.
  9. Utilities at Government Quarters.
    1. Service Unit CEOs and Area facilities management staff shall coordinate efforts to ensure that each permanent housing unit and apartment unit in a multi-unit building is metered for electricity, gas, water, etc.  The meter readings shall be used as the basis for billing the quarters occupants for utility use, either directly by the utility companies or when the utilities are paid by the Service Unit.  Vendor supplied heating fuel shall be billed directly to the occupant.
    2. For certain fuels and other services that are infrequently procured in bulk by the Government and delivered to individual tenants, the Service Unit shall re-bill tenants on a use basis within two weeks of such deliveries.  Service Unit CEOs shall ensure that accounting practices correctly credit the appropriate accounts.
  10. Quarters Maintenance and Repair Program.
    1. Quarters Quality Rating.  The Quarters Quality Rating is used to evaluate both the interior and exterior condition of each housing unit.  Ratings are required to forecast maintenance and repair under the iQMIS program and to provide a basis in determining habitability of the unit.  A re-evaluation is made each time a unit is reconditioned and made available for occupancy.
    2. Safe and Acceptable Condition.  The ARM/HO and the Service Unit staff shall work closely with facility management staff to maintain all quarters in a safe and acceptable condition.
    3. Poor or Substandard/Obsolete Condition.  Ideally any quarters unit designated in 'poor' or 'substandard/obsolete' condition, as validated by the Facility Engineering Deficiency Report, will be repaired and upgraded to at least 'fair' condition within one year from the date of such designation where practical.

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