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

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     Indian Health Manual

Part 5 - Management Services

Chapter 31 - Mail Management

Title Section
Introduction 5-31.1
    Purpose 5-31.1A
    Background 5-31.1B
    Policy 5-31.1C
    Authority 5-31.1D
Responsibilities 5-31.2
    Headquarters 5-31.2A
    Area Offices 5-31.2B
    Service Units 5-31.2C
United Stated Postal Service Mail 5-31.3
Postage for Postal Services 5-31.4
    Payment for Postage 5-31.4A
    Payment Methods 5-31.4B
    Postage for Low Volume Mail 5-31.4C
Expedited (Overnight) Delivery Service 5-31.5
    Acquiring Overnight Delivery Services 5-31.5A
    Other Overnight Delivery Service Providers 5-31.5B
    Cost Reduction 5-31.5C
    Invoices 5-31.5D
Ground Service 5-31.6
Payment for Overnight and Ground Services 5-31.7
    Blanket Purchase Agreement 5-31.7A
    Decline T-Code 190 5-31.7B
    Purchase Card 5-31.7C
Express Messenger Service 5-31.8
Object Class Codes for Payment 5-31.9
Personal Mail 5-31.10
Mail Center Operations 5-31.11
    Centralized Processing 5-31.11A
    Customer Information 5-31.11B
    Processing USPS Mail 5-31.11C
    Delivery Tracking System 5-31.11D
    Mail Center Security 5-31.11E

Exhibit Description
Manual Exhibit 5-31-A "Reducing Mail Costs"
Manual Exhibit 5-31-B "Standard Address Abbreviations"
Manual Exhibit 5-31-C "Page 38902 and 38903 Federal Register, Appendix B to Part 102-192-Mail Center Security Plan"
Manual Exhibit 5-31-D "U.S. GSA Mail Center Security Guide"
Manual Exhibit 5-31-E "Best Practices for Mail Screening and Handling"

5-31.1  Introduction

  1. Purpose.  This chapter establishes Indian Health Service (IHS) policy and procedures for mail management.
  2. Background.  Mail management plays an important role in helping the IHS fulfill its mission.  This chapter is created to guide IHS staff through the mail management process and help them understand the purpose behind mail policies and procedures.  All IHS staff are responsible for complying with Federal mail regulations and ensure official mail is processed in a responsible manner.

    The mail center in any Federal Government facility is a major gateway into the Government agency. Reasonable measures in the normal practice of handling mail delivered by the United States Postal Service (USPS) and overnight express service providers must be taken to ensure a safe working environment.

  3. Policy.  It is IHS policy to examine IHS mailing activities, minimize mailing costs, and provide a safe work environment that is free from all recognized hazards.
  4. Authority
    1. Federal Management Regulation Subchapter G-Administrative Programs, Part 102-192 Mail Management Section 102-192 10
    2. Section 2 of Public Law 94-575, the Federal Records Management Amendments of 1976 (44 United States Code (U.S.C.) 3101-3104), as amended

5-31.2  RESPONSIBILITIES

  1. Headquarters.
    1. Director, Office of Management Services.  The Director, Office of Management Services (OMS) is responsible for administering the IHS Mail Program and ensures that it adheres to applicable Federal laws and regulations and operates in an economical and efficient manner.
    2. Director, Division of Administrative Services.  The Director, Division of Administrative Services (DAS), OMS, is responsible for designating an IHS Mail Manager to administer, provide support, and direct the IHS mail management program for Headquarters staff.
    3. Indian Health Service Mail Manager.  The IHS Mail Manager is responsible for the implementation and direction of the IHS mail management program.  The IHS Mail Manager is responsible for:
      1. Managing the IHS mail management program.
      2. Annually reviewing policies and procedures to provide for timely and cost-effective dispatch and delivery of mail.
      3. Ensuring the proper use of transportation, equipment, and supplies associated with mail operations.
      4. Ensuring personal mail in incoming, outgoing, and internal mail is minimized.
      5. Limiting the use of expedited or express mail and implement control procedures for cost-effective use of expedited or express mail.
      6. Ensuring the IHS mail management network is in compliance with mail management policies and procedures established by the General Services Administration (GSA), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the IHS.
      7. Ensuring IHS facilities are aware of and in compliance with standards and operational procedures established by all mail service providers (e.g., USPS, Federal Express (FedEx), United Parcel Service (UPS)) used by the agency.
      8. Ensuring IHS facilities use appropriate financial appropriation data to track mail costs separately from other administrative expenses.
      9. Ensuring IHS facilities have written security/safety plans for mail operations.
      10. Monitoring mail management activities through inspection and review methods to implement cost-effective improvements and/or to enhance performance of the Agency's mission.
      11. Providing mail management technical support, upon request, to IHS facilities.
    4. Headquarters Facility Mail Manager.  The Headquarters Facility Mail Manager will provide technical support and training to IHS Headquarters staff. The Headquarters Facility Mail Manager is responsible for:
      1. Implementing IHS mail management policies and procedures.
      2. Working with the DAS Director and IHS Mail Manager to ensure mail security is established in the Headquarters Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) and Headquarters emergency, security, and safety guidance policy.
      3. Taking the lead and providing assistance to the Headquarters COOP Team and the Headquarters emergency team in implementing mail security procedures during a drill or in an actual incident.
      4. Providing training and orientation to Headquarters staff on mail management practices including standards established by USPS and expedited service provider(s), (e.g., FedEx, UPS, etc.), to ensure outgoing mail meets all standards for weight, size, hazardous materials content, etc.
      5. Providing centralized control of all mail processing activities at the facility, including receipt of incoming expedited, ground, and courier shipments.
      6. Working with Headquarters programs to improve, streamline, and reduce the cost of mail practices by continually reviewing work processes and seeking opportunities for cost-effective change.
      7. Working with Headquarters programs that develop large mailings, to minimize postage and printing expenses.
      8. Ensuring Headquarters expedited mail and couriers are used only when necessary and cost-effective.
      9. Reviewing unauthorized use, loss, or theft of postage, including any unauthorized use of meter impressions or other postage imprints, use of expedited accounts, and reporting such incidents to the appropriate authority.
      10. Reviewing invoices from all service providers to ensure Headquarters is getting the reduced rates and discounts for all outgoing shipments.
      11. Ensuring invoices from all service providers are reconciled and paid on a timely basis.
      12. Maintaining records of mail volume and mail expenditures for reporting requirements and budgeting.
      13. Keeping up with current technologies that could be applied to reduce mailing costs.
  2. Area Offices.
    1. Area Directors.  Each Area Director shall implement and operate a mail management program in accordance with HHS and IHS policy.  The Area Director shall:
      1. Designate an Area Mail Manager to coordinate and monitor the Area Mail Management Program; and
      2. Submit a copy of the Area Mail Manager Designation or re-designation to the IHS Mail Manager.
    2. Area Mail Manager.  The Area Mail Manager is responsible for:
      1. Ensuring Area-wide awareness and compliance with established IHS Mail Management Program policies and procedures.
      2. Providing training and orientation to Area Office staff, Service Unit and Health Center (SU/HC) Facility Mail Managers, and Area field office mail center staff on mail management practices including standards established by USPS and expedited service providers.
      3. Providing centralized control of all mail processing activities at the Area Office, including receipt of incoming expedited, ground, and courier shipments.
      4. Working with the appropriate Area programs to ensure mail security is established in the Area COOP and appropriate Area emergency, security, and safety policies and procedures.
      5. Taking the lead and providing assistance to the Area COOP Team and appropriate Area emergency team in implementing mail security procedures during a drill or in an actual incident.
      6. Working with Area programs to improve, streamline, and reduce the cost of mail practices by continually reviewing work processes and seeking opportunities for cost-effective change.
      7. Working with Area and Service Unit programs that develop large mailings, to minimize postage and printing expenses.
      8. Working with SU/HC and Field Office mail center staff to recognize and review work processes to improve, streamline, and reduce the cost of mail practices and seek opportunities for cost-effective change.
      9. Ensuring Area Office expedited mail and couriers are used only when necessary and cost-effective.
      10. Reviewing unauthorized use, loss, or theft of postage, including any unauthorized use of meter impressions or other postage imprints, use of expedited accounts, and reporting such incidents to the Area Administrative Officer, Executive Officer, Department Inspector General, or other appropriate authority.
      11. Reviewing invoices from all service providers to ensure the Area Office is getting reduced rates and discounts for all outgoing shipments.
      12. Ensuring invoices from all service providers are reconciled and paid on a timely basis.
      13. Maintaining records of mail volume and expenditures for reporting requirements and budgeting.
      14. Keeping up with current technologies that could be applied to reduce mailing costs.
      15. Providing mail management technical support to the Area Office, SU/HC, and Field Office mail center staff upon request.
  3. Service Units.  A mail management program shall be implemented and operated in each IHS Service Unit in accordance with IHS policy.
    1. Chief Executive Officer.  The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) shall:
      1. Designate a SU/HC Facility Mail Manager to coordinate and monitor the SU or HC Mail Management Program.
      2. Submit a copy of the designation or re-designation to the IHS Mail Manager through the Area Mail Manager.
    2. Service Unit/Health Center Facility Mail Manager. The SU/HC Facility Mail Manager is responsible for:
      1. Ensuring SU/HC mail center staff are aware and comply with established IHS Mail Management Program policies and procedures.
      2. Providing orientation to SU/HC support staff on mail management practices including standards established by USPS and expedited service providers to ensure outgoing mail meets all standards for weight, size, hazardous materials content, etc.
      3. Providing centralized control of all SU/HC mail processing activities, including receipt of incoming expedited, ground, and courier shipments.
      4. Working with the SU/HC Administrative Officer (AO) to ensure mail security is established in the SU/HC COOP and the SU/HC emergency, security, and safety policies and procedures.
      5. Taking the lead and providing assistance to the SU/HC COOP Team and appropriate emergency team in implementing mail security procedures during a drill or in an actual incident.
      6. Working with SU/HC staff to improve, streamline, and reduce the cost of mail practices by continually reviewing work processes and seeking opportunities for cost-effective change.
      7. Working with SU/HC programs that develop large mailings, to minimize postage and printing expenses.
      8. Ensuring SU/HC expedited mail and couriers are used only when necessary and cost-effective.
      9. Reviewing unauthorized use, loss, or theft of postage, including any unauthorized use of meter impressions or other postage imprints, use of expedited accounts, and reporting such incidents to the SU/HC CEO and/or Area Office Mail Manager, or other appropriate authority.
      10. Reviewing invoices from all service providers to ensure the SU/HC is getting reduced rates and discounts for all outgoing shipments.
      11. Ensuring invoices from all service providers are reconciled and paid on a timely basis.
      12. Maintaining records of mail volume and mail expenditures for budgeting and reporting requirements.
      13. Keeping up with current technologies that could be applied to reduce mailing costs.
      14. Providing mail management technical support to clinic and field office staff upon request.

5-31.3  UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE MAIL

This policy does not provide detailed guidance on how to ship mail through the USPS mail system.  It is the responsibility of each mail center staff to become familiar with the USPS standards outlined in the USPS Domestic Mail Manual (DMM).  The DMM provides the official rates and standards for all domestic mail services provided by the USPS.  The DMM can be found on the USPS Website at http://www.USPS.com.  Manual Exhibit 5-31-A provides information on mail practices to reduce mail costs.  (For standard address abbreviations see Manual Exhibit 5-31-B.)

5-31.4  POSTAGE FOR POSTAL SERVICES

  1. Payment for Postage.  The USPS requires payment for postage before the mail is released and/or postage is downloaded to the postage meter.  This practice may necessitate IHS facilities deposit large dollar amounts in their postage meter account(s) prior to mailing.  All IHS facilities should exercise sound cash management principles to allow them to efficiently manage their postal usage and maintain funds in the Treasury's account for as long as possible.
  2. Payment Methods.  The IHS facilities will pay for postage using one of the following methods.
    1. The U.S. Treasury Intergovernmental Payment and Collection Payment process associated with the Official Mail Accounting System.
    2. The USPS Centralized Account Processing System associated with commercial payment.
    3. The automated clearing house-electronic funds transfer, or another Treasury approved means of paying the vendor.
  3. Postage for Low Volume Mail.  All IHS facilities that do not qualify for a postage meter due to low outgoing mail volume and/or the facility is in a remote location may use:
    1. Stamps.  Rolls of first-class stamps may be purchased from the Post Office.  Facilities using stamps must keep a log to account for stamps purchased and used.  Stamps will be kept under lock and key at all times.  Any unauthorized use or theft shall be reported to the facility administrator and Area Mail Manager.  Consult with the local procurement office to determine the appropriate payment method to purchase postage stamps.
    2. Electronic Personal Computer Postage Technology. Personal computer (PC) postage allows a facility to print postage directly from the computer for mail except periodicals.  All PC Postage software and services are leased from USPS authorized providers.

5-31.5  EXPEDITED (OVERNIGHT) DELIVERY SERVICE

Expedited (overnight) delivery service refers to items delivered to its final destination within 24-hours from pickup time by a service provider, such as, Federal Express (FedEx), United Parcel Service (UPS), DHL, Airborne, etc.  All IHS facilities shall use discretion when using an overnight delivery service.  (Note:  The acronym "DHL" represent the first letter of the surnames (Dalsey, Hillblom, and Lynn) of the founders of DHL Worldwide Express.)

  1. Acquiring Overnight Delivery Services.  All IHS facilities shall acquire overnight delivery service from providers who are under the Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative (FSSI) Domestic Delivery Services (DDS).  The FSSI DDS solution provides agencies with a range of delivery options as well as streamlined acquisition, data analytics, and dedicated customer service.
  2. Other Overnight Delivery Service Providers.  If the FSSI DDS solution provider is not able to provide IHS required services, other overnight delivery service providers, on the GSA contract, may be used.  However, approval is required from the Chief Contracting Officer prior to using other overnight delivery service providers.
  3. Cost Reduction.  Standard overnight delivery (or next afternoon delivery) shall be used when possible.  Always weigh the items and record/enter the weight on the air-bill.  Ensure the facility name and account numbers are pre-printed on the air-bill.  Have mail center staff review all outgoing overnight packages to ensure air-bills are completed correctly and standard delivery (or next afternoon delivery) is selected.  (See Manual Exhibit 5-31-A for additional methods of reducing mail costs.)
  4. Invoices.  Mail center staff shall evaluate invoices to ensure IHS is getting reduced GSA rates and discounts for all its expedited shipments.

5-31.6  GROUND SERVICE

Domestic ground service is routine delivery of items 1 to 150 pounds.  Delivery is within 1 to 7 business days depending upon the zip code destination.  Remote locations may require longer delivery time.  Some GSA contract overnight service providers offer guarantee ground service as an alternative to overnight services.  (See standard address abbreviations:  Manual Exhibit 5-31-B.)

5-31.7  PAYMENT FOR OVERNIGHT AND GROUND SERVICES

  1. Blanket Purchase Agreement.  The GSA awarded a Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA), under the FSSI DDS, to UPS to provide domestic express delivery services.  Services rendered under this BPA do not require a separate IHS award nor do they require creation of direct obligations.  As a result, invoices for UPS services may be entered to obligate and pay invoices using the Treasury (T) Code 190 method.  All IHS facilities are encouraged to use the T-Code 190 method.
  2. Decline T-Code 190.  If an IHS facility elects not to use the T-Code 190 method that facility may continue to use the standard requisitioning and purchase order process.
  3. Purchase Card.  Express or ground shipment accounts shall not be set up for automatic billing to a purchase card.  Purchase cards may be used for individual delivery transactions on an exception basis using the standard requisitioning and approval process.  Purchase cardholders should consult with the Area Chief Contracting Officer prior to the use of purchase card to pay express and ground shipments.

5-31.8  EXPRESS MESSENGER SERVICE

An express messenger service is a person or a company who delivers messages, letters, and packages within the same day.  As a premium service, express messenger service is more expensive, and their use shall be restricted to delivery of items considered important enough to warrant the cost.

5-31.9  OBJECT CLASS CODES FOR PAYMENT

The following object class codes will be used to obligate and disburse funds for mail and package service activities.

     
23314 USPS Postage and express mail service (Overnight mail see 22301)

23315 Postage meter and mailing machine equipment rental

23316 Post office box rentals

23311 Contractual Mail Service (use only when IHS mail is processed by a contractual mail service provider.  This does not include print jobs.)

23312 Express Messenger Service

23301 Overnight mail and ground service (FedEx, UPS, DHL, etc.)

5-31.10   PERSONAL MAIL

All IHS mail is for official Federal government business only.  Incoming or outgoing personal mail will not be processed.

5-31.11   MAIL CENTER OPERATIONS

  1. Centralized Processing.  Outgoing, incoming and internal mail shall be processed, received and distributed from a centralized location in the facility.  Overnight and ground service providers shall deliver all shipments to a centralized location.
  2. Customer Information.  All IHS mail centers shall develop and provide a mail service guide providing information including the hours of operation, distribution trip schedules, drop-off locations, close-out times for outgoing USPS mail, overnight shipments, and other applicable mail center information.  The mail service guide will be made available to all facility staff.
  3. Processing USPS Mail.  Only mail center staff shall operate mail equipment and apply postage to all outgoing USPS mail.
  4. Delivery Tracking System.  All IHS mail centers shall establish a delivery tracking system requiring a signature at the final point of delivery for certified mail, overnight, and ground shipments.  By establishing a delivery tracking system with offices, better accountability will be established.
  5. Mail Center Security.  The mail center is the central receiving and distribution location for all incoming and outgoing mail and packages.  There is a wide range of potential threats that can be introduced into an IHS facility by way of the mail center.  All IHS mail centers shall establish a mail center security plan specific to their facility operations.  To assist IHS facilities in creating their mail security plan, below are helpful resources.
    1. The Federal Register, Volume 67, No. 109, dated Thursday June 6, 2002, Appendix B to Part 102-192-Mail Center Security Plan, provides guidance on what should be included in a mail center security plan.  (See Manual Exhibit 5-31-C.)
    2. The USPS has information on identifying and responding to security threats in mail centers.  The information can be found at the following website:  https://about.usps.com/securing-the-mail/mail-security-center.htm.
    3. The GSA issued a mail security guide for all Federal agencies to use.  (See Manual Exhibit 5-31-D.)
    4. The Best Practices for Mail Screening and Handling (See Manual Exhibit 5-31-E.) document is designed to provide mail center managers, their supervisors, and security personnel with a framework for understanding and mitigating risks posed to an organization by the mail and packages received and delivered on a daily basis.

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