Chapter 21: Transportation Services

21.1 Overview

This chapter outlines general transportation guidelines, when to provide transportation, transportation providers, and different types of transportation for consumers.

21.2 General Transportation Guidelines

Transportation consists of travel and related expenses that are necessary for a consumer to:

  • participate in a service provided by the CRS program under an Individualized Written Rehabilitation Plan; or
  • be assessed to determine eligibility.

Transportation of a consumer for any purpose must be by the most economical and effective carrier.

State law prohibits the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts from issuing a transportation warrant directly to a person who owes the state or federal government delinquent taxes or a defaulted debt (for example, a Texas Guaranteed Student Loan).

Transportation warrants are mailed directly to the consumer or third party payee. In exceptional circumstances and only with the CRS program manager’s approval, to the field office.

21.3 Transportation Providers

Public Carrier

A public carrier is a vehicle or fleet of vehicles in the business of transporting the public; for example, city transit service, airline (see Chapter 24: Purchasing Goods and Services for Consumers and 21.6: Planning and Processing Central Billing for Consumer Airfare, bus company, and taxi company.

Private or Third-Party Carrier

A private carrier is a vehicle not customarily for hire, owned by a person or private organization other than the consumer. For example, you may pay the consumer's family member, a neighbor, or a residential service provider to transport the consumer if he or she has no car or is otherwise unable to drive because of his or her disability and has no access to other, less expensive transportation.

21.4 Transporting the Consumer in a Staff Member's Personal Vehicle

Transport the consumer in your personal vehicle only when transporting the consumer coincides with travel when performing your regular duties or if a sudden, urgent, unexpected, and usually dangerous situation that calls for immediate action exists. If neither of these situations exists, do not transport the consumer in your personal vehicle. Do not accept reimbursement from the consumer.

Exercise particular care when transporting a consumer in your personal vehicle. Under the Texas Tort Claims Act, a CRS program staff member can be liable if the consumer is injured because of a wrongful act or the negligence of the CRS program staff member. The CRS program staff member must exercise the degree of care that a reasonable and prudent person would exercise under the same circumstances.

Notify your CRS program manager in advance if it is necessary to transport the consumer in a CRS program staff member's personal vehicle.

21.5 Types of Transportation

There are two types of maintenance: recurring transportation and nonrecurring transportation.

You may authorize and pay transportation in advance.

Types of Transportation

Transportation Type

When Provided

Limits

Required Documentation

Recurring transportation

Recurring payments to the consumer or a third party to offset the consumer's ongoing expenses that are necessary for the consumer to participate in CRS assessments or to receive the services identified in the consumer’s Individualized Written Rehabilitation Plan (IWRP).

Actual cost to consumer for public transportation.

Actual mileage multiplied by a maximum of .55 cents per mile, when paid directly to a private or third party.

Actual mileage multiplied by a maximum of .21 cents per mile,* not to exceed $50 per week, when paid directly to a consumer.

A service justification case note that includes calculations and identifies the source used to define "actual mileage"

Verification of the consumer’s financial participation in the cost of the service

Nonrecurring transportation

One-time payment to the consumer or a third party for transportation that is necessary for the consumer to participate in CRS assessments or to receive services identified in the consumer’s IWRP.

Manager approval required over $400.

If the payment is over $400, contact the CRS program manager to have the consumer established as a provider.

For nonrecurring transportation that exceeds $400, do not use the temporary Social Security number (automatically created by ReHabWorks when the consumer’s is not known) to create a service record.

A service justification case note that includes calculations and identifies the source used to define "actual mileage"

Verification of the consumer’s financial participation in the cost of the service

21.6 Planning and Processing Central Billing for Consumer Airfare

Central Billing

Consumer airfare purchases are completed using the Consumer Central Billed Account (CBA).

Using the CBA for consumer airfare purchases allows caseload-carrying staff members to purchase consumer airfare at state-contracted rates.

In addition to reducing airfare costs for consumer travel, using the CBA has the following benefits:

  • Advance purchase is not necessary.
  • There is no minimum or maximum length of stay.
  • Tickets are 100 percent refundable if cancelled or unused.

When using the CBA, reservations must be made at least 14 days in advance and ticketed at least seven days in advance to allow for review and to ensure that the itinerary is acceptable to the consumer. For travel being requested during holiday periods, reservations should be made 30 days in advance.

Requesting Consumer Air Travel

The caseload-carrying staff member or designee must:

  1. complete and sign a DARS1762, Central Billing Request for Consumer Airfare, and include the service authorization number in the “comments” field;
  2. email the signed DARS 1762 to Accounting Group—Consumer Airfare Team at consumerairfare@dars.state.tx.us; or
  3. fax the signed DARS1762 to General Accounting—Consumer Airfare Team at (512) 424-4360.

Note on the DARS1762 any special needs or requirements the consumer or passenger may have. For example, document if the consumer:

  • needs to be on a specific flight in order to travel with a group;
  • requires accommodations; or
  • requires special seating (describe the circumstances).

Procedure

The following procedure is used to book and verify the travel:

  1. Accounting Group—the Consumer Airfare Team authorizes the charge to the Consumer CBA.
  2. The travel agency:
    • books the airfare; and
    • emails the reservation and ticket confirmation itinerary to the Accounting Group—Consumer Airfare Team.
  3. Accounting Group - Consumer Airfare Team:
    • maintains a printed copy of the itinerary in the Consumer CBA; and
    • forwards the confirmation by email to you (the CRS staff person who requested the travel).
  4. You must respond by email to the DARS Consumer Airfare mailbox to confirm that the forwarded itinerary is acceptable.
  5. Upon confirming the itinerary as acceptable, complete a service record and service authorization using the date, purchase price, and fees information provided.
  6. Do not authorize the service authorization for payment at this time.
  7. At the airport, the consumer or passenger must provide:
  8. Once the consumer travel is shown on the bank statement you will receive a mass email from the Accounting Group staff paying the bank statement. The email will show consumers that traveled within that bank statement period, and will instruct you to add the service authorization number in the appropriate column for your consumer.
  9. The accounting staff accountant will verify and audit the service authorization and then reply back when you can receive and authorize payment for the consumers travel.

Creating the Service Record and SA

When you (the CRS program staff member who requested travel) receive confirmation of travel information from General Accounting—Consumer Airfare Team, you must complete a service record and service authorization in ReHabWorks. (See ReHabWorks Users Guide, Chapter 16 Case Service Record, 16.2.10 Consumer Airfare for details.)

Processing the Payment

In order for Accounting Group—Consumer Airfare Team to process payment for consumer travel, you (the CRS program staff member) must have created the service record and service authorization in ReHabWorks.

If any discrepancies are noted between the service record, service authorization, and/or invoice received by Accounting Group—Consumer Airfare Team, it will email you to resolve any differences.

Cancelled Flights

All flight itineraries are paid with a HHSC CBA credit card. If the consumer's ticket requires cancellation, you (the CRS program staff member who requested the travel) must notify Accounting Group—Consumer Airfare Team immediately by email at DARS Consumer Airfare or by phone at 1-866-440-0423, press option 7 for immediate assistance.

The following responsibilities and conditions apply:

  • Accounting Group—Consumer Airfare Team is responsible for contacting the travel agency to cancel the travel request.
  • If a consumer changes or cancels a flight itinerary in anyway, at any time for any reason, any additional costs incurred will be the responsibility of the consumer to pay.
  • You are responsible for closing the service authorization in ReHabWorks.
  • For Short's Travel itineraries, there is a cancellation fee.

Air Travel Questions

If you have questions about consumer airfare procedures, contact General Accounting—Consumer Airfare Team for clarification and/or assistance by: