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:
- complete and sign a DARS1762, Central Billing Request for Consumer Airfare, and include the service authorization number in the “comments” field;
- email the signed DARS 1762 to Accounting Group—Consumer Airfare Team at email@example.com; or
- 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).
The following procedure is used to book and verify the travel:
- Accounting Group—the Consumer Airfare Team authorizes the charge to the Consumer CBA.
- The travel agency:
- books the airfare; and
- emails the reservation and ticket confirmation itinerary to the Accounting Group—Consumer Airfare Team.
- 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).
- You must respond by email to the DARS Consumer Airfare mailbox to confirm that the forwarded itinerary is acceptable.
- Upon confirming the itinerary as acceptable, complete a service record and service authorization using the date, purchase price, and fees information provided.
- Do not authorize the service authorization for payment at this time.
- At the airport, the consumer or passenger must provide:
- the itinerary or confirmation number; and
- a valid driver's license, photo ID, or other acceptable proof of identification. Acceptable forms of identification may be found at the following link: http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/acceptable_documents.shtm.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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:
- email at DARS Consumer Airfare; or
- phone at 1-866-440-0423, press option 7.