|(a) STAP vendors shall comply with all applicable rules,
policies, procedures, and laws governing STAP to remain eligible to
participate in and receive reimbursement under STAP.
(b) Any STAP vendor failing to comply with subsection
(a) of this section may be denied reimbursement.
(c) STAP vendors shall supply only new equipment that
was purchased by the STAP vendor directly from a supplier.
(d) STAP vendors cannot receive STAP reimbursement
(1) used equipment;
(2) equipment paid for directly by a customer;
(3) vouchers on which the vendor or one of the vendor's
employees are also the named certifier before written approval by
(4) vouchers that are not properly completed or redeemed
in accordance with the voucher terms, conditions, and instructions;
(5) returned equipment and requests to terminate services;
(6) vouchers that are not claimed in the ODHHS STAP
claiming system by the vendor in accordance with this subchapter,
STAP policies, and STAP procedures; or
(7) vouchers on which the certifier is working for
or on behalf of the vendor and the certifier has violated or is under
pending review or investigation for alleged violations of HHSC, PUC
or other rules, policies, or laws regulating STAP.
(e) STAP vendors shall allow voucher recipients to
return equipment that was not damaged when the voucher recipient originally
took possession, or stop a service without penalty, if the voucher
recipient attempts to return the equipment or requests that the service
be terminated within 30 calendar days after receipt of the equipment
(1) STAP vendors that can show they have made reasonable
but unsuccessful attempts to retrieve or accept the return of the
equipment from the voucher recipient, are not required to accept the
return beyond the 30 calendar day requirement.
(2) STAP vendors shall document any attempts to accept
or retrieve equipment returned by the recipient.
(f) STAP vendors shall provide a voucher recipient
with a receipt if equipment is returned or service is terminated.
(g) STAP vendors must contact ODHHS within 10 calendar
days after equipment is returned or service is requested to be stopped
in the event that equipment is returned, service is unused, or service
is requested to be terminated by the STAP voucher recipient within
30 calendar days from voucher exchange date.
(h) STAP vendors must reimburse TUSF within 30 calendar
days after equipment is returned or service is requested to be stopped,
if equipment is returned, service is unused, or service is requested
to be terminated by the STAP voucher recipient within 30 calendar
days from voucher exchange date.
(i) STAP vendors shall not submit a voucher for reimbursement
before 10 calendar days from the date of the voucher exchange and
before the equipment or services is delivered.
(j) STAP vendors shall provide efficient delivery of
equipment or access to services no later than 10 calendar days after
the voucher claim or communication with the STAP voucher recipient
when the equipment or service will be delivered.
(k) STAP vendors shall provide STAP voucher recipients
information on, instructions to, or demonstration of the use and setup
of the equipment as appropriate to help recipients understand how
to use and set up the equipment before completing the sale and submitting
the voucher for reimbursement.
(l) STAP vendors shall ensure that when they work with
or act as STAP certifiers, appropriate equipment is selected for the
(m) STAP vendors shall not assess a STAP voucher recipient
an additional fee, cost, or penalty, in addition to the STAP vendor
price, except a reasonable shipping cost for mail orders, when a STAP
voucher recipient purchases equipment or services with a STAP voucher.
(n) STAP vendors shall notify ODHHS in writing at least
60 calendar days before the intended effective date of any change
in legal entity status, such as ownership or control, name change,
federal or state legal status, bank routing information, or contact
(o) STAP vendors shall retain records related to STAP,
including purchase of the equipment or service exchanged, and the
distribution or delivery of equipment or service to the voucher recipient
for a minimum of six years from the date of the voucher exchange.
(p) STAP vendors shall allow ODHHS to conduct an audit,
investigation, and STAP oversight of their business.
(1) During the six-year retention period, STAP vendors
shall permit ODHHS, the State Auditor's Office, PUC, or their successor
agencies, to conduct an audit or investigation of the STAP vendor
in connection with funds received for reimbursement of a STAP voucher.
STAP vendors will provide any books, documents, papers, and records
that are pertinent to the exchange of a STAP voucher, for the purpose
of conducting audits, examinations, or investigations, or for the
production of excerpts and transcriptions.
(2) STAP vendors shall cooperate fully in an audit,
examination, investigation, funds validation, or in the production
of excerpts and transcriptions.
(3) STAP vendors shall provide documentation from third
parties reflecting equipment or services purchased and the purchase
price and records showing sales to non-STAP consumers.
(4) STAP vendors shall permit ODHHS staff during any
on-site monitoring visits to review all records and management control
systems relevant to the exchange of a STAP voucher.
(5) STAP vendors shall remedy, within 30 calendar days
of notice, any weaknesses, deficiencies, or STAP noncompliance found
as a result of a review, audit, or investigation as well as performance
or fiscal exceptions found by ODHHS, the State Auditor's Office, PUC,
any successor agencies, or any duly authorized representatives of
(6) STAP vendors shall refund disallowed costs or billed
amounts or pay any other appropriate sanctions or penalties imposed
by ODHHS directly to TUSF.
(q) STAP vendors shall provide to the STAP voucher
recipient, all equipment or services as authorized on the voucher.
(r) STAP vendors shall ensure that individuals authorized
to sign a STAP voucher receive training provided by ODHHS before signing
or exchanging a STAP voucher.
(s) STAP vendors shall not stamp, label, or affix any
company information on any STAP-related promotional materials or applications
as a form of marketing.
(t) STAP vendors must exchange or receive reimbursement
for at least one STAP voucher during the most recent six-month period.
Failure to do so may result in automatic removal from the list of
eligible STAP vendors.
(u) STAP vendors shall ensure that the vendor's advertised
purchase price for equipment or services is not arbitrarily inflated.
(v) STAP vendors shall be accessible by telephone and
in-person to provide assistance under STAP, including inquiries and
complaints during standard business hours. Service representatives
shall respond within 72 hours or 3 business days after the request
for assistance is made, whichever occurs first. If a representative
is not available to answer the telephone, an automated answering message
system must provide callers with the vendor's company name and hours
of operation and allow callers to leave a message.
(w) STAP vendors shall maintain a website displaying
current equipment and services available by the vendor for purchase
with a STAP voucher, in an easy-to-understand format. Website information
(1) the make, model, and cost to the STAP voucher recipient,
or the cost above the established STAP equipment value for each equipment
sold by the vendor under a STAP voucher;
(2) specific named services and cost to the STAP voucher
recipient, or the cost above the established STAP equipment value
for each named service;
(3) a description of equipment or service sufficient
to cover functionality of the equipment needed for persons with disabilities
in accessing the telephone networks; and
(4) contact information, including physical business
location, hours of service, and email address.
(x) STAP vendors shall maintain a required inventory
for demonstration purposes as established by ODHHS and ensure equipment
or service from that inventory is made available to STAP voucher recipients
for each voucher that the vendor intends to exchange for a STAP voucher.
Vendors shall comply with the inventory requirements of newly added
inventory within 30 calendar days after notice by ODHHS. STAP vendors
shall update their websites within 10 calendar days after the date
their inventory has been updated.