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Understanding the State and Tribe Contract and the CARS Payment Process

The Department of Health Services (DHS) and tribal governments of Wisconsin have a long-standing contractual relationship. The Tribal Affairs Office is responsible for facilitating and coordinating the contracting process between DHS and the 11 federally recognized tribes, as well as the Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council, Inc. (GLITC), and the Gerald L. Ignace Indian Health Center, Inc. (GLIIHC).

The frequently asked questions listed below have been created to answer some of the general questions regarding the State and Tribe Contract and the CARS process. If you have additional questions, see DHS Tribal Affairs Office: Contract Information or Contact Us.

“State and Tribe Base Contract” is defined as approved contract language that covers a three year period. The contract language is reviewed annually by program experts and an assigned attorney. The “State and Tribe Base Contract” is issued on a Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) October 1 through September 30 time frame. It requires approval and signatures of the designated representative from both the state and the tribe.

Each year of the three year period there may be minor language changes that include clarifications, updates, deletions, or additions. Annual changes within the three year period will be issued as a contract amendment and require either approval and signatures of the designated representative from both the state and the tribe, or the designated representative from the state only.

CARS is the DHS system for processing contracts and reimbursing expenses for all providers including tribes. CARS records all expenses reported by providers and calculates payments. Internet expenditure payment reports are generated each month. These reports are available to all providers that are under contract with DHS.

The CARS payment process begins with an approved and signed contract. After receipt of the signed contract, payments for expenses will be issued to tribes on the fifth (5th), or the first working day after the fifth each month.

  1. A Cover Letter from the Tribal Affairs Office Director to Tribal Leadership outlining:
    • Timelines;
    • Funding changes or updates;
    • New program requirements;
    • Current program changes and/or updates; and
    • Document return procedures.
  2. The three-year base State and Tribe Contract, or annual contract language changes.
  3. 12.01 Certification Regarding Lobbying form. This form is required by the federal government to be completed/signed annually by all DHS grantees and kept on file at DHS.
  4. Exhibit 1 – annual funding allocation amounts. This document details:
    • The time period of the funding;
    • Program name;
    • Reporting CARS Profile IDs;
    • Contract line CARS Profile IDs; and
    • Annual funding allocations.
  5. Appendix A – the Business Associate Agreement (BAA) form – This form is required to be completed annually and is defined as a business associate as a person or entity that provides certain functions, activities, or services for or to a covered entity involving the use and/or disclosure of protected health information.
  6. If applicable, Appendix BAdministration of Income Maintenance (IM) Programs – not all tribes administer IM programs. Appendix B outlines program administration details. IM Programs include: FoodShare, Wisconsin Medicaid and BadgerCare Plus.
  7. If applicable, Appendix CAdministration of FoodShare Employment and Training (FSET) Program – not all tribes administer the FSET program. This appendix states the terms and conditions under which the tribal FSET agency will provide employment and training services to participants in Wisconsin FoodShare.
  8. Additional Program Specific Terms and Conditions – These documents are program specific and do not require a signature.

An amendment is the legal document that redefines the terms stated in Exhibit I of the tribal contract. An amendment is issued after Exhibit I has been approved and signed by both parties.

A contract amendment is issued under the following criteria:

  1. Funds have increased, the initial contract period has changed, or funds are carried over from a previous contract period to the current contract period. These contract changes are processed through a unilateral contract amendment (one sided).
  2. Funds have decreased for a program. These contract amendments are required to be signed by both the State and the Tribal authorized representatives (two-sided).
  3. Contract language has been updated. These contract amendments are required to be signed by both the State and the Tribal authorized representatives.

An addendum is issued when new funding is awarded after Exhibit I has already been approved and signed by both parties.

A contract addendum is issued under the following criteria and it requires a signature from both the State and Tribal authorized representative:

  1. The funds are “new” and are awarded after the State and Tribe contact is already approved and signed.
  2. Funds are issued on a timeline that is neither FFY nor CY.
  3. Division program and/or fiscal staff recommend that the funds are not issued as part of the State and Tribe contract.

CARS Profile ID Number

A Profile ID number is a five (5) digit number used by the Community Aids Reporting System to identify funding and program requirements. Tribal Profile IDs are issued within a range of 65 thousand to 66 thousand nine hundred and ninety nine (65000 through 66999) range. The correct program Profile ID number to use to report expenditures is listed under the column heading labeled “Expenditure Reporting Profile Line” in the CARS table within Exhibit 1, an addendum, or an amendment.

CARS Agency Number

The CARS agency number is a unique eight (8) digit number that has been assigned to each tribe by DHS. This agency number does not change from year to year.

CARS Agency Type

The first digit of your agency type is based on the contract year end date (6 = 2016; 7 = 2017). This digit changes each year. The “70” represents tribal governments and will not change. For example:

For tribal contracts ending in 2016 – Type 670

For tribal contracts ending in 2017 – Type 770

For tribal contracts ending in 2018 – Type 870

Payment Controls

A payment control is defined as funding the amount of funds that DHS has available each State Fiscal Year (SFY) July 1 through June 30. For Tribal programs that include state General Purpose Revenue (GPR) payment controls are either 9-month for a FFY contract and 6-month for a CY contract.

Contract Funding Periods

The standard contract period for funding is either October 1 through September 30 (FFY), or January 1 through December 31 (CY) of each year for tribal governments. Note that if there is a different contract period for a program than it will be clearly identified within the CARS table in the contract document. It is mandatory to report expenses within the contract period that has been identified within the CARS table. If expenses are reported outside of the contract period they will not be paid.

CARS Prepayments Changes

DHS will cease issuing prepayments for all DHS grant contracts ending on or after January 1, 2017.

CARS Expenditure Report Basics

It is the responsibility of the tribe receiving funds to submit timely and accurate CARS Expenditure Reports in accordance with reporting instructions.

Expenditure reports are due one month after the end of the month for which the report is being submitted, e.g., January's report is due March 1st.

It is very important to be aware that the CARS Unit will accept “Original,” “Additional,” and “Final” expenditure reports. The CARS Unit will not accept “Revised,” “Replacement,” or “Updated” expenditure reports.

Keep in mind that reported expenditures should always be supported by adequate documentation and reconciled with tribal accounting records on a timely basis. Note that it is not necessary to include these documents when submitting tribal expenditure reports to DHS.

Standardizing CARS Expenditure Report Submittal Process

  1. In order to be processed, the completed CARS expenditure report must be e-mailed to:
  2. The CARS Unit requires that the subject line of the e-mail reads as follows:

Agency # - Agency Type – Month Year – Tribe Name

Example: 10100000-670-January 2016-Wisconsin Tribe Name

  1. All expenses that fall within the same reporting period for the same agency type (670, 770, 870) should be submitted on one CARS Expenditure Report

CARS Expenditure Report “Final” Reporting Period

The standard language in the Base Three Year State and Tribe contract is stated as follows:

“The Tribe shall submit their “Final” CARS expenditure report within ninety (90) days of the end of the funding period identified in Exhibit I, or depending on the funding source, a thirty (30) or sixty (60) “Final” end of funding period CARS expenditure report may be required. The Department may make no further payment if the “Final” CARS expenditure report or any previous monthly CARS expenditure report is not received by this deadline. The Department will notify the Tribe of a 30 or 60 day deadline requirement. “

The tribe should submit only one (1) “Final” expenditure report. This expenditure report should be marked on the top of the form as “Final.” If an additional “Final” expenditure report is necessary, a tribe will need to contact a staff person in the CARS Unit for approval.

DHS Procedures in Processing Late Expenditure Reports

According to contract language, late expenditure reports will not be processed after the 60 or 90 day closeout period. The CARS processing date is in the middle of each month. If an extension is necessary, a tribe will need to contact the TAO Fiscal Manager for prior approval. For example:

  • A contract funding period ends September 30
  • The contract close out period ends December 30 (90 day standard)
  • Tribal "Final" Report due by January 12
  • CARS processing date is January 15
  • Approval is required to extend the December 30 close out period to last working day before CARS processing date of January 15

CARS Contract Closeout Schedule

Starting the month that the contract ends (as an example September 30), if reported expenses are 75% or less of the total contract amount, the CARS Unit sends an email to the tribal contact identifying the underspending.

In Most Cases, State General Purpose Revenue (GPR) Cannot be Carried Forward

Unless Statutory language specifies differently, expenditures and balances in annual GPR appropriations must be reconciled at year end, and unencumbered balances "shall revert to the general fund" (s. 20.001 (3) (a) of Wisconsin Statutes). Lapsing amounts must be determined and certified to the Department of Administration each year.

If Approved by the Funding Agency, Carryovers Cannot Be Processed Until After the Closeout Period

Contracts with tribes shall be closed timely in accordance with contract terms, policies, and program rules/regulations. A contract is to be closed when the “Final” expenditure report is received, or on the due date of the “Final” expenditure report, as specified in the contract, whichever is earlier.

In order to approve carryover requests all accounting records need to be finalized and closed. The majority of approved funding carryovers from the original contract period to the current contract period are processed on a statewide basis rather than on an individual agency basis. Due to this requirement, funding program carryover requests cannot be processed through the financial system until all tribes who have received the funds have submitted their “Final” expenditure reports for the original contract period.

Most Federal Grants Require Prior Approval for Funding/Time Extensions

Federal Grant recipients (DHS) are required to request prior approval for certain budget and program plan revisions including carryover of unobligated funds into a subsequent funding period, or an extension of time. Approval is official only after DHS receives a revised Notice of Award (NoA) notifying the grantee (DHS) that the carryover/extension has been approved from the grantor's (Federal Agency) grant manager.

Last revised June 16, 2022