Texas Health and Human Services Digest: October 23, 2020

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From HHSC: While every effort has been made to offer an accurate and current listing of meeting agendas and events on this calendar, the information has been compiled from a variety of sources and is subject to change without notice to the user.

October 27, 2020

October 28, 2020

October 29, 2020

October 30, 2020

November 2, 2020

November 3, 2020

November 4, 2020

November 5, 2020

November 13, 2020

November 13, 2020

November 18, 2020

November 19, 2020

Proposed Rules
Formal Comments via the Texas Register
To let the public know about a rulemaking action – such as new, amended or repealed rules – HHS publishes a notice in the Texas Register, a publication of the Texas Secretary of State. Interested parties then can review and comment on the proposed rule. The Secretary of State publishes a new issue of the Texas Register each Friday.

The Administrative Procedure Act (Texas Government Code, Chapter 2001) requires the notice published in the Texas Register to include a brief explanation of the proposed rule and a request for comments from any interested person. The notice also includes instructions for submitting comments regarding the rule to the agency, including the date by which comments must be submitted. Agencies must give interested persons “a reasonable opportunity” to submit comments. The public comment period begins on the day after the notice of a proposed rule is published in the Texas Register and lasts for a minimum of 30 calendar days.

Below is a list of proposed rules that have been published in the Texas Register. The proposed rules that are published in the Texas Register are open for public comment until the end of the comment period.

TitleProject No., DescriptionContactComment End Date
Repeal of Title 1, Chapter 383, Interstate Compact on Mental Health and Mental Retardation#19R065: Interstate Compact CoordinationHHS Health and Specialty Care11/16/20
New Title 26, Chapter 903, Interstate Compact on Mental Health and Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities#19R065: Interstate Compact CoordinationHHS Health and Specialty Care11/16/20
Title 1, Chapter 354, Subchapter A, Division 1, Section 354.1003, Time Limits for Submitted Claims#20R006: Claims Payment Deadlines ExceptionsHHS Rules Coordination Office11/16/20
Title 25, Chapter 40, Subchapter D, concerning Maintenance and Administration of Asthma Medication#20R019: Asthma MedicationDSHS School Health Program11/16/20
Title 25, Chapter 40, Subchapters B and C, concerning Epinephrine Auto-Injector Policies in Certain Entities and Youth Facilities#20R018: Epinephrine Policies in Certain Entities and Youth FacilitiesDSHS School Health Program11/16/20
Title 26, Chapter 302, Subchapter A, Mental Health First Aid#20R050: Mental Health Prevention Standards UpdatesHHS Rules Coordination Office10/26/20
Title 26, Chapter 307, Subchapter D, Outpatient Competency Restoration#18R054: Outpatient Competency RestorationHHS Rules Coordination Office10/26/20
Title 26, Chapter 306, Subchapter D, Division 1, Section 306.204, Discharge of an Individual Involuntarily Receiving Treatment#20R043: Discharge and Furlough MedicationHHS Rules Coordination Office10/26/20

Draft Rules Informal Comments

Informal opportunities to comment occur before a rule is published in the Texas Register. HHS staff may solicit informal public and stakeholder input by:

  • inviting stakeholders to submit comments on potential rule changes during rule development.
  • sharing a draft rule with stakeholders for review.
  • using existing HHS advisory committees to comment on rules.

The following are draft rules on which HHS is accepting informal public or stakeholder input. All rules are posted in MS Word format unless otherwise noted.

TitleProject No.ContactComment Start DateComment End Date
Title 26, Chapter 749, Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies, concerning Legislative changes#20R101HHS Child Care Regulation10/19/2011/2/20
Title 26, Part 1, Chapter 745, Subchapter F, Divisions 1, 2, and 4, concerning National Sex Offender Registry Check#20R129HHS Child Care Regulation Rules10/12/2010/23/20

Reminder: Update Your Billing Info by November 13 for Your APM Incentive Payment. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Quality Payment Program website includes 2020 Alternative Payment Model (APM) Incentive Payment details. To access information on the incentive amount and organization paid, clinicians and surrogates can log in to the QPP website using their HARP credentials. In order to receive payments, certain clinicians will need to verify their Medicare billing information by November 13, 2020.

Many eligible clinicians who were Qualifying APM Participants (QPs) based on their 2018 performance began receiving their 2020 5% APM Incentive Payments last month. If you have already received your payment, you do not need to do anything.
CMS also posted a new 2020 APM Incentive Payment Fact Sheet to explain:

  • Who is eligible to receive an APM incentive payment in 2020
  • How CMS determines your 2020 APM Incentive Payment
  • Frequently asked questions and answers

Who Needs to Verify Their Medicare Billing Information? If you have not received a payment and find your name on this public notice, you will need to verify your Medicare billing information.

NOTE: If you do not verify your Medicare billing information by November 13, 2020, CMS will not be able to issue your APM Incentive Payment.

For more information, review the QP Public Notice File for Payment Year 2020 Excel Spreadsheet and supporting forms in the 2020 QP Notice for APM Incentive Payment zip file. The spreadsheet will indicate which form you need to submit—the IP Form and/or 588 Form—in order to verify your Medicare billing information.

Questions? Contact the Quality Payment Program at QPP@cms.hhs.gov or 1-866-288-8292. To receive assistance more quickly, consider calling during non-peak hours—before 10 a.m. and after 2 p.m. ET.

  • Customers who are hearing impaired can dial 711 to be connected to a TRS Communications Assistant.

Hospice Visits When Death is Imminent: Measure Validity Testing Summary and Re-Specifications Report. The Hospice Visits When Death is Imminent (HVWDII) report analyzes a measure pair focused on visits received by hospice patients in the last days of life, specifically the last week of life. Measure 1 was found to meet the threshold for public reporting, while Measure 2 failed to reach CMS’s readiness standards. The purpose of this report is to share with the public the findings of the testing on HVWDII Measure 2, which led to further re-specification and measure testing towards the development of the claims-based Hospice Visits in the Last Days of Life (HVLDL) measure. The report reviews the methodology, analysis, results, and conclusions that motivated CMS to favor adoption of the HVLDL specification of the measure concept.

Diabetes Management Resources. CMS posted Managing Diabetes: Medicare Coverage and Resources (Spanish) for your patients.
For More Information:

Opioid Use Disorder Treatment: Medicare Coverage. Medicare offers options to help you treat patients with Opioid Use Disorder (OUD). We pay for:

  • Office-based OUD treatment, including management, care coordination, psychotherapy, and counseling activities. Learn about treatment billing.
  • Treatment provided by enrolled Opioid Treatment Programs (OTPs). Services include medication (like methadone and buprenorphine), counseling, drug testing, and individual and group therapy. We cover counseling and therapy services in person and virtually. Refer your patients to Medicare-enrolled OTPs to get started.

Learn more about our efforts to combat the opioid epidemic.

Clinical Diagnostic Laboratory Tests Advisory Panel: Request for Nominations. CMS requests nominations to fill vacancies on the Medicare Advisory Panel on Clinical Diagnostic Laboratory Tests. See the Notice for nomination criteria, and send nomination packages to CDLTPanel@cms.hhs.gov. We get nominations on a continuous basis. Visit the Panel webpage for more information.

Ambulance Inflation Factor (AIF) for Calendar Year (CY) 2021 and Productivity Adjustment. CMS issued a new MLN Matters Article MM12031 on Ambulance Inflation Factor (AIF) for Calendar Year (CY) 2021 and Productivity Adjustment (PDF). Learn how to determine the payment limit for ambulance services.

Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program: Become a Medicare-Enrolled Supplier. Medicare pays Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program (MDPP) suppliers to provide eligible patients with group-based intervention for up to 2 years, using the CDC-approved National Diabetes Prevention Program curriculum.

Interested in becoming a Medicare-enrolled MDPP supplier?

Follow the 2-step process:

  1. Get CDC preliminary or full recognition.
  2. Then, find out how to apply to become a Medicare MDPP supplier. Use our checklist to gather what you need to enroll.

Completed CDC recognition and ready for Medicare enrollment?
Fill out the online Medicare Enrollment Application. For help applying, see our Enrollment Webinar Recording and Enrollment Tutorial Video. If you’re already enrolled in Medicare, you must re-enroll as an MDPP supplier.
For More Information:

New Waived Tests — Revised. CMS revised MLN Matters Article MM11982 on New Waived Tests (PDF) to update the release date, transmittal number, and web address.

Scientists use gene therapy and a novel light-sensing protein to restore vision in mice. A newly developed light-sensing protein called the MCO1 opsin restores vision in blind mice when attached to retina bipolar cells using gene therapy. The National Eye Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, provided a Small Business Innovation Research grant to Nanoscope, LLC for development of MCO1. The company is planning a U.S. clinical trial for later this year.

Nanoscope’s findings, reported today in Nature Gene Therapy, show that totally blind mice—meaning they have no light perception—regain significant retinal function and vision after treatment. Studies described in the report showed that treated mice were significantly faster in standardized visual tests, such as navigating mazes and detecting changes in motion.

Read the full release.

Opportunities for Researchers to Learn More About All of Us.Through the All of Us Research Program, we’re working to build one of the most diverse health databases in history and make data available to researchers as we go. This spring we released the beta version of our data analysis platform, the Researcher Workbench, just two years after launching national enrollment.

Coming up are two virtual events for researchers to learn more about the program and our initial dataset and tools. Both events are free and open to the public. Please join us or spread the word to researchers in your networks.

For full details and registration information, click the links below.

October 27: The Future of Precision Health: Engaging Underrepresented Research Participant Communities and Achieving Responsible Return and Use of Genomic Results. Held as an ancillary session during the American Society of Human Genetics annual conference, this panel discussion will include an overview of the program and our efforts to engage participants from underrepresented communities, generate data through innovative sequencing and genotyping technologies, and return genetic results to participants at scale. The event also includes a demonstration of the Researcher Workbench, with user-friendly tools to support genomic analyses. Individuals do not need to be ASHG attendees to participate.

November 12: All of Us Researcher Onramp. This interactive event is for researchers interested in leveraging the powerful analytic capabilities of the Researcher Workbench. While open broadly, this event will be most useful to current and prospective Workbench users who have experience coding in R or Python. Attendees will hear about the program’s vision and how they can use All of Us data and tools in their studies. The agenda also includes a Workbench demonstration and small group breakouts to provide hands-on support to researchers seeking to register for access and analyze data. All of Us team members will also present at events this year held by the American Medical Informatics Association, the American Public Health Association, the American Society for Microbiology, and Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research (PRIM&R), among other organizations.

Office of the Governor, DSHS Provide Nearly 3 Million Flu Vaccines for Texas Children, Adults. Governor Greg Abbott today announced that the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) has secured 2.8 million doses of flu vaccine for the Texas Vaccines for Children Program and the new Adult Influenza Vaccine Initiative. Read the release.

Governor Abbott, TEA Establish Targeted Education Funds for Families of Students With Cognitive Disabilities. Governor Greg Abbott and the Texas Education Agency (TEA) today announced the establishment of the Supplementary Special Education Services (SSES) program to connect eligible students with severe cognitive disabilities with additional support for the critical services they require. Read the full release.

Governor Abbott Appoints Three and Names Chair of Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors. Governor Greg Abbott has appointed Jodie Elder, Ph.D., Vanessa Hall, and Garrett Nerren to the Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors for terms set to expire on February 1, 2025. Additionally, the Governor named Steven Hallbauer chair of the board. The board has licensing, examination, and rulemaking responsibilities in the field of professional counseling.

Jodie Elder, Ph.D. of Dallas is an Adjunct Professor of Counseling in the Simmons School of Education and Human Development at Southern Methodist University. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, as well as a speaker and presenter.

Vanessa Hall of Tomball is the owner and general manager of SHAPES Fitness for Women. She is an author, former blogger, keynote speaker, and Leader of Celebrate Recovery Program.

Garrett Nerren of Dallas is a commercial real estate broker at Jones Lang LaSalle. He is a member of the National Association for Industrial and Office Parks, International Council of Shopping Centers, The Touchdown Club of Dallas, and Dallas Court Appointed Special Advocates, and a council member on The Cotton Bowl Council.

Steven Hallbauer of Rockwall is a founding partner of the law firm Lemons & Hallbauer, LLC.  He practices law in the areas of civil litigation, family law, and wills, estates and probate. Prior to practicing law, he worked as a manager for CHR Solutions, Inc., a technology solutions company for telecommunications and communication service providers.

Read the full release.

Governor Abbott Appoints Three and Names Chair of Texas State Board of Examiners of Marriage and Family Therapists. Governor Greg Abbott has appointed Russell “Russ” Bartee, Ph.D., Daniel Parrish, and Jeanene Smith to the Texas State Board of Examiners of Marriage and Family Therapists for terms set to expire on February 1, 2025. Additionally, the Governor named Lisa Merchant, Ph.D. chair of the board. The board licenses and regulates Marriage and Family Therapists in Texas.

Russell “Russ” Bartee, Ph.D. of Fort Worth is a self-employed Psychotherapist and Assistant Professor in the graduate counseling program at Texas Wesleyan University. He is a member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy and the American Counseling Association.

Daniel Parrish of Desoto is the owner of DP Designs and Developmental Architectural Firm. Previously, he served as a Developmental Coordinator and Project Manager for Rock Strategic.

Jeanene Smith of Austin is a self-employed Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Licensed Professional Counselor. She is a member of the American Counseling Association, Texas Counseling Association, and the Texas Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.

Lisa Merchant, Ph.D. of Clyde chairs the Department of Marriage and Family Studies at Abilene Christian University, where she is also the director of and an assistant professor in their marriage and family therapy program. She also facilitates domestic violence intervention classes at the Ministry of Counseling and is a founding member of the Taylor County Alliance to End Domestic Violence.

Read the full release.

The following new report has been posted on the Reports and Presentations page:

October 2020

To see a list of all reports and presentations go to the Reports and Presentations page.

Telemedicine & Telehealth Services Policies -Comments and Responses Posted. Stakeholder comments and HHSC responses have been posted for both the Telemedicine and Telehealth Services draft policies:

The documents are posted on the Medicaid Medical and Dental Policy webpage.
Email MCDmedicalbenefitspolicycomment@hhsc.state.tx.us with questions.

Healthy Texas Women Public Forum Comments and Responses Posted. The Health and Human Services Commission has posted their responses to the Healthy Texas Women public forum held on July 16, 2020.

View the responses by clicking here (PDF).

HCS and TxHmL Program Providers Required to Select an EVV Vendor Immediately
Effective Dec. 1, HHSC will require HCS and TxHmL program providers to use EVV for the following services:

  • Community First Choice Personal Assistance Services/Habilitation (CFC PAS/HAB)
  • In-Home Respite
  • In-Home Day Habilitation (Own Home or Family Home only)

HCS and TxHmL program providers are required to select an EVV vendor and complete EVV training to meet the Dec.1 deadlines. The requirement to select an EVV vendor and complete training applies to all contracted HCS and TxHmL program providers.

Beginning Dec. 1, 2020, service claims for CFC PAS/HAB will be denied by the claims adjudication system and not paid by HHSC if the program provider has not onboarded with an EVV vendor.

Click here to read IL 20-07 (PDF) for more information about selecting an EVV vendor and completing training to be EVV-compliant by the Dec. 1 deadline.

Contact EVV if you have questions about EVV requirements.

HHSC Requests Comments on Draft Monitoring Plan for Local Funds Used to Support Medicaid Payments. The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) is accepting written comments on the Draft Monitoring Plan for Local Funds Used to Support Medicaid Payments.

Medicaid payments are jointly financed by the federal government and states. Federal law restricts the types of funds that can be used for a state’s share of a Medicaid payment. Permissible funding sources include state general revenue and locally derived funds.

In Texas, locally derived funds are used for the non-federal share of Medicaid supplemental and directed payments. To increase oversight and accountability of local funds used for the non-federal share, HHSC is proposing to implement a process to monitor the financing structures that underlie the local funding. Through the Draft Monitoring Plan for Local Funds Used to Support Medicaid Payments, HHSC proposes to collect and assess information on all financing arrangements that generate local funds transferred or certified by governmental entities as the non-federal share of Medicaid payments. This effort is part of HHSC’s initiative in the Blueprint for a Healthy Texas to improve accountability and sustainability of supplemental and directed payment programs to achieve positive outcomes.

The monitoring plan consists of five steps: (1) Annual survey, (2) Risk assessment, (3) Additional information for selected entities, (4) Deep dive reviews, and (5) Determination. Each stage of monitoring will be implemented according to a phased timeline.

The Draft Monitoring Plan for Local Funds Used to Support Medicaid Payments is published for public comment on October 22, 2020. Comments will be accepted until 5 p.m. on November 12, 2020 and can be sent by email to: RAD_1115_Waiver_Finance@hhsc.state.tx.us.

DSHS Flu Surveillance Activity Report page. This information has recently been updated and is now available.