Texas Health and Human Services Digest: September 4, 2020

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Previous meetings have made alternative arrangements like phone-in capability or have been canceled. These meetings are on the calendar as of today.

September 8, 2020

September 9, 2020

September 10, 2020

September 11, 2020

September 14, 2020

September 15, 2020

September 16, 2020

September 23, 2020

September 24, 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To let the public know about a rulemaking action – such as new, amended or repealed rules – HHS publishes a notice in the Texas Register, a publication of the Texas Secretary of State.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.,
ContactComment End Date
Title 25, Chapter 37, Maternal and Infant Health#19R012: Texas School Health Advisory CommitteeDSHS School Health9/28/20
Title 25, Chapter 85, Local Public Health#20R003: Data Request Process for Public Health Practice PurposesDSHS Center for Health Policy and Performance9/28/20
Title 25, Chapter 221, Meat Safety Assurance#20R013: Low-Volume Livestock Processing EstablishmentsDSHS PSQA Meat Compliance Unit9/28/20
Title 1, Chapter 355, Reimbursement Rates#20R054: HCS and TxHmL Respite and Day Habilitation ReimbursementHHS Rate Analysis Department9/21/20
Title 26, Part 1, Chapter 370, Human Trafficking Resource Center#20R034: Human Trafficking Prevention Training RequirementsHHS Rules Coordination Office9/14/20
Title 25, Chapter 37, Subchapter S, Newborn Hearing Screening#19R073: Newborn Hearing ScreeningDSHS Newborn Screening Unit9/8/20


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.
TitleProject No.ContactComment Start DateComment Start Date
Title 25, Chapter 228, Retail Food, concerning Texas Food Establishments#20R023DSHS Consumer Protection Division9/8/209/30/20
Title 40, Chapter 85, Subchapter A, Section 85.2, Definitions, and Subchapter D, Section 85.302, Nutrition Services#20R031HHS Rules Coordination Office9/4/209/18/20
Title 1, Chapter 393, Section 393.1, Section 393.2, and new Section 393.3#20R093Allison Levee9/8/209/15/20
Title 25, Chapters 133, 135, 139, 506, and 510, relating to Facility Surveys and Investigations#20R012Lindsay Reed8/31/209/4/20
Repeal of Title 25, Chapter 131, Subchapters A – E, Freestanding Emergency Medical Care Facilities, and new Title 26, Chapter 509, Freestanding Emergency Medical Care Facilities#20R009HHSC Policy, Rules and Training8/31/209/4/20


The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) launched Care Compare, a streamlined redesign of eight existing CMS healthcare compare tools available on Medicare.gov. Care Compare provides a single user-friendly interface that patients and caregivers can use to make informed decisions about healthcare based on cost, quality of care, volume of services, and other data. With just one click, patients can find information that is easy to understand about doctors, hospitals, nursing homes, and other health care services instead of searching through multiple tools.

Other new tools launched under the eMedicare initiative include:

  • A completely redesigned Medicare Plan Finder Tool for last Open Enrollment;
  • “What’s Covered” app that tells people what’s covered and what’s not in Original Medicare;
  • A price transparency tool that lets consumers compare Medicare payments and copayments for certain procedures performed in both hospital outpatient departments and ambulatory surgical centers;
  • Interactive online decision support to help people better understand and evaluate their Medicare coverage options and costs between Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage;
  • An online service that lets people quickly see how different coverage choices will affect their estimated out-of-pocket costs
  • Webchat option in Medicare Plan Finder helps people get on-the-spot support; and
  • Easy-to-use surveys across Medicare.gov so patients and consumers can continue to offer feedback about their online experiences.

Read the full release.

Go to the “Videos” Section on the CMS National Training Program page here. Direct links below:
Provider Data Catalog (PDC) Webinar (Recorded August 10, 2020)
eMedicare: Improving Compare Tools (Recorded August 24, 2020)

The DSRIP Transition Plan was formally approved by CMS on September 2, 2020. The final Plan is posted on the DSRIP Transition website. The Transition Plan also includes updated due dates for milestone deliverables that were delayed due to prioritizing the state’s COVID-19 response. The approved changes are listed below:

If you participated in the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) in 2019, your performance feedback, including your MIPS final score and payment adjustment factor(s), is now available for review on the Quality Payment Program website.

This final score determines the payment adjustment you will receive in 2021, with a positive, negative, or neutral payment adjustment being applied to the Medicare paid amount for covered professional services furnished by a MIPS eligible clinician in 2021.

MIPS eligible clinicians, groups, and virtual groups (along with their designated support staff or authorized third-party intermediary), including APM participants, may request the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to review the calculation of their 2020 MIPS payment adjustment factor(s) through a process called targeted review. The deadline to submit your request is October 5, 2020 at 8:00 p.m. (EDT) – which is only 1 month away.
When to Request a Targeted Review

If you believe an error has been made in your MIPS payment adjustment factor(s) calculation, you can request a targeted review until October 5, 2020 at 8:00 p.m. (EDT). Some examples of previous targeted review circumstances include the following:

  • Errors or data quality issues for the measures and activities you submitted
  • Eligibility and special status issues (e.g., you fall below the low-volume threshold and should not have received a payment adjustment)
  • Being erroneously excluded from the APM participation list and not being scored under the APM Scoring Standard
  • Performance categories were not automatically reweighted even though you qualify for automatic reweighting due to extreme and uncontrollable circumstances

Note: This is not a comprehensive list of circumstances. CMS encourages you to submit a request form if you believe a targeted review of your MIPS payment adjustment factor (or additional MIPS payment adjustment factor, if applicable) is warranted.

How to Request a Targeted Review
You can access your MIPS final score and performance feedback and request a targeted review by:

  • Going to the Quality Payment Program website
  • Logging in using your HCQIS Access Roles and Profile System (HARP) credentials; these are the same credentials that allowed you to submit your MIPS data. Please refer to the QPP Access Guide for additional details.

CMS may require documentation to support a targeted review request that is under our evaluation. If the targeted review request is approved, we may update your final score and/or associated payment adjustment (if applicable), as soon as technically feasible. Please note that targeted review decisions are final and not eligible for further review.

For more information about how to request a targeted review, please refer to the 2019 Targeted Review User Guide.

Questions? Contact the Quality Payment Program at 1-866-288-8292 or by e-mail at: QPP@cms.hhs.gov. To receive assistance more quickly, please consider calling during non-peak hours—before 10:00 a.m. and after 2:00 p.m. ET.

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

ACL’s National Paralysis Resource Center (managed by the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation) will open a new funding opportunity for community-based organizations that serve people living with any type of paralysis. The new application cycle for the Direct Effect Quality of Life (up to $25,000) and High Impact Quality of Life (up to $50,000) grants on September 9. Applications are due Thursday, October 22.

Direct Effect QOL grants offer up to $25,000 to nonprofit organizations for projects that clearly impact individuals living with paralysis, their families, and caregivers. High Impact QOL grants will fund projects in the following high-priority areas: Transportation, Respite/Caregiving, and Disaster Response (grants up to $30,000); Nursing Home Transition (grants up to $40,000); and Employment (grants up to $50,000).

The High Impact Priority Employment grants are a top priority because it’s one of the four pillars of the Americans with Disabilities Act and one of the most challenging obstacles to individuals living with paralysis. In addition, gainful employment allows people living with paralysis to achieve enhanced financial security, higher quality of life, and improved community connections.

Quality of Life (QOL) grants are federally funded through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Community Living (ACL). Organizations that have previously been awarded a Quality of Life grant in any category may re-apply for funding one year following the close of their grant and notification of grant closure by the Reeve Foundation.

Applicants are encouraged to read the updated Application and Program Guidelines, which include new Eligibility Criteria, and to visit the Reeve Foundation website for an overview of the QOL grant program and the QOL grant application process.

A free Application Technical Assistance Webinar will be held on Wednesday, September 16 from 3:00 – 4:00 pm EST. Register here.

QOL grant applications are available and are to be completed online through the Reeve Foundation online grants portal by Thursday, October 22, 2020 at 11:59 pm ET.

The Foundation is no longer able to provide individual pre-award assistance either by telephone or email. However, they welcome questions about the application process to QOL@ChristopherReeve.org. All questions submitted via email will be collected, aggregated, and answered in a Questions and Answers document posted on their website. The deadline for emailed questions is Monday, September 21.

The Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) is now accepting applications for the Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2021 Disproportionate Share (DSH) and Demonstration Year (DY) 10 Uncompensated Care (UC) programs for hospitals and physician groups.

Providers may submit a request to receive an application here. The deadline to submit your request to participate is 5:00 pm, Thursday, September 24th, 2020. Please ensure all fields are complete or the form will not submit. Physician groups that do not have a CCN should input 123456 into this field to ensure the form will submit.

The following are pertinent dates for the 2021/DY 10 application process:

  • Applications sent to hospital providers (Please note that TXPUCs will be sent to physician groups sometime in January 2021): Friday, October 16th, 2020
  • Training Webinar: Tuesday, October 20th, 2020 from 10:30 am-12:00 pm. Providers may register for the webinar here.
  • Medicaid data appeal deadline, initial application submission deadline, and the deadline to request a 15 day extension for submitting an application: 5:00 pm, Monday, November 16th, 2020
  • Application submission deadline for extension requests: 5:00 pm, Tuesday, December 1st, 2020

HHSC will require all providers to register for and use HHSC’s FTP site to submit all applications and supporting documentation. HHSC will send a communication to providers regarding re-setting passwords for registered users and with instructions for setting up new accounts after this request link has closed.

If you have questions about the programs or the enrollment process, please email uctools@hhsc.state.tx.us.

Texas Health and Human Services is accepting informal comments from stakeholders on the following draft rules. The comment period ends September 18, 2020.

  • Social Services and Assistance Title 40, Part 1, Chapter 85, Subchapter A, Section 85.2, Definitions, and Subchapter D, Section 85.302, Nutrition Services. Comments can be emailed to HHS Rules Coordination Office.

Questions can be emailed to HHS Rules Coordination Office.
Visit the HHS Rulemaking website for more information.

Texas Health and Human Services is accepting informal comments from stakeholders on the following draft rules. The comment period ends September 15, 2020.

  • Texas Health and Human Services Commission Title 1, Part 15, Chapter 393, Section 393.1, Section 393.2, and new Section 393.3. Comments can be emailed to Allison Levee.

Texas Department of State Health Services is accepting informal comments from stakeholders on the following draft rules. The comment period ends September 30, 2020.

  • Department of State Health Services Title 25, Part 1, Chapter 228, Retail Food, concerning Texas Food Establishments. Comments can be emailed to DSHS Consumer Protection Division.

Questions can be emailed to HHS Rules Coordination OfficeVisit the HHS Rulemaking website for more information.