New Mexico Legislative Session Timelines
The Second Session of the 55th Legislature
- January 3, 2022 – January 14 Legislation may be pre-filed
- January 18 Opening day (noon)
- February 2 Deadline for introduction
- February 17 Session ends (noon)
- March 9 Legislation not acted upon by governor is pocket vetoed
- May 18 Effective date of legislation not a general appropriation bill or a bill carrying an emergency clause or other specified date
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)
COVID-19: Tools to Determine if Vaccine Requirements Apply
In light of the recent Supreme Court ruling on January 13, 2022, employee vaccination requirements from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) now apply to certain Medicare or Medicaid providers and suppliers. Please see below for new and updated tools and resources developed by CMS to help you navigate and determine if these vaccine requirements apply to you. These materials are all available from the CMS Current Emergencies page: https://www.cms.gov/About-CMS/Agency-Information/Emergency/EPRO/Current-Emergencies/Current-Emergencies-page.
- Guidance memo– This memo provides guidance for assessing and maintaining compliance with this new regulatory requirement for certain Medicare and Medicaid providers and suppliers.
- CMS Omnibus COVID-19 Health Care Staff Vaccination Requirements FAQ– These FAQs have been updated to explain the recent ruling and how it impacts employee vaccination requirements.
- IFC-6 Vaccination Requirements Infographic– This infographic visually shows the types of providers and suppliers the vaccine requirement applies to, how the requirement can be met, and associated requirement enforcement actions.
- Vaccine Requirement Implementation Timeline– This infographic illustrates the phases of the vaccination rule implementation, state-by-state, and their associated deadlines. Note that the phased deadlines vary by state.
- Vaccine Requirement Decision Tree– This handy decision tree visually explains the steps in determining to which providers and suppliers the vaccine requirement applies.
Rural Health Clinic (RHC)
Beginning January 1, 2022, RHCs and FQHCs will be eligible to get payment for hospice attending physician services when provided by an RHC physician, Nurse Practitioner, or Physician Assistant who’s employed or working under contract for an RHC, but isn’t employed by a hospice program. During a hospice election, attending physician services can take place at the patient’s home, a Medicare-certified hospice freestanding facility, skilled nursing facility, or hospital. For more information on RHC’s, go to:
Updated document Getting Started with HQRP CASPER QM Reports now available on the HQRP Requirements and Best Practices webpage
To assist hospice providers in understanding and using the CASPER QM Reports that now include claims-based measures, CMS has updated this fact sheet to reflect the changes to the HQRP based on the (FY) 2022 Hospice Final Rule. This renamed and revised document, Getting Started with HQRP CASPER QM Reports can be found in the Provider Toolkit section of the HQRP Requirements and Best Practices webpage:
National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO)
NHPCO has shared the following two pieces of information~
CMS Issues Vaccination Expectations Guidance for Surveyors
On January 25, 2022, CMS released guidance (PDF) clarifying expectations around surveyor vaccination. CMS is expanding on the exclusionary criteria for all surveyors (including CLIA and Life Safety Code surveyors) entering provider and supplier locations to include vaccination status. Surveyors who are not fully vaccinated (except with some exemptions) should not participate as part of the onsite survey team performing federal oversight of certified providers and suppliers (including accreditation surveys performed under an AO’s deeming authority). The CMS guidance can be accessed at: https://www.cms.gov/files/document/qso-22-10-all.pdf.
CMS Not Shifting Vaccine Mandate Requirement, But Encourages Boosters
CMS’ COVID-19 vaccine mandate for health care workers hasn’t changed to require boosters, but the agency “strongly encourages” workers to voluntarily get those shots, a CMS spokesperson tells Inside Health Policy. The CDC is emphasizing those eligible need to get boosters to be up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines even though CDC isn’t revising its definition of fully vaccinated. Read more from Inside Health Policy (note: a subscription may be required to view this content): https://insidehealthpolicy.com/daily-news/cms-not-shifting-vaccine-mandate-requirement-encourages-boosters.
Texas News and Information
Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC)
Emergency Staffing Requests
This alert informs nursing facility, assisted living facility, intermediate care facility, and home and community-based services providers facing staffing shortages related to the COVID-19 public health emergency that the state cannot provide staffing assistance within 24 hours. Staffing assistance may take up to two or three days. Emergency staffing is only approved for providers that cannot provide necessary care to residents or individuals due to COVID-19 related staffing shortages. Not all requests for emergency staffing will be fulfilled as requests are prioritized by level of need.
Only request emergency staffing once all applicable strategies have been attempted and the facility still does not have adequate staff. Providers should indicate the level of need on any emergency staffing request to aid in prioritization, but must not have an expectation that emergency staff will arrive within 24 hours.
Email questions to the regional director in the region where the facility is located. Go to: https://www.hhs.texas.gov/about/find-us/long-term-care-regulatory-regional-contact-numbers .
Guidance Regarding NF Rule Updates (PL 2021-43)
The Texas and New Mexico Hospice Organization (TNMHO) advised you in a previous Regulatory Update that the following provider letter had been released and that it did affect hospice providers who have agreements with nursing facilities (NF). In addition, we advised membership that we were waiting for HHSC feedback on how this provider letter and nursing facility rule affects hospice provider.
HHSC released Guidance Regarding NF Rule Updates (PL 2021-43) on December 28, 2022. TNMHO requested clarification from HHSC Nursing Facility (NF) Policy staff on how this affects hospice providers who have agreements with the NF. As a result of the HHSC feedback, we have published FAQ: Consent to Antipsychotic or Neuroleptic Medication in the Nursing Facility on our member’s only website: https://www.txnmhospice.org/.
Reminder: Winter and Extreme Freezing Weather Preparedness
HHSC encourages facilities and agencies to review and update emergency plans for freezing temperatures and snow. Emergency plans for extreme weather should include the provider’s plan to address:
- Power loss
- Water and food needs
- Communication to families and staff
- Staffing shortages
- Sheltering in place and evacuation as applicable
Providers must follow emergency preparedness rules and their own internal emergency preparedness policies and procedures.
Facilities with generators should perform any maintenance or needed testing while the weather is mild. This will ensure the equipment functions in case of extreme cold or power loss.
It is important to review building integrity and identify any areas that may need repair, reinforcement or weatherproofing. Multi-story buildings should review any other needed measures should evacuation be required. Have a plan for how to move residents around or out of the building if there is a loss of power.
Preparing for disaster is the most important step in protecting our most fragile Texans and reducing the risk for loss of life.
Certified Nurse Aide (C.N.A) Backlog Update
HHSC staff continues to work on the C.N.A. back log for the processing of renewals. The Governor’s waiver is still in effect which allows C.N.A.s to work beyond their expiration while the paperwork is processing at HHSC.
New Credentialing System for C.N.As, Medication Aides and Nursing Facility Administrators
A new credentialing system will come online February 28, 2022. This new registry system will be part of TULIP. Please be aware that the current system will be frozen beginning February 11, 2022 so the data can be migrated over to the new system. The exam process is NOT part of this migration and will continue as normal. If you have any questions or concerns, please email Stephanie Allred at: [email protected].
The following provider letter (PL) applies to all providers!
PL 2022-05 Implementation of House Bill (HB) 525, 87th Legislature, Regular Session, 2021
The letter addresses how HHSC will carry out its regulatory functions relating to the protection of religious organizations. This was effective June 18, 2021.
House Bill 525 designated religious organizations as essential businesses at all times, including during a declared disaster. The law prohibits state agencies, including HHSC, from:
- Prohibiting religious organizations from engaging in religious or other related activities or from continuing to operate in the discharge of its foundational faith-based mission and purpose; and
- State agencies from ordering a religious organization to close or otherwise alter its purpose or activities.
You can access the letter and bill at: https://www.hhs.texas.gov/sites/default/files/documents/pl2022-05.pdf.
Department of State Health Services (DSHS)
Texas Electronic Vital Events Register (TxEVER)
Advance Practice Registered Nurses (APRN) and Physician Assistants (PA) should be aware of the following information from DSHS on the Texas Electronic Vital Events Register (TxEVER) website. This website is being updated for APRNs and PAs so that they can get the death certificate completed quicker. Right now staff are having a difficult time registering because the site has historically accommodated medical doctors. The website is at: https://dshs.texas.gov/vs/partners/Medical-Certifiers/ . Questions and concerns can be directed to: 512-776-3010 or [email protected]. DSHS plans to hold area and regional trainings.
Texas Medicaid Healthcare Partnership (TMHP)
Scheduled System Maintenance Outage
TMHP has scheduled a system maintenance outage to begin at 7 p.m. on Friday, February 11, 2022, and it will last until 11:59 p.m., Sunday, February 13, 2022. The following TMHP Systems will be unavailable:
- Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) – Eligibility as a service
- Medicaid Client Portal
- Medicaid/Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Eligibility Verification Portal
- TexMedConnect Eligibility
For more information, call the TMHP Contact Center at 800-925-9126 or the TMHP-CSHCN Services Program Contact Center at 800-568-2413.
LTC Provider Bulletin Now Available
The February 2022 Long-Term Care (LTC) Provider Bulletin has been published on the LTC homepage on: https://www.tmhp.com/sites/default/files/file-library/ltc/bulletins/February-2022-LTC-Bulletin-No-89_0.pdf.
Visit the TMHP LTC homepage regularly for news, reminders, training opportunities, and other
important program updates. https://www.tmhp.com/programs/ltc. For questions, see the “Provider Resources” section of the bulletin.
Disclaimer: The Texas and New Mexico Hospice Organization publishes the Regulatory Update as an information only item. TNMHO has no attorneys nor does it represent the state and federal governments. All legal questions or concerns should be directed to your attorney or the governments involved.