The following amendments were proposed by the Texas Behavioral Health Executive Council
CHAPTER 781. SOCIAL WORKER LICENSURE
SUBCHAPTER B. RULES OF PRACTICE
- 781.302 relating to definitions.
SUBCHAPTER C. APPLICATION AND LICENSING
- 781.401 relating to qualifications for licensure.
- 781.402 relating to clinical supervision for LCSW and non-clinical supervision for independent
- 781.403 relating to independent practice recognition (non-clinical).
- 781.404 relating to recognition as a Council-approved supervisor and the supervision process.
- 781.406 relating to Required Documentation of Qualifications for Licensure.
To review these proposed changes, go to: https://www.sos.state.tx.us/texreg/archive/December42020/Proposed%20Rules/22.EXAMINING%20BOARDS.html#32.
Federal News and Information
Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
CDC Updates COVID-19 Quarantine Guidance
On December 2, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued updated guidance related to the recommended COVID-19 quarantine timeframe. The CDC now recommends two additional options for how long quarantine should last. To access, go to: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/quarantine.html.
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)
CMS Issues Nursing Home COVID-19 Testing FAQs
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has issued nursing home COVID-19 testing frequently asked questions. To review the FAQ, go to: https://www.cms.gov/files/document/covid-nh-testing-faqs.pdf .
Hospices: Create an Effective Plan of Care
An Office of Inspector General (OIG) report found that most hospices have at least one deficiency in their quality of care. Review the Creating an Effective Hospice Plan of Care fact sheet to learn about principles of care planning, care coordination, and common deficiencies.
- OIG Report: https://oig.hhs.gov/oei/reports/oei-02-17-00020.pdf
- Creating an Effective Hospice Plan of Care FAQ: https://www.cms.gov/files/document/creating-effective-hospice-plan-care.pdf.
National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO)
NHPCO has shared the following information:
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Updates from December 1, 2020
- The FDA issued a warning letter jointly with the Federal Trade Commission to Avazo-Healthcare, LLC for selling adulterated and misbranded COVID-19 test kits and unapproved drug products with fraudulent COVID-19 claims. In addition to COVID-19 test kits, the company sells CBD products with misleading claims that the products can mitigate, prevent, treat, diagnose, or cure COVID-19. The FDA requested that Avazo-Healthcare immediately stop selling these unapproved, uncleared and unauthorized test kits and unapproved products. Consumers concerned about COVID-19 should consult with their health care provider. To access the letter, go to: https://www.fda.gov/inspections-compliance-enforcement-and-criminal-investigations/warning-letters/avazo-healthcare-llc-610282-11302020
- The FDA has also posted the following warning letters for unapproved and misbranded products related to COVID-19: ChromaDex; Innovative Medicine LLC; Red Moon Herbs; Sage Woman Herbs, Ltd. dba Sage Consulting & Apothecary. To access the letter go to: https://www.fda.gov/inspections-compliance-enforcement-and-criminal-investigations/warning-letters/innovative-medicine-llc-607721-11172020.
Office of Inspector General
COVID-19 Fraud Is Rapidly Evolving. Learn How To Protect Yourself.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General continues to alert the public about fraud schemes related to COVID-19. Fraudsters are using telemarketing calls, text messages, social media platforms, and door-to-door visits to perpetrate COVID-19-related scams. These scammers use the coronavirus pandemic to benefit themselves, and beneficiaries face potential harm. The personal information collected can be used to fraudulently bill federal health care programs and commit medical identity theft.
Protect yourself and your loved ones from potential scams.
- Be aware that scammers are pretending to be COVID-19 contact tracers or are contacting people unexpectedly to offer COVID-19 tests and supplies. Do not respond to calls from or engage in visits with unknown individuals.
- Be cautious of unsolicited requests for personal, medical, or financial information.
- Be vigilant and protect yourself from potential fraud concerning COVID-19 vaccines. You will not be asked for money to enhance your ranking for vaccine eligibility. Government and State officials will not call you to obtain personal information in order to receive the vaccine, and you will not be solicited door-to-door to receive the vaccine.
If you suspect COVID-19 health care fraud, report it immediately online at: https://oig.hhs.gov/fraud/report-fraud/ or call 1-800-447-8477.
New Mexico News and Information
New Mexico Department of Health
As a reminder, statewide long-term care visitation guidelines follow public health data in facilitating additional safe visitation options to residents and their loved ones in these high-risk settings. All testing, infection control, the management of COVID-positive cases, and PPE measures remain the same. Nursing home and assisted living positivity rates were released on December 8, 2020. For the most up to date COVID information for long term care, home health and hospice, go to: https://cv.nmhealth.org/long-term-care-guidelines/
The New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) is leading the State of New Mexico’s COVID-19 Vaccination Preparedness Planning in close collaboration with other state agencies, public, private and tribal partners throughout the state. For more information on the vaccine, its availability, distribution etc, go to: https://cv.nmhealth.org/covid-vaccine/ and https://cv.nmhealth.org/providers/vaccines/.
Texas News and Information
Health and Human Services Commission
COVID 19 Vaccinations
You may have heard that Governor Abbott announced that there will be an initial COVID 19 vaccine distribution in December. You can access that information here:
Hospice’s have many questions that will be answered in the next week or two. TNMHO strongly recommends that you sign up for govdocs at the HHSC website so that you have access to all the latest provider information and notices regarding the Home and Community Support Services Agencies (HCSSA) webinars! The next HCSSA webinar is scheduled for December 18, 2020 at 11 am. Here is the link for govdocs: https://service.govdelivery.com/accounts/TXHHSC/subscriber/new
Please be aware that hospice staff are in Phase 1, Tier 1 of the vaccines. It is unknown, to date, how the vaccine will be distributed. As the HCSSA policy staff learns more about distribution etc, they will share with the providers.
Here is additional information about the vaccines (this information is posted at the TNMHO COVID website as well):
- DSHS Allocations and Guiding Principles and Definitions of healthcare worker in the Tiers:
- DSHS Vaccine Information:
- CDC Vaccination Information:
HHSC Publishes Infection Control Basics & PPE Training for Essential Caregivers
HHSC has published Infection Control Basics & Personal Protective Equipment for Essential Caregivers. The document meets the requirements for training of essential caregivers in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, intermediate care facilities, hospices and home and community-based services group homes. To access, go to: https://hhs.texas.gov/sites/default/files/documents/services/health/coronavirus-covid-19/infection-control-basics-ppe-essential-caregivers.pdf.
Flu & COVID-19: What You Need to Know – December Webinar
In this webinar, we will review the:
- Similarities and the differences between flu and COVID-19.
- Importance of getting a flu shot, and how flu vaccination along with good infection control practices protect everyone.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance on administering flu vaccines this season amid the coronavirus pandemic.
This webinar is appropriate for all provider types. No continuing education hours or units are available for this webinar. A certificate of attendance will be provided. To sign up, go to: https://hhs.texas.gov/about-hhs/communications-events/news/2020/12/flu-covid-19-what-you-need-know-december-webinar.
COVID 19 Vaccine Allocation Guiding Principles and Health Care Workers Definition
This document how vaccines will be allocated in Texas and provides definitions. To access this very important piece of information, go to:
Inpatient Hospice Emergency Rules on Family Education Visits
HHSC adopted emergency rules under 558.950 Hospice Inpatient Units COVID 19 Response—Re-opening Visitation. This rule defines family education visits and family education visitor. The inpatient hospice will ensure they have policy and procedures that address the family education visit, have a testing strategy of family education visitors, have written agreements with them, and provide training. To review the rule, go to: https://hhs.texas.gov/sites/default/files/documents/services/health/coronavirus-covid-19/inpatient-hospice-reopening-visitation-emergency-rules.pdf.
Emergency Rules for NF Providers Extended
Emergency rules related to COVID-19 mitigation and response in nursing facilities that were scheduled to expire on December 4, 2020, have been extended. The extension took effect on December 4 and will expire on February 1, 2021. To access 40 TAC §19.2802, go to: https://hhs.texas.gov/sites/default/files/documents/doing-business-with-hhs/provider-portal/long-term-care/nf/nursing-facility-covid-19-response-emergency-rule.pdf.
Social workers be aware of the following~
Human Trafficking Training
The Texas Occupations Code Title 3 Health Professions, Subtitle A Provisions Applying to Health Professions General Chapter 116 Training Course on Human Trafficking Preventions requires health care practitioners and those who provide direct care, other than a physician or a nurse, complete a training course approved by HHSC on identifying and assisting victims of human trafficking. This training is required for license renewal.
Approved Human Trafficking Training Courses for Health Care Practitioners House Bill 2059, 86th Legislature, Regular Session, 2019, requires Health and Human Services (HHS) to approve training courses on human trafficking, including at least one that is free of charge, post the list of approved trainings on the HHS website, and update the list of approved trainings as necessary. This list will be expanded as more courses are approved. If you need assistance with any of the listed courses, please contact the training organization directly.
https://hhs.texas.gov/sites/default/files/documents/services/safety/human-trafficking/hhs-approved-human-trafficking-training.pdf . To review the law, go to: https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/OC/htm/OC.116.htm.
HHSC Publishes Updated COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions for:
HHSC Long-Term Care 2020 Christmas Claims Processing Schedule Information posted December 8, 2020
Due to the Christmas holidays, claims processing by the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) Accounting and the State Comptroller will not occur on Friday, December 25 and Friday, January 1. Normal claims processing will resume on Monday, January 4. For the schedule, go to: http://www.tmhp.com/news/2020-12-08-hhsc-long-term-care-2020-christmas-claims-processing-schedule.
The following information was communicated to you via an email blast on December 9, 2020!
E-scribing for Controlled Substances in Texas
Beginning January 1, 2021, electronic prescribing (e-scribing) for all controlled substances goes into effect. The law provides for waivers if there is economic hardship, technological limitations not reasonably within the control of the prescriber or other exceptional circumstances demonstrated by the prescriber.
Other items that have been implemented or are in line to be implemented are:
- Acute pain opioid prescription quantity limits, effective September 1, 2019. A practitioner may not issue a prescription for an opioid in an amount that exceeds a 10-day supply, nor provide for a refill of an opioid for acute pain. Exceptions are provided for cancer care, hospice or other end of life care, palliative care and opioids prescribed for the treatment of substance addition.
- Continuing education requirement, effective September 1, 2021. Pharmacists are required to get two hours of continuing education regarding the monitoring of controlled substances.
For questions and requirement clarifications regarding electronic prescribing, physicians and APRN’s should direct inquires to their respective regulatory agencies.
For detailed information, go to:
- Texas Health and Safety Code Chapter 481: https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/docs/HS/htm/HS.481.htm.
- House Bill 2174, 86th Legislative Session at: https://capitol.texas.gov/tlodocs/86R/billtext/pdf/HB02174F.pdf#navpanes=0.
- Texas Medical Association: https://www.texmed.org/.
- Texas Medical Association E-Scribe: https://www.texmed.org/deadlines/details/?did=51614.