Federal Register

DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS Informed Consent and Advance Directives–The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) amends its regulation regarding informed consent and advance directives. We amend the regulation by reorganizing it and amending language where necessary to enhance clarity. In addition, we amend the regulation to facilitate the informed consent process, the ability to communicate with patients or surrogates through available modalities of communication, and the execution and witness requirements for a VA Advance Directive.

We revise this section and publish it as an interim final rule to ensure that informed consent procedural and process changes are in place immediately to address the urgent and emergent clinical care needs of patients related to delivery of health care services and for future health care decisions during the SARS-CoV-2 virus outbreak and

the disease it causes named the “Coronavirus Disease 2019” (COVID-19) which has been declared a national emergency. The changes to current informed consent procedures and requirements are needed for the reasons explained, but the current national emergency has made it particularly vital that they be implemented immediately to

deal with COVID-related treatment setting challenges (to include those arising from VA’s announced contingent (formerly “crisis”) standards of care during the COVID national emergency, VA’s recognition of scarce resources during this emergency requiring changes to resources allocations, to include staffing decisions, changes in treatment

locations, etc.), greater use of telehealth services, and CDC guidance (to include social distancing requirements and separation of infected patients from other patients) issued for this highly infectious disease crisis.


This final rule is effective May 27, 2020.  To review, go to:  https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2020-05-27/html/2020-10264.htm.


 New Mexico Register

 HEALTH, DEPARTMENT OF TITLE 7 HEALTH CHAPTER 8 RESIDENTIAL HEALTH FACILITIES PART 4 GENERAL REQUIREMENTS FOR BOARDING HOMES was adopted and are effective.  Boarding homes are required to determine if a potential resident’s needs can be met prior to admission.  The development of a service plan the rule outlines services that need to be taken into account and what providers should be included in developing the plan.  Hospice and home health providers may be considered in the development of the service plan. For more information, go to:


Federal News and Information

Office of Inspector General (OIG)

OIG Strategic Plan Oversight

The emergence of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has created unprecedented challenges for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and for the delivery of health care and human services to the American people. HHS leads the Federal public health and medical response during public health emergencies.  This plan sets forth the four goals that drive the Office of Inspector General’s (OIG’s) strategic planning and mission execution with respect to HHS’s COVID-19 response and recovery.   You can access the plan at:  https://oig.hhs.gov/about-oig/strategic-plan/COVID-OIG-Strategic-Plan.pdf.

Texas News and Information

Health and Human Services Commission (HCSSA)

Updated COVID-19 FAQs for:

·        HCCSAs (Except Inpatient Hospice Units):https://hhs.texas.gov/sites/default/files/documents/govdelivery/hcssa-covid-faq.pdf


Emergency Preparedness for Hurricane Season

Long-term care providers in Texas are reminded to review their emergency preparedness and response plans before the start of the Atlantic hurricane season, which runs June 1 through November 30, 2020.

Providers also should factor in COVID-19 contingencies when reviewing their preparedness plans. For example, as applicable:

  • Are your receiving facilities and transportation contracts still viable?
  • If your provider type is allowed to evacuate to a hotel, and that is in your plan, are hotels open in your destination?
  • How will you maintain infection control measures during evacuation? And how during a shelter-in-place?
  • If you have COVID-positive persons in your facility, how will that affect evacuation?
  • If you have COVID-positive persons in your facility, how will it affect sheltering-in-place?
  • How will you ensure PPE is available in addition to food and medicine?

It is also important to note that when providers are affected by an adverse event such as severe weather, or expects it will need to temporarily exceed capacity due to a disaster, they should contact their Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) Long-term Care Regulatory regional office (RO) or Waiver Survey and Certification (for waiver program providers).

Please refer to Provider Letter 18-19 as applicable and to your program’s rules for additional important information regarding emergency preparedness:  https://apps.hhs.texas.gov/providers/communications/2018/letters/PL2018-19.pdf.


This alert applies to the following long-term care providers:

  • Assisted living facilities
  • Day activity health services facilities
  • Home and community support service agencies
  • Intermediate care facilities for individuals with an intellectual disability or related conditions
  • In-patient hospice facilities
  • Prescribed pediatric extended care centers
  • Nursing facilities
  • Home and Community-based Services and Texas Home Living


Medicaid Hospice Providers, please not the following~


Texas Medicaid Healthcare Partnership (TMHP)

Updated Quick Reference Guide (QRG) for Remittance and Status Reports for LTC Providers

An updated Quick Reference Guide for Remittance and Status (R&S) Reports for LTC Providers is now available. The QRG is designed to assist providers with accessing, understanding, and reconciling their R&S Reports.


Providers can access this updated QRG on TMHP’s Learning Management System (LMS) as follows:

  1. Select this link: https://learn.tmhp.com/
  2. The LMS appears in a new window. Log into an existing account or create a new account. New visitors to the LMS can access materials and take courses immediately after they register.
  3. The QRG will be in PDF form. Select the appropriate button to view this file in a web browser or to download the file for offline viewing.

Providers can access computer-based training and Additional and Supplemental Training materials on the LMS at any time. Providers can also access the updated QRG directly on the TMHP website by following:  http://www.tmhp.com/Pages/LTC/LTC_Publications_Providers_Manual.aspx.