On Aug. 25, Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas coast and caused significant damage and flooding in numerous counties forcing many to evacuate to temporary locations. HHS is committed to sharing important Hurricane Harvey information will provide tools and resources needed to ensure the provision of services and supports to needy residents in Texas in the aftermath of this natural disaster.
HHS has setup web pages dedicated to Hurricane Harvey to help members, providers and stakeholders stay informed.
HHS is committed to sharing pertinent Hurricane Harvey information with you . The following documents will provide tools and resources needed to ensure the provision of services and supports to needy residents in Texas in the aftermath of this natural disaster. New and revised information contained in the FAQ document will be highlighted in yellow and placed under the “New Information” section of the document, in addition to appearing under the appropriate subject heading.
To access information regarding Hurricane Harvey, please bookmark this HHS webpage:
Expedited Reciprocity for Certified Nurse Aides Impacted by Hurricane Harvey (posted Oct 3, 2017)
HHSC Long-term Care Regulatory is allowing certified nurse aides (CNAs) from out-of-state to begin working immediately if they submit a reciprocity application within one business day of beginning work in Texas (or within one day of release of this notice if the CNA has already begun working in Texas). HHSC is expediting the review and processing these applications within 1 business day. The nurse aide should be current as a nurse aide on his or her state registry.
To apply for CNA reciprocity, please send the following information via fax to the Licensing and Credentialing Section at (512) 438-2052:
**Note: This waiver request does not impact the existing emergency criminal history check requirements spelled out in §250.003(b) of the Health and Safety Code. All providers hiring an individual during an emergency are still required to request a criminal history check within 24 hours of the individual starting work. The individual must be employed only on a temporary or interim basis until the facility receives the employee’s criminal history results.
If you have any questions about applying for CNA reciprocity, please email email@example.com. If you have questions about this alert or about regulatory requirements for CNAs, please contact the Policy, Rules and Training Section at 512-438-3161.
Guidance for Repatriating Evacuated Facilities or Discharging Residents (posted Sept 20, 2017)
Clarification: The following alert applies only to Nursing Facilities.
Based on CMS guidance under the 1135 waiver, facilities should determine by the 15th day of evacuation (or as soon as practicable) whether or not residents will be able to return to the evacuated facility within 30 days from the date of the evacuation.
Nonetheless, evacuating facilities must ensure displaced residents are returned or admitted to a new facility 30 days post-evacuation. Facilities that have made the determination that they will not repatriate by the 30th day after evacuation must notify their HHSC Regulatory Regional Office.
According to CMS guidance, facilities that cannot repatriate residents within 30 days must discharge residents and ensure they are safely admitted to another facility. All state and federal discharge requirements remain in effect. Meaning, discharge notifications must still be provided to residents and their representatives prior to a discharge taking place. Additionally, discharging facilities must complete required discharge paperwork, including discharge assessments and discharge summaries. If some documentation is not immediately available due to the effects of the storm, discharging facilities must make any required documents available to the receiving facility as soon as practicable.
Throughout the discharge process and upon admission to the receiving facility, residents should be offered choices about where they receive their long-term care services. As part of the comprehensive assessment completed by the receiving facility, discharge planning must be conducted. Receiving facilities should discuss long-term care goals and preferences with evacuated residents that are being admitted. If the resident or the resident’s representative indicates a desire to move to another facility or alternative care setting, the admitting facility must assist the resident to make preparations to move to a setting which meets the resident’s choice and needs.
Service Area Expansion & Relocation Notification Exemptions for HCSSAs Impacted by Hurricane Harvey (posted Sept 13, 2017)
Under normal circumstances, a Home and Community Support Services Agency (HCSSA) must notify HHS Long-Term Care (LTC) Regulatory 30 days in advance if it wishes to change its physical location or expand its service area. In accordance with the rules at 40 Texas Administrative Code, §97.213 and §97.220, HCSSAs located in disaster-impacted counties will be exempted from the 30 day advance notice requirements if they notify HHS LTC Regulatory as soon as possible after relocating or expanding service area.
HCSSAs should provide written notice to the LTC Regulatory Licensing section at Heidi.Lopez@hhsc.state.tx.us if they wish to use the emergency process. As soon as possible after providing the notification, HCSSAs must send in their form 2021 application noting the relocation or service area expansion. The $30 change of information fee will be waived for all providers located in counties impacted by the disaster. The instructions on how to report a change of information are outlined on the HHS HCSSA licensing webpage.
Regulatory Reminder for Long-term Care Providers (posted Sept 6, 2017)
HHS is issuing this reminder to long-term care providers that regulatory staff continues to be available to evaluate and address regulatory challenges related to Hurricane Harvey.
Texas Home Living (TxHmL) and Home and Community-based Services (HCS) waiver providers affected by the hurricane should contact Will Medina at: William.Medina@hhsc.state.tx.us. Mr. Medina and his staff will work with providers to identify potential solutions to their challenges and to obtain waivers of existing standards as necessary. HCS and TxHmL providers requesting waivers or other accommodations should provide the following:
Any Nursing Facilities, Assisted Living Facilities, Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with an Intellectual Disability or Related Conditions, and Home and Community Support Services Agencies needing to request a waiver of a state long-term care regulatory requirement not addressed here should contact the Director for Regulatory Policy, Rule and Curriculum Development at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have a request for a waiver of federal requirements not addressed here, please email the CMS Dallas Region VI office at RODALDSC@cms.hhs.gov and cc Calvin Green at email@example.com with the following information:
Note: At this time, no specific form is required to submit waiver information, but providers should be prepared to discuss the scope of the issue, the assistance being requested, and your plan to ensure that a requested waiver would not jeopardize the health and safety of individuals receiving services.
Facility Fire Watch Notice (posted Sept 1, 2017)
Texas Health and Human Services has been informed that multiple long-term care facilities are currently experiencing water outages as a result of Hurricane Harvey. Facilities should be aware that lack of water will render the facility’s emergency fire suppression system inoperable. As such, long-term care facilities facing water outages must comply with sprinkler impairment procedures as outlined in National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 101, Life Safety Code, and the NFPA Standard for the Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems.
Each long-term care facility experiencing a water outage must provide and implement a fire watch to ensure the health and safety of all residents until the sprinkler system has been returned to service.
This notice applies to the following facility types:
Texas Administrative Code and Federal Regulations supporting these expectations are as follows:
If you have questions regarding this alert, please contact a policy specialist in the Policy, Rules and Curriculum section at 512-438-3161.