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RULE §140.420Peer Assistance Programs

(a) The department may issue or renew, as applicable, a license, registration or certification to an individual convicted or placed on community supervision in any jurisdiction for a drug or alcohol offense described in §140.431 of this title (relating to Criminal History Standards) if the department determines that the applicant has successfully completed participation in an approved peer assistance program.

(b) A peer assistance program shall identify, assist, and monitor participating LCDCs whose ability to perform a professional service is impaired or likely to be impaired by abuse of or dependency on drugs or alcohol, so that the individuals may return to safe practice. An LCDC who meet the standard for participation shall be referred to in this section as an "impaired professional." A peer assistance program shall offer support and assistance with a rehabilitative emphasis rather than a disciplinary emphasis.

(c) To become an approved peer assistance program, a professional association shall:

  (1) submit an application form prescribed by the department;

  (2) submit a written description of the peer assistance program that includes:

    (A) goals and objectives, including criteria for successful completion of the peer assistance program;

    (B) target population;

    (C) the plan for ensuring services are available throughout the state;

    (D) how the following areas are to be addressed:

      (i) identification of and intervention with impaired professionals;

      (ii) assistance with accessing quality treatment;

      (iii) monitoring, support, and evaluation of participants;

      (iv) intervention in crises, including relapses; and

      (v) support during the reentry by participants to professional practice or instructional roles.

    (E) staffing plans, minimum staff qualifications by position, and planned staffing levels relative to numbers of participants.

    (F) the plan for program quality assurance and self-evaluation; and

    (G) the methods that will be utilized to promote and encourage use of the program.

  (3) meet the minimum criteria established for peer assistance programs under Texas Health and Safety Code, Chapter 467 and Chapter 451 of this title, as well as any additional criteria set forth in this section and in Texas Occupations Code, §504.057 for peer assistance programs for LCDCs. An approved peer assistance program will remain subject to and comply with these provisions once approved. In the event of direct conflict between any of the provisions, the provisions of Texas Occupations Code, §504.057 and this section shall govern.

(d) A peer assistance program may seek department funding for its program by responding to a department solicitation relating to peer assistance programs established under Texas Occupations Code, §504.057. A peer assistance program must be approved by the department to be eligible to contract with the department for funding of its program. Approval of the peer assistance program shall expire on the second anniversary of the date of approval. To renew the approval status, a professional association shall submit the materials as outlined in subsection (c) of this section.

(e) The peer assistance program shall comply with applicable Federal and State confidentiality laws and regulations, including, without limitation, Code of Federal Regulations, Title 42, Part 2 (relating to Confidentiality of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Patient Records) and Texas Health and Safety Code, Chapter 611 (relating to Mental Health Records).

(f) The peer assistance program shall notify the department, and, if required by Texas Health and Safety Code, §467.005 (relating to Reports), the person who made the report of the impaired professional to the peer assistance program, if the impaired individual fails to participate in the applicable program as required by the department.

(g) An impaired professional who is reported to a peer assistance program by the department or another third party shall, as a condition of participation in the program, give consent to the program that, at a minimum, authorizes the program to disclose the impaired person's failure to successfully complete the program to the department, and, as necessary for the peer assistance program to comply with its notification requirements, to the person who reported the impaired professional to the program.

(h) The department may revoke its approval of a program established by a professional association under this chapter, after a right to a fair hearing in accordance with §§1.41, 1.51 - 1.55 of this title (relating to Fair Hearing Procedures), if the authority determines that:

  (1) the program does not comply with the criteria established by the department; and

  (2) the professional association does not bring the program into compliance within a reasonable time, as determined by the department.

Source Note: The provisions of this §140.420 adopted to be effective September 9, 2008, 33 TexReg 7520; amended to be effective August 9, 2012, 37 TexReg 5788

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