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RULE §306.1251Disaster Flexibilities

(a) In the event of a state of disaster declared pursuant to Texas Government Code §418.014 for statewide disasters or limited areas subject to the declaration, the flexibilities listed under subsection (c) of this section will be available until the state of disaster is terminated.

(b) Telehealth and telemedicine have the same meaning as the terms telehealth services and telemedicine medical services defined in §111.001 of the Texas Occupations Code (relating to Definitions).

(c) The following flexibilities are available to community behavioral health providers to the extent such providers are providing services under Title 25, Part 1 or Title 26, Part 1 of the Texas Administrative Code (TAC) and to the extent the flexibilities do not conflict with federal or state laws, regulations, rules, or orders.

  (1) For rules under Title 25, Part 1 and Title 26, Part 1 of the TAC that require a community behavioral health provider to deliver certain services:

    (A) through face-to-face or in-person contact, such as the following rules, the provider may use telehealth, telemedicine, video-conferencing, or telephonic methods to engage with the individual to provide these services, to the extent such use is permitted within the scope of the provider's state license, permit, or other legal authorization:

      (i) §301.327 of this title (relating to Access to Mental Health Community Services);

      (ii) §301.351 of this title (relating to Crisis Services);

      (iii) §301.353 of this title (relating to Provider Responsibilities for Treatment Planning and Service Authorization);

      (iv) §301.357 of this title (relating to Additional Standards of Care Specific to Mental Health Community Services for Children and Adolescents);

      (v) §301.359 of this title (relating to Telemedicine Services);

      (vi) §306.207 of this chapter (relating to Post Discharge or Absence for Trial Placement: Contact and Implementation of the Recovery or Treatment Plan);

      (vii) §306.263 of this chapter (relating to MH Case Management Services Standards);

      (viii) §306.275 of this chapter (relating to Documenting MH Case Management Services);

      (ix) §306.277 of this chapter (relating to Medicaid Reimbursement);

      (x) §306.305 of this chapter (relating to Definitions);

      (xi) §306.323 of this chapter (relating to Documentation Requirements);

      (xii) §306.327 of this chapter (relating to Medicaid Reimbursement);

      (xiii) §307.53 of this title (relating to Eligibility Criteria and HCBS-AMH Assessment);

      (xiv) 25 TAC §415.10 (relating to Medication Monitoring); and

      (xv) 25 TAC §415.261 (relating to Time Limitation on an Order for Restraint or Seclusion Initiated in Response to a Behavioral Emergency); or

    (B) in a specific physical space or on site, such as 25 TAC §414.554 (relating to Responsibilities of Local Authorities, Community Centers, and Contractors), the provider may deliver the service using virtual platforms, such as telephone or videoconferencing.

  (2) Section 307.5 of this title (relating to Eligibility Criteria) that require a child or adolescent participating in the Youth Empowerment Services (YES) Waiver Program to reside with their legally authorized representative to receive services may reside with another responsible adult. Providers must ensure the alternate residency complies with any applicable requirements related to participation in the YES Waiver Program. The flexibility allowed under this subsection IS NOT IN EFFECT unless and until the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services approves HHSC's request for activation of Appendix-K.

  (3) For rules under Title 25, Part 1 and Title 26, Part 1 of the TAC that require staff training through face-to-face or in-person contact or in a specific physical space or on site, staff training may be done on virtual platforms.

  (4) For rules under Title 25, Part 1 and Title 26, Part 1 of the TAC where HHSC may issue guidance to extend timeframe flexibilities:

    (A) the extended timeframe may not be longer than 120 days for compliance with staff training requirements based on training availability and feasibility during, or resulting from, a declared disaster; and

    (B) an individual's or staff member's health or safety shall not be compromised by the flexibilities for training requirements provided in:

      (i) §306.83 of this chapter (relating to Staff Training); and

      (ii) §301.331 of this title (relating to Competency and Credentialing).

(d) Providers that avail themselves of the flexibilities allowed under subsection (c) of this section, must comply with:

  (1) all guidance on the application of the rules during the declaration of disaster that is published by HHSC on its website or in another communication format HHSC determines appropriate; and

  (2) all policy guidance applicable to the rules identified in subsection (c) of this section issued by the Texas Health and Human Service Commission Medicaid Services Department.

(e) Providers must ensure any method of contact complies with all applicable requirements related to security and privacy of information.

Source Note: The provisions of this §306.1251 adopted to be effective November 15, 2021, 46 TexReg 7639

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