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RULE §338.1Disaster Flexibilities

(a) Definitions. The following words and terms, when used in this chapter, have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.

  (1) Audio-only--A synchronous, interactive, two-way audio communication that uses only sound and that meets the privacy requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Audio-only includes the use of telephonic communication. Audio-only does not include face-to-face communication.

  (2) Audio-visual--A synchronous, interactive, two-way audio and video communication that conforms to privacy requirements under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Audio-visual does not include audio-only or in-person communication.

  (3) Face-to-face--In-person or audio-visual communication that meets the requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Face-to-face does not include audio-only communication.

  (4) In-person (or in person)--Within the physical presence of another person. In-person or in person does not include audio-visual or audio-only communication.

(b) The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) may allow local intellectual and developmental disability authorities (LIDDAs) to use the flexibilities described in subsection (c) of this section while an executive order or proclamation declaring a state of disaster under Texas Government Code §418.014 is in effect. HHSC will notify LIDDAs when a flexibility is permitted and the date the flexibility must no longer be used, which may be before the declaration of a state of disaster expires.

(c) Subject to the notification by HHSC, the following flexibilities may be available to LIDDAs to the extent the flexibility is permitted by and does not conflict with other laws or obligations of the LIDDA and is allowed by federal and state law.

  (1) Service coordination required to be provided in person under 26 TAC §331.11(d) of this title (relating to LIDDA's Responsibilities) may be provided using audio-visual or audio-only communication.

  (2) HHSC may extend the timeframes for LIDDAs in the following rules:

    (A) the timeframe to request an administrative hearing in 40 TAC §4.156 (relating to Request for an Administrative Hearing);

    (B) the timeframe for a person and legally authorized representative (LAR) to request a review of a decision to deny or terminate services in 26 TAC §301.155(e)(3) (relating to Notification and Appeals Process);

    (C) the timeframe for a person or the person's parent to comply with the applicable accountability requirement in 40 TAC §2.105(f)(1) (relating to Accountability) in order for the LIDDA to retroactively adjust the person's account; and

    (D) the timeframe for a person or parent to submit a request to review a LIDDA's appeal decision to HHSC in 40 TAC §2.109(e)(3) (relating to Payments, Collections, and Non-payment).

(d) LIDDAs that use one or more of the flexibilities allowed under subsection (c) of this section must comply with:

  (1) all policy guidance applicable to the rules identified in subsection (c) of this section issued by HHSC Community Services Division during the declaration of disaster that is published by HHSC on its LIDDA 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 HHSC Medicaid and CHIP Services.

(e) LIDDAs must ensure audio-only or audio-visual communication complies with all applicable requirements related to security and privacy of information.

(f) LIDDAs must notify the person, the LAR, or the person's parent if the person is younger than 18 years of age, of the extension of timeframes permitted under subsection (c)(2) of this section that apply to the person receiving services.

Source Note: The provisions of this §338.1 adopted to be effective March 17, 2024, 49 TexReg 1475

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