July 1, 2020

A Personal Assistance Services agency must ensure that staff are screened at the beginning of each workday and that a client and the client’s household members are screened before a home visit. A PAS agency must also document that each screening occurred. This follows emergency rule §558.408 (Emergency Rule for HCSSA Response to COVID-19) and is to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

One screening criteria is fever. A thermometer is the best tool to determine a person’s temperature and whether a fever exists. Screening for a fever is recommended by the Department of State Health Services and the CDC and required by §558.408. When a thermometer is unavailable, a PAS agency can only screen for all other symptoms. All screenings must include a review of COVID-19 symptoms listed on the CDC website and those identified in §558.408.

A PAS agency can decide the best way to document its screening through a method. The method must identify the person screened and responses to the screening, such as by robocall, electronic record or paper record. Screening documentation should at least include:

  • Agency name
  • Name and title of the staff member conducting the screening. A staff member can self-screen
  • Name of the person screened
  • Date and time of the screening
  • Screening result and if the person met any of the screening criteria
  • A statement that the screener complied with agency policies to prevent the spread of COVID-19
  • Signature of the screener

HHSC surveyors and investigators and the agency’s Quality Assessment and Performance Improvement Committee must be able to retrieve the documentation for review. If screening documentation is maintained electronically, then a PAS agency must generate a report for HHSC surveyors and investigators. A PAS agency must implement the documentation requirements described in this alert by July 22.

Screening documentation must be incorporated in the client’s record at an interval set by the agency’s policy that allows for timely review. For a client who meets any screening criteria, a PAS agency must tell the client to seek medical attention and provide services with the protections described in the emergency rule. For a client’s household member who meets any screening criteria, a PAS agency must provide services to the client with the protections described in the emergency rule.