Revision 20-0; Effective December 18, 2020

 

This section assists the contractor in conducting administrative activities such as assuring client access to services and managing client records.

 

3100 Administrative Policies

Revision 20-0; Effective December 18, 2020

 

Client Access

The contractor must ensure that clients are provided services in a timely and nondiscriminatory manner. The contractor must:

  • Have a policy in place that delineates the timely provision of services.
  • Have policies in place to identify and eliminate possible barriers to client care.
  • Comply with all applicable civil rights laws and regulations including Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and ensure services are accessible to persons with Limited English Proficiency (LEP) and speech or sensory impairments.
  • Have a policy in place that requires qualified staff to assess and prioritize client needs.
  • Provide referral resources for individuals that cannot be served or cannot receive a specific needed service.
  • Manage funds to ensure that established clients continue to receive services throughout the budget year, even after allocated funds are expended.
  • Ensure clinic/reception room wait times are reasonable so as not to represent a barrier to care.

 

Important Information for Former Military Service Members

Women and men who served in any branch of the United States Armed Forces, including Army, Navy, Marines, Air Forces, Coast Guard, Reserves or National Guard, may be eligible for additional benefits and services. For more information, visit the Texas Veterans Portal at https://veterans.portal.texas.gov.

 

3200 Abuse and Neglect Reporting

Revision 20-0; Effective December 18, 2020

 

Texas Health and Human Services agencies may only provide funds to contractors/providers who show good faith efforts to comply with all child abuse reporting guidelines and requirements set forth in Chapter 261 of the Texas Family Code.

To report abuse or neglect, call the Texas Abuse Hotline at 800-252-5400, or use the secure Texas Abuse Hotline Website. For cases that pose an imminent threat or danger to an individual, call 9-1-1, or any local or state law enforcement agency.

 

Child Abuse Reporting, Compliance and Monitoring

Contractors are required to develop policies and procedures that comply with the child abuse reporting guidelines and requirements set forth in Chapter 261 of the Texas Family Code.

Contractors must develop an internal policy specific to:

  • How child abuse reporting requirements will be implemented throughout their agency;
  • How staff will be trained; and
  • How internal monitoring will be done to ensure timely reporting.

During Quality Assurance (QA) monitoring, the following procedures will be utilized to evaluate compliance:

  • The contractor's process to ensure that staff is reporting child abuse as required by Chapter 261. To verify compliance, contract monitors will review that the contractor:
    • Has an internal policy which details how the contractor will determine, document, report and track instances of abuse, sexual or non-sexual, for all individuals under the age of 17 in compliance with Chapter 261;
    • Follows their internal policy; and
    • Has documented staff training on child abuse reporting requirements and procedures.
  • The contractor’s internal policy must clearly describe the reporting process for child abuse.

Additional information for abuse reporting: Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.

 

Human Trafficking

HHSC mandates that contractors comply with state laws governing the reporting of abuse and neglect. Additionally, as part of the requirement that contractors comply with all applicable federal laws, contractors must comply with the federal anti-trafficking laws, including the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (22 USC §7101, et seq.).

Contractors must have a written policy on human trafficking which includes the provision of annual staff training.

References for human trafficking policy development:

 

Domestic and Intimate Partner Violence

Intimate partner violence (IPV) describes physical, sexual or psychological harm by a current or former partner or spouse. This type of violence can occur among heterosexual or same sex couples and does not require sexual intimacy.

Contractors must have a written policy related to assessment and prevention of domestic and IPV, including the provision of annual staff training.

Additional information on IPV can be found on the CDC website.

 

3300 Confidentiality

Revision 20-0; Effective December 18, 2020

 

All contracting agencies must be in compliance with the U.S. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPPA) established standards for protection of client privacy.

Contractors must ensure that all employees and volunteers receive training about client confidentiality during orientation and be made aware that violation of the law regarding confidentiality may result in civil damages and criminal penalties. All employees, volunteers, sub-contractors, and board members and/or advisory board members must sign a confidentiality statement during orientation.

The client’s preferred method of follow-up to clinic services (cell phone, email, work phone, and/or text) and preferred language must be documented in the client’s record.

Each client must receive verbal assurance of confidentiality and an explanation of what confidentiality means (kept private and not shared without permission) and any applicable exceptions such as abuse reporting.

 

Minors and Confidentiality

Except as permitted by law, a provider is legally required to maintain the confidentiality of care provided to a minor. Confidential care does not apply when the law requires parental notification or consent, or when the law requires the provider to report health information such as in the cases of contagious disease or abuse. The definition of privacy is the ability of the individual to maintain information in a protected way. Confidentiality in health care is the obligation of the health care provider not to disclose protected information. While confidentiality is implicit in maintaining a patient's privacy, confidentiality between provider and patient is not an absolute right.

The HIPAA privacy rule requires a covered entity to treat a “personal representative” the same as the individual with respect to uses and disclosures of the individual’s protected health information. In most cases, parents are the personal representatives for their minor children and they can exercise individual rights, such as access to medical records, on behalf of their minor children (Code of Federal Regulations - 45 CFR§164.502(g)).

For more information, see Adolescent Health – A Guide for Providers.

 

Nondiscrimination and Limited English Proficiency (LEP)

As outlined in the HHSC Uniform Terms and Conditions – Grant Version 2.16, HHSC contractors must comply with state and federal antidiscrimination laws, including but not limited to:

More information about nondiscrimination laws and regulations can be found at HHSC Civil Rights Office.

 

Termination of Services

A qualifying individual must never be denied services due to an inability to pay. Contractors have the right to terminate services to a client if the client is disruptive, unruly, threatening or uncooperative to the extent that the client seriously impairs the contractor’s ability to effectively and safely provide services, or if the client’s behavior jeopardizes his or her own safety, clinic staff or others. An individual has the right to appeal the denial, modification, suspension or termination of services. (See Fair Hearings, in the Epilepsy rules at Title 25, Part 1, Chapter 37, Subchapter K). Any policy related to termination of services must be included in the contractor’s policy manual.

 

Resolution of Complaints

Contractors must ensure that clients can express concerns about care received and to further ensure that those complaints are handled in a consistent manner. Contractors’ policy and procedure manuals must explain the process clients may follow if they are not satisfied with the care received. If an aggrieved client requests a hearing, a contractor shall not terminate services to the client until a final decision is rendered by HHSC. Any client complaint must be documented in the client’s record.

 

Research (Human Subject Clearance)

Contractors considering clinical or sociological research using Epilepsy Program funded clients as subjects must obtain prior approval from their own internal Institutional Review Board (IRB) and HHSC. Contractors should first contact the HHSC Epilepsy Program (Epilepsy@hhsc.state.tx.us) to initiate a research request. Next, the Epilepsy Program will assist contractors to find the most current version of the appropriate IRB application to complete and submit. The IRB will review the materials and approve or deny the application.

The contractor must have a policy in place that indicates that prior approval will be obtained from the HHSC Epilepsy Program, as well as the IRB, prior to instituting any research activities. The contractor must also ensure that all staff is made aware of this policy through staff training. Documentation of training on this topic must be maintained.

 

3400 Client Records Management

Revision 20-0; Effective December 18, 2020

 

HHSC contractors must have an organized and secure client record system. The contractor must ensure that the record is organized, readily accessible, and available to the client upon request with a signed release of information. The records must be kept confidential and secure, as follows:

  • Safeguarded against loss and used by unauthorized persons;
  • Secured by lock when not in use or inaccessible to unauthorized persons; and
  • Maintained in a secure environment in the facility, as well as during transfer between clinics and in between home and office visits.

The written consent of the client is required for the release of personally identifiable information, except as it may be necessary to provide services to the client or as required by law, with appropriate safeguards for confidentiality. If the client is 17 years of age or younger, the client’s parent, managing conservator or guardian, as authorized by Chapter 32 of the Texas Family Code or by federal law or regulations, must authorize the release. HIV information should be handled according to law.

When information is requested, contractors should release only the specific information requested. Information collected for reporting purposes may be disclosed only in summary, statistically or in a form that does not identify individuals. Upon request, clients transferring to other providers must be provided with a copy or a summary of their record to expedite continuity of care. Electronic records are acceptable as medical records.

Contractors, providers, subrecipients and subcontractors must maintain for the time specified by HHSC all records pertaining to client services, contracts and payments. Contractors must follow contract provisions, maintain medical records for at least seven years after the close of the contract and follow the retention standards of the appropriate licensing entity. All records relating to services must be accessible for examination at any reasonable time to representatives of HHSC and as required by law.

 

3500 Personnel Policies and Procedures

Revision 20-0; Effective December 18, 2020

 

Contractors must develop and maintain personnel policies and procedures to ensure that clinical staff are hired, trained and evaluated appropriately to their job position. Contracted staff must also be trained and evaluated according to their responsibilities. Job descriptions, including those for contracted personnel, must specify required qualifications and licensure. All staff must be appropriately identified with a name badge. Personnel policies and procedures must include:

  • Job descriptions, including those for contracted personnel;
  • A written orientation plan for new staff to include skills evaluation and/or competencies appropriate for the position; and
  • A performance evaluation process for all staff.

Contractors must show evidence that employees meet all required qualifications and are provided annual training. Job evaluations should include observation of staff/client interactions during clinical, counseling and educational services.

Contractors shall establish safeguards to prohibit employees from using their positions for a purpose that constitutes or presents the appearance of personal or organizational conflict of interest or personal gain. All employees and board members must complete a conflict of interest statement during orientation. All medical care must be provided under the supervision, direction and responsibility of a qualified medical director. All dental services must be provided under the supervision, direction and responsibility of a qualified licensed dentist.

The epilepsy medical director for the clinic must be a licensed Texas physician. Contractors must have a documented plan for organized staff development. There must be an assessment of:

  • Training needs;
  • Quality assurance indicators; and
  • Changing regulations/requirements.

Staff development must include orientation and in-service training for all personnel and volunteers (nonprofit entities must provide orientation for board members and government entities must provide orientation for its advisory committees). Employee orientation and continuing education must be documented in agency personnel files.

 

3600 Facilities and Equipment

Revision 20-0; Effective December 18, 2020

 

HHSC contractors are required to always maintain a safe environment. Contractors must have written policies and procedures that address hazardous waste, fire safety and medical equipment.

 

Hazardous Materials

Contractors must have written policies and procedures that address:

  • The handling, storage and disposing of hazardous materials and waste according to applicable laws and regulations;
  • The handling, storage and disposing of chemical and infectious waste including sharp objects; and
  • An orientation and education program for personnel who manage or have contact with hazardous materials and waste.

 

Fire Safety

Contractors must have a written fire safety policy that includes a schedule for testing and maintenance of fire safety equipment. Evacuation plans for the premises must be clearly posted and visible to all staff and clients.

 

Medical Equipment

Contractors must have a written policy and maintain documentation of the maintenance, testing and inspection of medical equipment, including an Automated External Defibrillator (AED). Documentation must include:

  • Assessments of the clinical and physical risks of equipment through inspection, testing and maintenance;
  • Reports of any equipment management problems, failures and use errors;
  • An orientation and education program for personnel who use medical equipment; and
  • Manufacturer recommendations for care and use of medical equipment.

 

Radiology Equipment and Standards

All facilities providing radiology services, including dental X-rays, must:

For information on X-ray machine registration, see the Texas Department of State Health Services, Radiation Control Program.

 

Smoking Ban

Contractors must have written policies that prohibit smoking in any portion of their indoor facilities. If a contractor subcontracts with another entity for the provision of health services, the subcontractor must also comply with this policy.

 

Disaster Response Plan

Contractors must have written and oral plans that address how staff must respond to emergency situations (e.g., fires, flooding, power outage, bomb threats, etc.). The disaster plan must identify the procedures and processes that will be initiated during a disaster and the staff position(s) responsible for each activity. A disaster response plan must be in writing, formally communicated to staff and kept in the workplace available to employees for review. For an employer with ten or fewer employees, the plan may be communicated orally to employees.

For additional resources on facilities and equipment, see the Occupational Safety and Health Administration website.

 

3700 Emergency Responsiveness

Revision 20-0; Effective December 18, 2020

 

Clinical Emergencies

Contractors must be adequately prepared to handle clinical emergency situations, as follows:

  • There must be a written plan for the management of on-site medical emergencies, emergencies requiring ambulance services and hospital admission.
  • Each site must have staff trained in basic cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and emergency medical action. Staff trained in CPR must be present during all hours of clinic operations.
  • There must be written protocols to address vaso-vagal reactions, anaphylaxis, syncope, cardiac arrest, shock, hemorrhage and respiratory difficulties.
  • Each site must maintain emergency resuscitative drugs, supplies and equipment appropriate to the services provided at that site, and appropriately trained staff when clients are present.
  • Documentation must be maintained in personnel files that staff has been trained regarding these written plans or protocols.

 

Emergency Preparedness

There must be a written safety plan that includes maintenance of fire safety equipment, an emergency evacuation plan and a disaster response plan.

 

3800 Quality Management

Revision 20-0; Effective December 18, 2020

 

Contractors must use internal Quality Assurance/Quality Improvement (QA/QI) systems and processes to monitor epilepsy services. Contractors must have a Quality Management (QM) program individualized to their organizational structure and based on the services provided. The goals of the quality program should ensure availability and accessibility of services, quality and continuity of care.

Contractors should integrate QM concepts and methodologies into the structure of the organization and day-to-day operations.

Contractors are expected to develop quality processes based on four core QM principles that focus on:

  • The client;
  • Systems and processes;
  • Measurement; and
  • Teamwork.

The QM program must be developed and implemented in such a way that provides for ongoing evaluation of services. Contractors should have a comprehensive plan for the internal review, measurement and evaluation of services, the analysis of monitoring data, and the development of strategies for improvement and sustainability.

Contractors who subcontract for the provision of services must also address how quality will be evaluated and how compliance with HHSC policies and basic standards will be assessed with the subcontracting entities.

The QM Committee, whose membership consists of key leadership of the organization, including the executive director/CEO and the medical and dental director and other appropriate staff where applicable, annually reviews and approves the quality work plan for the organization.

The QM Committee must meet at least quarterly to:

  • Receive reports of monitoring activities;
  • Make decisions based on the analysis of data collected;
  • Determine quality improvement actions to be implemented; and
  • Reassess outcomes and goal achievement.

Minutes of the discussion and actions taken by the QM Committee and a list of the attendees must be maintained.

The comprehensive quality work plan, at a minimum, must:

  • Include clinical and administrative standards by which services will be monitored;
  • Include a process for credentialing and peer review of clinicians;
  • Identify individuals responsible for implementing monitoring, evaluating and reporting;
  • Establish timelines for quality monitoring activities;
  • Identify tools/forms to be utilized; and
  • Outline reporting to the QM Committee.

Although each organization’s QA program is unique, the following activities must be undertaken by all agencies providing client services:

  • Ongoing eligibility, billing and clinical record reviews to assure compliance with program requirements and clinical standards of care;
  • Tracking and reporting of adverse outcomes;
  • Client satisfaction surveys;
  • Annual review of facilities to maintain a safe environment, including an emergency safety plan;
  • Annual review of prescriptive authority agreements (PAAs), policies, clinical protocols and standing delegation orders (SDOs) to ensure they are current; and
  • Performance evaluations to include primary license verification, valid Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) number and immunization status to ensure they are current.

HHSC contractors who subcontract for the provision of services must also address how quality will be evaluated and how compliance with policies and basic standards will be assessed with the subcontracting entities including:

  • Annual license verification (primary source verification);
  • Clinical record review;
  • Eligibility and billing review;
  • On-site facility review;
  • Annual client satisfaction evaluation process; and
  • Child abuse training and reporting – subcontractor staff.

Data from these activities must be presented to the QM Committee. Plans to improve quality should result from the data analysis and reports considered by the QM Committee and should be documented.