Information about Preparing for an Emergency
The purpose of this web page is to help Health and Human Services (HHSC) home and community support services agencies (HCSSAs) find resources and information on emergency preparedness in one convenient location.
The Texas Administrative Code (TAC), Title 26, Part 1, Chapter 558, §558.256, relating to Emergency Preparedness Planning and Implementation, applies to all categories of service on a HCSSA license. Section 558.403(w)(2) contains additional licensing standards for a hospice inpatient unit.
A HCSSA is responsible for the care and services it agrees to provide to its clients and for the coordination of care. For a client whose services provided by the agency must continue uninterrupted to maintain the client's health and safety, the response phase of a HCSSA's emergency preparedness plan must include procedures for communicating with other healthcare providers that can provide the necessary services during an emergency.
The rules do not require HCSSAs, other than hospice inpatient unit, to evacuate or transport clients in an emergency or to continue to provide care to clients in emergency situations that are beyond the agency's control and that make it impossible to provide services. Because HCSSA clients do not receive 24-hour care from the HCSSA and because they reside in the community, clients have the same choices and options as other members of the community to shelter in place, evacuate or arrange for evacuation through family, community resources or by calling 2-1-1.
For any questions regarding an agency's responsibilities during a disaster, please contact a HCSSA policy specialist at 512-438-3161.
You can find alerts about emergency situations and conditions with the regular HCSSA alerts.
- 2-1-1 Texas
- American Red Cross
- American Red Cross: Preparing for a Disaster for People with Disabilities or Special Healthcare Needs
- National Hurricane Center
- Ready.gov (Federal Emergency Management Agency)
- Texas Division of Emergency Management
- Texas Department of State Health Services hurricane information
- Texas Online disaster response portal
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) — During an emergency, an agency may need to share client information when transferring or discharging clients. For example, an agency may transfer or discharge a client when the client's health and safety is at risk, in accordance with the provisions of §558.256 (relating to Emergency Preparedness Planning and Implementation). Agencies must adopt and enforce written procedures regarding the use and removal of records, and the release of information. The agency must ensure that each client's record is treated with confidentiality, is safeguarded against loss and unofficial use, and is maintained according to professional standards of practice and HIPAA policies.
Regional Program Managers
Region 2 & 5
Amy Van Heijningen
Charlayne "Charlee" Burns
If You Have Questions?
- Policy and rules interpretation: 512-438-3161
- Contracting: 512-438-2080
State and Federal Rules and Statutes
Texas Administrative Code
- Title 26, Part 1, Chapter 558, §558.256 Emergency Preparedness Planning and Implementation
- Title 26, Part 1, Chapter 558, §558.281 Client Care Policies
- Title 26, Part 1, Chapter 558, §558.282 Client Conduct and Responsibility and Client Rights
- Title 26, Part 1, Chapter 558, §558.288 Coordination of Services
- Title 26, Part 1, Chapter 558, §558.290 Backup Services and After Hours Care
- Title 26, Part 1, Chapter 558, §558.871(a)(2) Standards Specific to Agencies Licensed to Provide Hospice Services
- Title 26, Part 1, Chapter 558: Licensing Standards for Home and Community Support Services Agencies