HHSC – Learning Collaborative Summit

HHSC has posted information on the August 27th - 28th Statewide Learning Collaborative Summit, including the livestream link and agenda, on the Dates and Deadlines page. Visit us at Garlo Ward, PC … [Read more...]

IRS Defers Requirement on Reporting Health Plan Coverage Costs

On October 12, 2010, the IRS released a draft Form W-2 for employers for 2011. Employers use Form W-2 to report wages and employee tax withholding. The IRS also announced that it will defer the requirement that employers report the cost of coverage under an employer-sponsored group health plan. Therefore, employer reporting of coverage costs is optional for 2011. The deferral allows employers additional time to make changes to their payroll systems or procedures in preparation for compliance … [Read more...]

Proposed Federal Law Targets Employee Misclassification

Correctly classifying employees and independent contractors is about to become even more important. On April 22, the Employee Misclassification Prevention Act (EMPA) was introduced in the United States Congress as an amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). If it becomes law, the EMPA will impose federal criminal penalties upon employers who categorize workers as independent contractors when they should be treated as employees. The bill (1) subjects employers to potential … [Read more...]

Moving Case Mgmt from the Provider to MRA

SB 1 Sect. 48 moved HCS case management to Mental Retardation Authorities (MRA). Currently, DADS does not plan on phasing in this shift, instead, DADS intends to ochestrate a mass move in June of 2010. DADS will hold a training for MRAs and providers in the spring before the change. The MRA will conduct enrollment and keep up with the PDP (person directed plan). The requirement for an interdiscplinary team has been removed and now a service team consisting of the individual, LAR, and … [Read more...]

Mental Health Parity Act Effective Date Delayed Until January 2010

New requirements for employee health care plans originally scheduled to go into effect next month now have been delayed for at least a few more months. Congress has deferred the effective date of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPA) until January 2010. The MHPA does not require health insurance plans to provide mental health or addiction disorder benefits if they do not do so already. However, for group health plans that do choose to provide mental health and/or substance use … [Read more...]

New FMLA Standards Applicable: Some Employees May Be Entitled to Up To 26 Unpaid Weeks Leave

On January 28, 2008, President Bush signed into law new FMLA leave entitlements for military families (“military family leave provisions”). The National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2008 amended the FMLA to provide two new types of unpaid military family leave for FMLA-eligible employees: “qualifying exigency leave” and “military caregiver leave.” Both types of leave have been in effect since January 16, 2009, after the publication of new regulations by the Department of Labor. … [Read more...]

HCS & TxHML Providers–access to Child Abuse & Neglect Reporting System (Screen employees)

DADS is making Client Abuse and Neglect Reporting System (CANRS) available to HCS and TxHmL providers to allow providers to conduct pre-employment screenings of employees in order to find confirmed allegations of abuse, neglect and exploitation while employed at State Schools, State Hospitals, and State Centers.” The provider letter gives instructions on how such providers may gain access to this database. Providers will be able to simply enter the social security number of a potential (or … [Read more...]

What’s in a Rule?

Earlier this year, the Texas Supreme Court issued an opinion outlining the definition of a "rule." El Paso Hospital Dist. v. HHSC, 247 S.W.2d 709 (Tex. 2008). The Court stated, "a presumption favors adopting rules... through the formal rule-making procedures." This case supports the premise that agency action may be invalidated if it isn't backed by a rule crafted through the formal rule-making process. When an agency fails to follow all of the required rule adoption procedures, because it … [Read more...]

Introducing GINA New Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008

President Bush is expected to sign into law the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) passed last week by Congress. The new law, which has been debated in Congress for 13 years, adds to current federal anti-discrimination laws (including Title VII) prohibitions on employers and insurance companies using genetic tests showing people are at risk of developing cancer, heart disease or other ailments to reject their job applications, promotions or health care coverage, or in setting … [Read more...]

“Alert: New Form I-9 Effective Immediately”

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS), which enforces federal employment verification requirements, has issued the first updated Form I-9 since 1991. Devised to help employers verify that every new employee is either a U.S. citizen or authorized to work in the U.S., the law requires that the new Form I-9 be used for all individuals hired on or after November 7, 2007. However, CIS also granted a 30-day "transition period" for employers to begin using the new form. That transition … [Read more...]