Three provider letters have been released by Texas HHS since December 10, 2018:
Acceptable Documentation for a Criminal History Check (replacing old letters), released on January 1, 2019, describes the documentation that Alf’s, DAH, HCSSA ICF/IID, NF, and PPECC may use to show that a criminal history check has been conducted, as well that the provider reviewed the results and determined that there was no impediment for employment. It also details what is not acceptable documentation and what the surveyor can do in response:
An HHSC surveyor may find that a criminal history log in the form of
Attachment 1 is not acceptable documentation if it:
• is not fully and accurately completed; or
• does not include information about one or more employees of the
If an HHSC surveyor considers a log to be unacceptable, the surveyor may
consider other documentation to evaluate a provider’s compliance. If a
provider does not provide acceptable documentation to show compliance
with applicable requirements, a surveyor will cite the provider.
On December 17, 2018–effective January 1, 2019–New Requirements to Report Critical Incidents and Evaluate Critical Incident Data was released. This letter impacts CLASS case management service agencies. HHSC has added an appendix to the CLASS Provider Manual and the DBMD (Deaf Blind with Multiple Disabilities) Provider Manual. The Appendix describes what is required in reporting and evaluating critical incidents.
Finally, on December 10, 2018, HHS replaced a prior letter regarding Providing Access to Electronic Health Records. It outlines the following provider responsibilities:
During an entrance conference, a provider must explain to a survey team requesting access to EHRs how the provider is giving surveyors secure and unrestricted access to the EHRs.
If a provider impedes the survey or investigation process by unnecessarily delaying or restricting access to EHRs, HHSC may take adverse certification or licensure action against a provider.
According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services,1 a provider that participates in Medicaid or Medicare must:
- provide to a surveyor a tutorial on how to use the provider’s EHR system;
- designate one representative of the provider who will, when requested by a surveyor, access the system, respond to any questions, and assist the surveyor as needed in accessing EHRs in a timely manner;
- provide at least one terminal for surveyors to access EHRs or, if the provider has a web-based system, provide surveyors with temporary access to secure Wi-Fi so they can access EHRs from their laptop computers or tablets;
- provide access to EHRs in a read-only format, when possible, to avoid inadvertent changes to the EHR;
- ensure that necessary data back-up and security measures are in place to protect the integrity of its records; and
- provide print capability to a surveyor or make available a printout of any record or part of a record that a surveyor requests in a timeframe that does not impede the survey or investigation
Regardless of the arrangements that a provider makes to allow surveyors to have access to EHRs, setting a single password for all surveyors to use during a survey or investigation, rather than requiring surveyors to request new passwords each time they log in, will prevent delays in the survey or investigation process.