FREE Training for NFs – Handfeeding Techniques for Nursing Facility Residents

HHSC is opening the Handfeeding Techniques for Nursing Facility Residents train-the-trainer program to an additional 20 nursing facilities. Each participating facility will send five or more staff members to a training between June and July 2018. This free training takes place for three consecutive days in one of two regional locations. Each participant will need to attend only one of the three days. Staff members will become master trainers with the skills to train other facility staff members.

The training provides NF staff with information on the decision-making process and the use of specific handfeeding techniques. Presented by associate professor at Duke University’s School of Nursing Melissa Batchelor-Murphy, PhD, RN-BC, FNP-BC, FAAN, in collaboration with HHSC, staff will also learn managing feeding behaviors by considering each resident’s functional ability, energy level and personal preferences. Successful outcomes of this training include adequate handfeeding support and the prevention of unintended weight loss.

To nominate a facility for this training, complete the nomination survey.

Nominations close March 15, 2018. Notification of selected facilities will be in April and training will begin in June. For facilities not selected, future opportunities to participate will be available.

Email questions to

HHSC Adopts New Rules on Self-Release Seatbelts

Provider Letter 18-04 regarding Wheelchair Self-release Seatbelt Rules was issued by HHSC on February 07, 2018.

The new rules require a facility to allow a resident to use a wheelchair self-release seatbelt if the resident meets certain conditions. The rule also specifies when a facility is not required to allow a resident to use a wheelchair self-release seat belt. The new rules implement §322.0515, Texas Health and Safety Code, as added by House Bill (HB) 284 of the 85th Legislature, Regular Session, 2017.

The new wheelchair self-release seat belt rules require a facility to allow a resident to use a self-release seat belt if:

  • The resident or resident’s legal guardian requests the seat belt;
  • The resident consistently demonstrates the ability to fasten and release the seat belt without assistance;
  • The use of the seat belt is documented in and complies with the resident’s plan of care; and
  • The facility receives written authorization, signed by the resident or the resident’s legal guardian for use of the seat belt.

HHSC Issues Clarification on Immediate Threat Violations

HHSC issued PL 18-03-NF issued guidance concerning when a licensure violation counts as one of the three violations forming the basis for the license revocation that is required by § in 40 Texas 19.2107 Administrative Code Chapter 19. The rules in §19.2107 and §19.2113 of 40 Texas Administrative Code Chapter 19  require the Executive Commissioner of the Health and Human Services Commission to revoke a nursing facility’s license if the facility commits three violations within a 24 month period that constitute an immediate threat to health and safety and are related to abuse or neglect of a resident. This provider letter provides additional clarification on when a licensure violation counts.

HHSC Transition to Practice Academy

Register now for the final Transition to Practice Academy conference.

This free, two-day training provides valuable information to newly licensed RNs and LVNs and nurses who are transitioning to a Nursing Facility from another practice setting.

Due to inclement weather, the Corpus Christi conference has been rescheduled.

Remaining Date and Location:

Mar. 20-21, 2018 – Corpus Christi

More information about the conference is available on the registration website. Email questions to

Revisions to Medicaid Bed Allocation Requests

HHSC issued PL 18-02 that revised instructions for Medicaid bed allocation requests.  The provider letter describes new procedures related to the Medicaid bed allocation requirements in the Texas Administrative Code (TAC), Title 40, Part 1, Chapter 19, §19.2322. The changes reduce the time for certain waiver request processes and were developed to shorten the overall time required to reach a waiver request decision. In particular, the new procedures:

  • limit the waiver opponents and waiver applicants to one comment period each for providing comments on the initial waiver application; and
  • change the length of the remaining comment periods from 45 calendar days to thirty calendar days.

These procedures will shorten the waiver request process time from approximately 270 days to approximately 160 days. Also an online application process will be implemented this summer to streamline the process.

Access to Electronic Health Records

In May 2017, HHSC issued Provider Letter No. 17-20 regarding surveyors accessing electronic health records.  We have received a few questions recently on how to make these records available.  We are providing a link to the letter.