HUMAN RESOURCES CODE


TITLE 7. REHABILITATION OF INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES


CHAPTER 117. DEPARTMENT OF ASSISTIVE AND REHABILITATIVE SERVICES


SUBCHAPTER A. GENERAL PROVISIONS


Sec. 117.001. DEFINITIONS. In this chapter:

(1) "Commission" means the Health and Human Services Commission.

(2) "Commissioner" means the commissioner of assistive and rehabilitative services.

(3) "Council" means the Assistive and Rehabilitative Services Council.

(4) "Department" means the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services.

(5) "Executive commissioner" means the executive commissioner of the Health and Human Services Commission.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 198, Sec. 1.13, eff. Dec. 29, 2003.

Sec. 117.002. AGENCY. The department is an agency of the state.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 198, Sec. 1.13, eff. Dec. 29, 2003.

Sec. 117.003. SUNSET PROVISION. The Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services is subject to Chapter 325, Government Code (Texas Sunset Act). Unless continued in existence as provided by that chapter, the department is abolished and this chapter expires September 1, 2015.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 198, Sec. 1.13, eff. Dec. 29, 2003.

Amended by:

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 928 (H.B. 3249), Sec. 3.07, eff. June 15, 2007.

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., 1st C.S., Ch. 2 (S.B. 2), Sec. 2.13, eff. July 10, 2009.

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1232 (S.B. 652), Sec. 2.19, eff. June 17, 2011.

SUBCHAPTER B. ADMINISTRATIVE PROVISIONS


Sec. 117.021. ASSISTIVE AND REHABILITATIVE SERVICES COUNCIL. (a) The Assistive and Rehabilitative Services Council is created to assist the commissioner in developing rules and policies for the department.

(b) The council is composed of nine members of the public appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the senate. To be eligible for appointment to the council, a person must have demonstrated an interest in and knowledge of problems and available services related to early childhood intervention services or to persons with disabilities other than developmental delay and mental retardation and persons who are blind, deaf, or hard of hearing.

(c) The council shall study and make recommendations to the executive commissioner and the commissioner regarding the management and operation of the department, including policies and rules governing the delivery of services to persons who are served by the department and the rights and duties of persons who are served or regulated by the department.

(d) Chapter 551, Government Code, applies to the council.

(e) Chapter 2110, Government Code, does not apply to the council.

(f) A majority of the members of the council constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 198, Sec. 1.13, eff. Dec. 29, 2003.

Sec. 117.022. APPOINTMENTS. (a) Appointments to the council shall be made without regard to the race, color, disability, sex, religion, age, or national origin of the appointees.

(b) Appointments to the council shall be made so that each geographic area of the state is represented on the council. Notwithstanding Subsection (a), appointments to the council must reflect the ethnic diversity of this state.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 198, Sec. 1.13, eff. Dec. 29, 2003.

Sec. 117.023. TRAINING PROGRAM FOR COUNCIL MEMBERS. (a) A person who is appointed as a member of the council may not vote, deliberate, or be counted as a member in attendance at a meeting of the council until the person completes a training program that complies with this section.

(b) The training program must provide the person with information regarding:

(1) the legislation that created the department and the council;

(2) the programs operated by the department;

(3) the role and functions of the department and the council, including detailed information regarding:

(A) the division of authority and of responsibility between the commissioner and the executive commissioner; and

(B) the advisory responsibilities of the council;

(4) the rules of the executive commissioner applicable to the department, with an emphasis on the rules that relate to disciplinary and investigatory authority;

(5) the current budget for the department;

(6) the results of the most recent formal audit of the department;

(7) the requirements of:

(A) the open meetings law, Chapter 551, Government Code;

(B) the public information law, Chapter 552, Government Code;

(C) the administrative procedure law, Chapter 2001, Government Code; and

(D) other laws relating to public officials, including conflict-of-interest laws; and

(8) any applicable ethics policies adopted by the executive commissioner or the Texas Ethics Commission.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 198, Sec. 1.13, eff. Dec. 29, 2003.

Sec. 117.024. TERMS. (a) Council members serve for staggered six-year terms with the terms of three members expiring February 1 of each odd-numbered year.

(b) A member of the council may not serve more than two consecutive full terms as a council member.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 198, Sec. 1.13, eff. Dec. 29, 2003.

Sec. 117.025. VACANCY. The governor by appointment shall fill the unexpired term of a vacancy on the council.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 198, Sec. 1.13, eff. Dec. 29, 2003.

Sec. 117.026. PRESIDING OFFICER; OTHER OFFICERS; MEETINGS. (a) The governor shall designate a member of the council as the presiding officer to serve in that capacity at the pleasure of the governor.

(b) The members of the council shall elect any other necessary officers.

(c) The council shall meet quarterly and at other times at the call of the presiding officer. The council may hold meetings in different areas of the state.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 198, Sec. 1.13, eff. Dec. 29, 2003.

Sec. 117.027. REIMBURSEMENT FOR EXPENSES. A council member may not receive compensation for service as a member of the council but is entitled to reimbursement for travel expenses incurred by the member while conducting the business of the council as provided by the General Appropriations Act.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 198, Sec. 1.13, eff. Dec. 29, 2003.

Sec. 117.028. PUBLIC INTEREST INFORMATION AND COMPLAINTS. (a) The commissioner, with the advice of the council, shall prepare information of public interest describing the functions of the department and the procedures by which complaints are filed with and resolved by the department. The commission shall make the information available to the public and appropriate state governmental entities.

(b) The executive commissioner by rule shall establish methods by which consumers and service recipients are notified of the name, mailing address, and telephone number of the department for directing complaints to the department.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 198, Sec. 1.13, eff. Dec. 29, 2003.

Sec. 117.029. PUBLIC ACCESS AND TESTIMONY. (a) The commissioner shall develop and implement policies that provide the public with a reasonable opportunity to appear before the commissioner and to speak on any issue under the jurisdiction of the department.

(b) The commissioner shall grant an opportunity for a public hearing before the council makes recommendations to the commissioner regarding a substantive rule if a public hearing is requested by:

(1) at least 25 persons;

(2) a governmental entity; or

(3) an association with at least 25 members.

(c) The executive commissioner shall consider fully all written and oral submissions about a proposed rule.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 198, Sec. 1.13, eff. Dec. 29, 2003.

Sec. 117.030. POLICYMAKING AND MANAGEMENT RESPONSIBILITIES. The commissioner, with the advice of the council and subject to the approval of the executive commissioner, shall develop and the department shall implement policies that clearly delineate the policymaking responsibilities of the executive commissioner from the management responsibilities of the commission, the commissioner, and the staff of the department.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 198, Sec. 1.13, eff. Dec. 29, 2003.

Sec. 117.032. OFFICES. The department shall maintain its central office in Austin. The department may maintain offices in other areas of the state as necessary.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 198, Sec. 1.13, eff. Dec. 29, 2003.

Sec. 117.033. CRIMINAL HISTORY RECORD INFORMATION. (a) The department may obtain criminal history record information from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and from the Texas Department of Public Safety if the criminal history records relate to:

(1) an applicant selected for employment with the department;

(2) an applicant for services of the department; or

(3) a client of the department.

(b) The Texas Department of Criminal Justice and the Texas Department of Public Safety upon request shall supply to the department criminal history record information relating to applicants selected for employment with the department, applicants for services of the department, or clients of the department. The department shall treat all criminal history record information as privileged and confidential and for department use only.

Added by Acts 1979, 66th Leg., p. 2435, ch. 842, art. 2, Sec. 7, eff. Sept. 1, 1979. Amended by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 142, Sec. 10, eff. May 17, 1993.

Amended by:

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 87 (S.B. 1969), Sec. 25.118, eff. September 1, 2009.

Transferred, redesignated and amended from Human Resources Code, Section 111.058 by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 391 (S.B. 128), Sec. 2, eff. June 14, 2013.

Sec. 117.034. CRIMINAL HISTORY RECORD INFORMATION: APPLICANTS FOR EMPLOYMENT. The executive commissioner by rule shall establish criteria for denying a person's application for employment based on criminal history record information obtained pursuant to Section 411.117, Government Code.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 393, Sec. 22, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Transferred, redesignated and amended from Human Resources Code, Section 111.0581 by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 391 (S.B. 128), Sec. 2, eff. June 14, 2013.

SUBCHAPTER C. PERSONNEL


Sec. 117.051. COMMISSIONER. (a) The executive commissioner shall appoint a commissioner of the department with the approval of the governor. The commissioner is to be selected according to education, training, experience, and demonstrated ability.

(b) The commissioner serves at the pleasure of the executive commissioner.

(c) Subject to the control of the executive commissioner, the commissioner shall act as the department's chief administrative officer and as a liaison between the department and commission.

(d) The commissioner shall administer this chapter under operational policies established by the executive commissioner and in accordance with the memorandum of understanding under Section 531.0055(k), Government Code, between the commissioner and the executive commissioner, as adopted by rule.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 198, Sec. 1.13, eff. Dec. 29, 2003.

Sec. 117.052. PERSONNEL. (a) The department may employ, compensate, and prescribe the duties of personnel necessary and suitable to administer this chapter.

(b) The executive commissioner shall prepare and by rule adopt personnel standards.

(c) A personnel position may be filled only by an individual selected and appointed on a nonpartisan, merit basis.

(d) The commissioner, with the advice of the council, shall develop and the department shall implement policies that clearly define the responsibilities of the staff of the department.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 198, Sec. 1.13, eff. Dec. 29, 2003.

Sec. 117.053. INFORMATION ABOUT QUALIFICATIONS AND STANDARDS OF CONDUCT. The commissioner or the commissioner's designee shall provide to department employees, as often as necessary, information regarding the requirements for employment under this chapter or rules adopted by the executive commissioner, including information regarding a person's responsibilities under applicable laws relating to standards of conduct for state employees.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 198, Sec. 1.13, eff. Dec. 29, 2003.

Sec. 117.054. MERIT PAY. Subject to rules adopted by the executive commissioner, the commissioner or the commissioner's designee shall develop a system of annual performance evaluations. All merit pay for department employees must be given under the system established under this section or under rules adopted by the executive commissioner.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 198, Sec. 1.13, eff. Dec. 29, 2003.

Sec. 117.055. CAREER LADDER. The commissioner or the commissioner's designee shall develop an intra-agency career ladder program. The program must require intra-agency postings of all nonentry-level positions concurrently with any public posting.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 198, Sec. 1.13, eff. Dec. 29, 2003.

Sec. 117.056. EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY POLICY. (a) Subject to rules adopted by the executive commissioner, the commissioner or the commissioner's designee shall prepare and maintain a written policy statement that implements a program of equal employment opportunity to ensure that all personnel decisions are made without regard to race, color, disability, sex, religion, age, or national origin.

(b) Unless the following are included in a policy statement adopted by the executive commissioner that is applicable to the department, the policy statement must include:

(1) personnel policies, including policies relating to recruitment, evaluation, selection, training, and promotion of personnel, that show the intent of the department to avoid the unlawful employment practices described by Chapter 21, Labor Code; and

(2) an analysis of the extent to which the composition of the department's personnel is in accordance with state and federal law and a description of reasonable methods to achieve compliance with state and federal law.

(c) The policy statement must be:

(1) updated annually;

(2) reviewed by the state Commission on Human Rights for compliance with Subsection (b)(1); and

(3) filed with the governor's office.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 198, Sec. 1.13, eff. Dec. 29, 2003.

Sec. 117.058. SPECIALIZED TRAINING FOR CERTAIN EMPLOYEES. (a) The department shall establish and require employee participation in a specialized training program for certain employees, including vocational rehabilitation transition specialists and transition counselors, whose duties involve assisting youth with disabilities to transition to post-schooling activities, services for adults, or community living.

(b) The training program must provide employees with information regarding:

(1) supports and services available from other health and human services agencies for:

(A) youth with disabilities who are transitioning into post-schooling activities, services for adults, or community living; and

(B) adults with disabilities;

(2) community resources available to improve the quality of life for:

(A) youth with disabilities who are transitioning into post-schooling activities, services for adults, or community living; and

(B) adults with disabilities; and

(3) other available resources that may remove transitional barriers for youth with disabilities who are transitioning into post-schooling activities, services for adults, or community living.

(c) In developing the training program required by this section, the department shall collaborate with other health and human services agencies as necessary.

Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 465 (H.B. 1230), Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2007.

SUBCHAPTER D. POWERS AND DUTIES OF DEPARTMENT


Sec. 117.071. GENERAL POWERS AND DUTIES OF DEPARTMENT. The department is responsible for administering human services programs to provide early childhood intervention services and rehabilitation and related services to persons who are blind, deaf, or hard of hearing. The department is also responsible for providing and coordinating programs for the rehabilitation of persons with disabilities so that those persons may prepare for and engage in a gainful occupation or achieve maximum personal independence.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 198, Sec. 1.13, eff. Dec. 29, 2003.

Sec. 117.072. INFORMATION REGARDING COMPLAINTS. (a) The department shall maintain a file on each written complaint filed with the department. The file must include:

(1) the name of the person who filed the complaint;

(2) the date the complaint is received by the department;

(3) the subject matter of the complaint;

(4) the name of each person contacted in relation to the complaint;

(5) a summary of the results of the review or investigation of the complaint; and

(6) an explanation of the reason the file was closed, if the department closed the file without taking action other than to investigate the complaint.

(b) The department shall provide to the person filing the complaint and to each person who is a subject of the complaint a copy of the executive commissioner's and the department's policies and procedures relating to complaint investigation and resolution.

(c) The department, at least quarterly until final disposition of the complaint, shall notify the person filing the complaint and each person who is a subject of the complaint of the status of the investigation unless the notice would jeopardize an undercover investigation.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 198, Sec. 1.13, eff. Dec. 29, 2003.

Sec. 117.073. RULES. The executive commissioner may adopt rules reasonably necessary for the department to administer this chapter, consistent with the memorandum of understanding under Section 531.0055(k), Government Code, between the commissioner and the executive commissioner, as adopted by rule.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 198, Sec. 1.13, eff. Dec. 29, 2003.

Sec. 117.074. RATES FOR MEDICAL SERVICES. (a) The executive commissioner by rule shall adopt standards governing the determination of rates paid for medical services provided under this chapter. The rules must provide for an annual reevaluation of the rates.

(b) The executive commissioner shall establish a schedule of rates based on the standards adopted under Subsection (a). In adopting the rate schedule, the executive commissioner shall:

(1) compare the proposed rate schedule to other cost-based and resource-based rates for medical services, including rates paid under the Medicaid and Medicare programs; and

(2) for any rate adopted that exceeds the Medicaid or Medicare rate for the same or a similar service, document the reasons why the adopted rate reflects consideration of the best value, provider availability, and consumer choice.

(c) The executive commissioner shall provide notice to interested persons and allow those persons to present comments before adopting the standards and schedule of rates under Subsections (a) and (b).

Added by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 211 (H.B. 1912), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2005.

Sec. 117.076. INFORMATION REGARDING VELOCARDIOFACIAL SYNDROME. (a) The commission shall ensure that each health and human services agency that provides intervention services to young children is provided with information developed by the commission regarding velocardiofacial syndrome.

(b) Each health and human services agency described by Subsection (a) shall provide the information regarding velocardiofacial syndrome to appropriate health care coordinators and therapists and to parents of a child who is known by the agency to have at least two of the following conditions:

(1) hypotonicity;

(2) communication delay;

(3) articulation disorder;

(4) resonance disorder;

(5) nasal regurgitation during feeding as an infant with no history of a cleft palate;

(6) recurrent ear infections as well as diagnosis of cardiac anomaly, feeding disorder, cleft palate, or submucosal cleft palate; or

(7) fine motor or gross motor skills delay.

(c) The commission shall develop the information required under Subsection (a) using medically accurate, peer-reviewed literature. The information must include:

(1) an explanation of velocardiofacial syndrome symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options;

(2) information on relevant state agency and nonprofit resources, parent support groups, and available Medicaid waiver programs; and

(3) a recommendation for follow-up with a health care provider for evaluation of the underlying etiology and an explanation that the existence of any of the conditions listed in Subsection (b) will not necessarily result in a diagnosis of velocardiofacial syndrome.

(d) The executive commissioner may adopt rules as necessary to implement this section.

Added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 818 (S.B. 1612), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2009.

For expiration of Subsections (g) and (h), see Subsection (h).


Sec. 117.077. DATA ANALYSIS IN FAMILY COST SHARE PROVISIONS IN EARLY CHILDHOOD INTERVENTION PROGRAM. (a) In this section, "cost-effective" means the family cost share revenue generated is greater than total administrative costs.

(b) The department shall collect data, including data on administrative costs and adjusted family income, sufficient to evaluate:

(1) the cost-effectiveness of the family cost share provisions of the early childhood intervention program; and

(2) changes necessary to improve the cost-effectiveness of the program.

(c) The department shall:

(1) as necessary, modify the Texas Kids Intervention Data System to accept adjusted family income data submitted by early childhood intervention program providers; and

(2) require all providers to enter adjusted family income data into the system.

(d) The department shall use the data collected under this section to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of existing family cost share provisions in the early childhood intervention program and consider changes that may improve the cost-effectiveness of the program, including the adoption of a family cost share provision described by Section 117.078(a).

(e) The department shall implement any changes considered under Subsection (d) that the department determines will make the family cost share provisions of the early childhood intervention program more cost-effective, if the changes will not make access to early childhood intervention services cost prohibitive for families. If none of the considered changes is determined to make the program more cost-effective, or if the department determines that the changes will make access to early childhood intervention services cost prohibitive for families, the department may decline to implement the changes.

(f) The department shall evaluate existing family cost share provisions and consider and implement changes, if appropriate, to the early childhood intervention program as required by this section:

(1) on a periodic basis established by the department; and

(2) at other times at the request of the Legislative Budget Board.

(g) Not later than December 1, 2014, the department shall:

(1) conduct the initial evaluation required under Subsection (d) and implement any changes as required by Subsection (e) resulting from that evaluation; and

(2) submit a report to the governor and the Legislative Budget Board summarizing the results of the initial evaluation and explaining any changes that were implemented.

(h) This subsection and Subsection (g) expire September 1, 2015.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 468 (S.B. 1060), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2013.

Sec. 117.078. FAMILY COST SHARE PROVISION IN EARLY CHILDHOOD INTERVENTION PROGRAM. (a) The department shall consider implementing a family cost share provision under which the amount a family pays to participate in the early childhood intervention program is based on the amount of service the family receives under the program.

(b) A family cost share provision implemented by the department under Subsection (a) must establish a maximum amount to be paid by a family participating in the early childhood intervention program that is based on the family's size and adjusted gross income, with families in higher income brackets required to pay more under the provision than those families paid before the provision's implementation.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 468 (S.B. 1060), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2013.