TDLR Health Monitor - Volume Eight

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Vol. 8 |  SEPTEMBER 2019

Welcome to the TDLR Health Monitor

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Welcome to Volume Eight of your TDLR Health Monitor. I’m Brian Francis, Executive Director of TDLR. Once again, our program staff and communications team have created a wealth of information to share with you, to keep you informed and up to date on what's happening around the agency, with your program, and within your profession.

In May, the 86th Legislative Session came to a close and as in previous sessions, TDLR was asked to take on new responsibilities, including motor fuel metering and quality (you'll be seeing our name soon on gas pumps across Texas) and motorcycle safety and education. Throughout the 140-day session, our executive team and program staff from multiple divisions attended 56 legislative hearings — sometimes two or three in one day. Behind the scenes, our folks worked long hours responding to legislative inquiries, meeting with stakeholders to hear their concerns, and keeping everybody up to date and well-informed on the latest developments in the legislative process.

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I was grateful this session to be joined midway through by the newest member of our executive team, Deputy Executive Director Mike Arismendez. Mike's experience working with the Legislature proved invaluable to TDLR this session and beyond. His knowledge and insight on how potential legislation impacts small business and local government was truly our secret weapon in not just surviving the session, but succeeding.

Throughout the session, our bill tracking team followed 378 bills that would impact the agency, 71 of which were ultimately passed in to law. TDLR’s strategic initiatives – developed in conjunction with many of you during our 2018 Strategic Planning outreach sessions across the state – achieved a success rate of 75%, with 21 of 28 initiatives enacted into law. Some examples of these initiatives include simplifying the license renewal process and reducing licensing costs; streamlining examination and continuing education requirements; and improving our enforcement capabilities for the medical and health professions programs.

Thanks to the suggestions and ideas we received from many of you, we were able to assist the Legislature with making some common-sense changes and improvements to TDLR’s statutes that will benefit each of you and the people you serve. While some changes may seem minor, none were insignificant. Each improvement we make, no matter how small, makes us a better agency and allows us to focus on what’s truly important to us: providing our licensees with exceptional customer service and protecting the health and safety of all Texans. 

I encourage each of you to visit our website to see all of the bills passed in the 86th Session that impact the agency (many of which took effect September 1) and review the June edition of the TDLR Health Monitor for a full rundown of bills affecting our health-related programs. TDLR’s bill implementation teams have been hard at work all summer drafting administrative rule changes and policy procedures to conform with these new laws, and you will continue to see the results of that work in upcoming advisory board meetings. At those public meetings, all changes to TDLR’s administrative rules will be reviewed and discussed by the board members before going to the Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation for adoption.

Your input and comments are always welcome at these public meetings – we want to hear from you. Please take a minute to make sure you are signed up to receive our emails about rule changes and advisory board meetings by checking your email subscription preferences. We don’t want you to miss out on your opportunity to give us feedback.

Before I wrap up, I’ll share some bittersweet recent news: our other Deputy Executive Director, Carla James, has announced her retirement effective this November, after 25 years of service to Texas.

Carla joined TDLR in 2016 and took charge of overseeing the agency’s fiscal well-being while jumping feet first in to the transition process for the transferred programs from Department of State Health Services. I know from personal experience how challenging it can be to step in to a new leadership role in the middle of a process that is already underway. Carla handled it like the professional she is, and quickly made herself indispensable to the agency.  

We congratulate Carla on her well-earned retirement. She has been a great leader for TDLR, a friend to all of us, and she will be greatly missed around here.

Thank you for reading the TDLR Health Monitor, and I hope that you find it helpful and informative. I look forward to visiting with you soon!


Brian Francis

TDLR Executive Director

Commission Welcomes New Chairman, Members


The Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation has undergone some changes in recent months. These changes include a new chairman and two new commissioners.

  • Rick Figueroa of Brenham was named Chair of the Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation by Governor Greg Abbott on February 28, 2019. Chairman Figueroa has served on the Commission since 2016 and his term expires on February 1, 2021. He is first vice president of UBS Financial Services and is a partner with Caton Figueroa Group.
  • Joel S. Garza Jr. of Pearland was appointed to a term that will expire on Feb. 1, 2021. Garza is an associate attorney with Lee and Desenberg, PLLC in Houston. 
  • Nora Castañeda of Harlingen was appointed to a term that will expire on February 1, 2025. Castañeda is a physician relations manager and works in business development for the South Texas Health System, which includes Edinburg Regional Hospital, Edinburg Children’s Hospital, McAllen Medical Center Hospital, and the Heart Clinic. She is a former gubernatorial appointee to the Advisory Council on Emergency Medical Services and the Texas State Technical College Board of Regents.

In addition to these new appointments, Governor Abbott also re-appointed Vice-Chair Tom Butler to a new term expiring February 1, 2025.

We welcome Commissioners Garza and Castañeda to the TDLR family, and we look forward to working with them, as well as Chairman Figueroa and the rest of the Commission.

New Advisory Board & Committee Appointments

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On July 15, 2019, the Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation approved the following advisory board member appointments and reappointments:

Our advisory boards and committees are vital to the success of TDLR. Members provide invaluable consumer insight and technical and clinical expertise. We look forward to working together with these talented individuals as they help shape the future of the TDLR medical and health professions they represent.

TDLR currently has vacancies on the Dietitians Advisory Board, the Orthotist and Prosthetist Advisory Board, and the Podiatric Medical Examiners Advisory Board. You can find out more about these boards and how to apply here.

October is Dyslexia Awareness Month

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October is designated as Dyslexia Awareness Month in Texas. Dyslexia is one of the most common language-based learning disabilities affecting Texans. It is estimated that 1 in 5 people have dyslexia in the United States. Proper diagnosis and early intervention are vital.

Dyslexia is not tied to intelligence. Dyslexic individuals are often gifted in art, computer science, design, math, music, physics and sports. Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs, Steven Spielberg, Tom Cruise, and Magic Johnson are just a few of the many famous and gifted people with dyslexia.  

Here are a few ways that you can celebrate Dyslexia Awareness Month:

  • Give Back
  • Wear Red on October 15 (World Dyslexia Day)
  • Start a Conversation
  • Share Dyslexia Facts
  • Use #DyslexiaAwarenessMonth on social media posts

To learn more about the Dyslexia Therapy program at TDLR, visit the program homepage.

Podiatry Rule Amendments Adopted


The Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation adopted amendments to existing Podiatry program rules at their meeting on July 15, 2019.

The amendments went into effect on September 1, 2019 and updated rule chapters are now available on the Podiatry program webpage.

You can also view a section-by-section summary of the amendments here

Commission Adopts New Criminal Conviction Guidelines & Penalty Matrix


The Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation  adopted new criminal conviction guidelines for the Laser Hair Removal program at its meeting on July 15, 2019. 

The guidelines describe the process by which TDLR determines whether a criminal conviction means an applicant is an unsuitable candidate for the license, or whether a conviction warrants revocation or suspension of a license that was previously issued. 

For more information on how these guidelines are established, visit TDLR's Criminal Conviction Guidelines webpage

During the same meeting, the Commission also adopted a revised enforcement plan to include a new penalty matrix for the Massage Therapy program.

The enforcement plan gives all license holders notice of the specific ranges of penalties and license sanctions that apply to specific alleged violations of the statutes and rules. The plan also presents the criteria that are considered by TDLR's Enforcement Division in determining the amount of a proposed administrative penalty or the magnitude of a proposed sanction.

To view the Massage Therapy penalty matrix, visit TDLR’s Enforcement Plan webpage.

Deregulation of Orthotic and Prosthetic Technicians


House Bill 2847 was passed during the 86th Legislative Session. The bill removed TDLR’s authority to register orthotic and prosthetic technicians and expired all registrations on September 1, 2019.

Although the registration was voluntary, technicians provide valuable support by fabricating, assembling, and servicing orthoses and/or protheses. The elimination of the technician registration does not impact a person’s ability to perform the tasks of a technician so long as they are under the direction of a licensed practitioner or assistant.

TDLR Receives Kudos from the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards

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TDLR was recognized by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB) in their August 2019 edition of In Touch with FSMTB newsletter for assisting in the identification of individuals who were fabricating Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx) score reports. The newsletter stated, "the FSMTB would like to recognize TDLR’s diligence in their application processing."

TDLR verifies all MBLEx results directly with FSMTB. Through this process, staff were able to identify and verify the fraudulent MBLEx result reports and prevent these individuals from obtaining a massage therapy license in Texas.

Prescription Monitoring Program Requirements Delayed


The Texas Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) collects and monitors prescription data for certain levels of controlled substances that are dispensed by a pharmacy in Texas or to a Texas resident from a pharmacy located in another state. The PMP also provides a database for monitoring patient prescription history for practitioners.

With the passage of House Bill 3284 by the 86th Legislature, the requirement for prescribers of scheduled substances to check the patient’s PMP history before dispensing or prescribing has been delayed until March 1, 2020.

Fingerprinting Requirements for Podiatrists

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House Bill 3078 was passed in 2017 during the 85th Legislative Session and requires all Doctors of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) who have not completed the fingerprint process to do so before their license may be renewed. 

If you received your license before summer 2005 (fully licensed DPMs) or spring 2006 (residents) you may need to submit your fingerprints. Fingerprints are required to conduct a criminal history record check from the Department of Public Safety and Federal Bureau of Investigation.

If you need to be fingerprinted, you should have received a letter from TDLR by mail with instructions on how to submit your fingerprints

For questions on the fingerprinting process or to find out if you need to be fingerprinted, email

Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology Graduates Become Newest Licensees


The Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists program welcomed almost 1,500 new licensees between the months of May and September. Each May, and throughout the summer, hundreds of university students in Texas complete their required coursework and apply for a speech-language pathology intern license (master’s degree), a speech-language pathology assistant license (bachelor’s degree), or an audiology intern license (doctoral degree coursework). Additionally, many interns complete their internship hours during this time and apply for a full license. 

During graduation season, TDLR's Licensing Division works diligently to get applications processed and approved so recent graduates may begin work.

The following is a breakdown of the 1,452 new licenses issued from May 1 to August 29:

  • Speech-language pathology intern license:            627 
  • Speech-language pathology license:                       523
  • Speech-language pathology assistant license:      197
  • Audiology license:                                                       68
  • Audiology intern license:                                            36
  • Audiology assistant license:                                        1

Congratulations to all of our new licensees, and welcome to the TDLR family!

Reminder: How to File a Complaint


You can file a complaint online for most TDLR programs at the following link:

You will be asked to choose whether you are filing a complaint against a licensed or an unlicensed person or business. If you are unsure about whether the person or business holds a TDLR license, use the unlicensed link.

Some medical or health-related programs require you to submit a complaint form by fax or mail, due to the risk of electronically transmitting confidential health information. The online system will direct you to print out a complaint form in .pdf format if one is required.

If your complaint does not allege a violation of the law or rules or does not include sufficient information for TDLR to investigate the allegations, TDLR will not open a complaint.

Read more about TDLR's complaint investigation and resolution process.

Midwives Educational Summit Recap


The second TDLR Midwives Educational Summit was held at the Hurst Conference Center in Hurst, Texas on July 26, 2019. The summit drew in almost 100 attendees, including licensed midwives, students, doulas, and TDLR staff. Licensed midwives who attended the entire conference earned six credit hours of continuing education.

We received a lot of positive feedback from summit attendees, including the following comments:

  • "Loved the taking care of babies for the first 6 weeks class. Very informative.  Truly appreciated (Dr. Guillory’s) expertise."
  • "Thank you so much for hosting. This has been very informative, and I think my attendance and experience has solidified my decision to become a midwife."
  • "Very good – this was even better than the first one which was very good, too!"

TDLR would like to thank all of our presenters for their participation: Dr. Charleta Guillory; Leena Pacak; Jennifer Stout; Brielle Epstein; Christy Martin; Tereé Fruga; and Dr. Michael Glover. 

For information on future Midwives Educational Summits, please sign up to receive midwives program email updates and continue to check the Midwives Educational Summit webpage where you can also find archived presentation slides and videos from previous summits.

Orthotic and Prosthetic Professional Organizations Merge


The Texas Association of Orthotists and Prosthetists (TAOP) and the Texas Chapter of the American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists (TCAAOP) will merge to form the Texas Society of Orthotic and Prosthetic Professionals (TXSOP).

The two Texas organizations have been working in parallel for years in the fields of education and advocacy for the profession. In a joint letter to their members, Katie Brinkley, CPO, President, TCAAOP and Scott Wallace, LPOA, President, TAOP, wrote “This will enable a single organization to be inclusive of licensed O&P professionals in the State and provide a unified voice for the O&P profession.” 

You can find more information at:

Twitter Account Changes for TDLR

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If you follow the Health Professions Twitter account, you may have noticed that we stopped tweeting from the account on August 1, 2019. You can now keep up with the latest medical and health-related tweets by following us on our main Twitter account: @tdlrlicense.

We’ll keep you informed about upcoming Commission and advisory board meetings and TDLR news and updates. We also share articles about our licensees, and other helpful information you can use in your everyday life. Our @tdlrlicense Twitter page is a great way to keep up with everything that’s happening at TDLR. Follow us and find out!

Meet TDLR at Upcoming Conferences

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In the coming months, TDLR Medical and Health Professions staff will be available at a number of conferences and meetings across Texas to provide licensing and program information to attendees.

We hope to see you at one of these upcoming events!

TDLR is available to provide informational presentations and/or staff booths at your next conference or meeting. If you would like a TDLR representative at your next conference or meeting, contact us at:

Advisory Board & Commission Calendar

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Unless otherwise noted, Commission meetings and all advisory board meetings are held at TDLR's North Campus in the 1st Floor Public Meeting Room. TDLR public meetings are broadcast live and archived on TDLR's YouTube channel. Meeting notices, agendas, and staff reports are posted on the TDLR Meetings page.

Meetings are subject to change or cancellation; please be sure to check the TDLR Meetings page before traveling to attend a meeting in person.