TDLR Health Monitor: October 2020

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Vol. 12  |  OCTOBER 2020

Message from the Executive Director

Brian Francis color

Welcome to the 12th edition of the TDLR Health Monitor, our quarterly newsletter for TDLR’s medical and health professionals. This edition marks our third newsletter produced during the COVID-19 pandemic. I know we all wish COVID-19 was safely in our rear-view mirror at this point, but continued vigilance is necessary before we get there.

I want to thank each of you for the essential care you have provided and continue to provide to Texans during this unprecedented time. I also want to thank you for your patience over the past few months as we at TDLR have faced unexpected delays in our application processing and new challenges with working from home. Please know my staff are trying their best every day to get your questions answered and your renewals and new applications processed just as quickly as possible.

As you may know, beginning September 1, 2020, many health care practitioners who provide direct patient care must complete an approved human trafficking prevention training course in order to renew their license. I know many of you have had questions about why this training is necessary. It’s one more thing you have to do now, and we know you have plenty to do already. As to why it’s necessary - for starters, it’s required by a new state law. But more importantly to me, this training has the potential to help you save lives from the horrors of human trafficking, one of the most insidious and seemingly invisible public health challenges facing Texas today. 

Whether you know it or not, each of you are in a unique position to assist in the fight against human trafficking. This includes both labor and sex trafficking, which can involve people of any age, any gender, any race or ethnicity, regardless of their background. Survivors of human trafficking are often brought to local clinics, emergency departments, and other medical settings – maybe even your office or place of business. Your action at that moment can make a life-saving difference. This training is meant to provide you with a variety of resources to inform and support planning for that critical response in the moment, if and when it comes.

To learn more about the required training, please see the staff article below. 

Thank you for being part of our team in the fight against human trafficking in Texas. We are truly in this together.

We are approaching a new legislative session in January – one that is sure to look different than any we’ve experienced previously. One thing that won’t change is the need to pass a budget. To that end, TDLR recently submitted its biennial legislative appropriations request (LAR) for the 87th Legislative Session.

Like all state agencies, TDLR was asked to reduce its budget by 5% in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. To meet this request, our prioritization was guided by causing as little disruption as possible to licensees. Number one, we selected open staff positions to leave unfilled, saving salary and benefit costs. Next, we drastically reduced our travel expenditures and equipment purchases. I also made the decision to impose a 5% salary reduction on myself.

While there is a possibility these reductions may cause delays in issuing licenses and renewals, we will continue to be creative in tackling the challenges 2020 has brought while developing solutions to mitigate any delays. Please know that my staff and leadership team are continually looking at ways we can refine and improve our service delivery to licensees and the public, no matter what challenges we may face in the future. 

Thank you once again for all that you do to care for our fellow Texans – now more than ever.

Yours in service,

Brian E. Francis

TDLR Executive Director

Human Trafficking Prevention Training Now Required for Certain Health Care Practitioners

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A new human trafficking prevention training course requirement went into effect on September 1, 2020, for certain health care practitioners. Holders of certain license types must complete a human trafficking prevention training course in order to renew their license. The training course must be approved by the Texas Health and Human Services (HHSC) and must be completed during each renewal cycle. HHSC currently has one approved course posted on their website, the SOAR to Health and Wellness Course (ID #1087568).

To see if you are required to complete this training, please visit TDLR’s Human Trafficking Prevention Training for Health Care Practitioners webpage. On this page, you can also find Frequently Asked Questions as well as instructions on how to register for the SOAR Human Trafficking Prevention Course.

If you are interested in becoming a course provider, you can find information on HHSC’s Health Care Practitioner Human Trafficking Training webpage.

87th Texas Legislature Convenes in January


On January 12, 2021, the Texas Legislature will convene and the 87th Regular Session will begin. On that day, the Texas House of Representatives and the Senate of Texas will both be “open for business.” 

While the session doesn’t officially start until January, pre-filing of bills begins on November 9, 2020. During the 86th Regular Session, 7,324 bills were filed, and 1,429 bills passed. Although the impact that COVID-19 will have on the 87th Regular Session is still unknown, one likely outcome is that fewer bills will be passed this session.

Throughout session, TDLR will track bills filed that, if enacted, would impact TDLR’s programs and we will highlight those in future editions of TDLR Health Monitor. Also, be sure to check TDLR’s website in the coming months for our dedicated page on the 87th Legislative Session.

New Texas Licensing System Coming Soon


We are excited to announce that TDLR is currently developing the Texas Licensing System (TLS), a new comprehensive licensing system that will eventually support all 40 TDLR-regulated professions. The TLS will replace the nine disparate licensing systems TDLR currently maintains. 

The Massage Therapy program is included in the first phase of implementation and anticipated to go live by October 2021. Stay tuned for more updates!

Laser Hair Removal Apprentice-In-Training Application Now Available Online


Initial laser hair removal apprentice-in-training applications may now be submitted online. Applicants will be able to upload the required 40-hour training certificate at the time of application and pay the application fee via credit card.

Applying online will speed up the application processing time and, in most cases, complete applications can be approved within two business days of the date of submission. If you experience an issue with submitting your laser hair removal apprentice-in-training application, please notify us at

Here are the steps for completing the process:

  1. Complete an approved 40-hour laser hair removal training program.
  2. Create an online account and complete the online application.
  3. Upload your 40-hour laser hair removal training certificate when instructed to do so during the online application process.
  4. Pay the application fee when instructed to do so during the online application process.
  5. Successfully pass a criminal history background check. The Criminal History Questionnaire must be completed and uploaded to your online application if you have a criminal conviction. If you would like TDLR to review your criminal background prior to submitting an application, please visit the Criminal History Evaluation Letter page for more information.

TDLR is working quickly to get laser hair removal technician, senior laser hair removal technician, and laser hair removal professional upgrade applications online as well.

Don’t forget, you can sign up to receive email updates about the Laser Hair Removal program to stay informed when more applications are available online.

New PALMS Interface for Massage Schools


House Bill 1865, passed during the 86th Legislative Session (2019), created a massage student permit and required massage schools to properly account for each student attending their school. To facilitate implementation of the legislative mandate, TDLR developed the Program Automation for Licensing of Massage Students (PALMS) online database interface.

The interface allows massage schools to enroll, withdraw, and drop students; assist students in obtaining the required permit; report earned hours; and update student contact information.

PALMS instructional videos are available on the Massage Therapy program webpage. These videos provide step-by-step instructions for massage schools on how to access and use the PALMS system.

Virtual Midwives Educational Summit – Registration Now Open


TDLR will host the next Midwives Educational Summit virtually on Friday, November 6, 2020.

The TDLR Midwives Educational Summit is a one-day educational conference hosted by TDLR for the purpose of discussing emerging topics and best practices in midwifery. Presentations will include the following:

  • The Importance of Early Diagnosis and Treatment of Infant Ear Deformities and Malformations
  • Managing Postpartum Hemorrhage in the Community Birth Setting
  • Midwifery in At Risk Communities
  • The Millennial Midwife: Her Practice and Business Model

Five hours of TDLR continuing education credit will be awarded to all licensees who attend the entire day of sessions. No partial credit will be given. Online attendance will be verified. There will be two scheduled breaks and a break for lunch.

Registration is now open. Information on how to register for the virtual summit is posted on the Midwives Educational Summit webpage. You must register for the event no later than November 1, 2020. You will be sent a link to the virtual conference upon registration.

Please mark your calendars and plan to attend this virtual event.

Recent Rule Amendments for Hearing Instrument Fitters & Dispensers Program


The Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation adopted amendments to the Hearing Instrument Fitters and Dispensers program rules at their meeting on August 4, 2020.

Specifically, the adopted rules implement House Bill (HB) 1899, HB 2059, HB 2699, and HB 2847 (Article 7), 86th Legislature, Regular Session (2019); clarify the submission of surety bonds or other financial security to the Department; address the permit extension requirements; and make terminology and other clean-up changes.

These amendments went into effect on September 1, 2020. You can find information about the new rules on the Hearing Instruments Fitters and Dispensers program webpage.

Internet Live Activity CME Allowed for Podiatrists


The Council on Podiatric Medical Education (CPME), accrediting body for podiatric continuing medical education (CME) providers, has updated the CPME 720 - Standards and Requirements for Approval of Providers of Continuing Education in Podiatric Medicine (PDF), effective July 1, 2020.

The CPME standards define Internet Live Activity as “an online continuing educational activity available at a certain time on a certain date and available only in real-time, just as if it were a continuing educational activity held in an auditorium. Once the event has taken place, learners may no longer participate in that activity.” Some examples of an internet live activity are a webinar, videoconference, or teleconference.

CPME has also released guidance on COVID-19 for continuing education (PDF) in response to COVID-19 concerns regarding CME. Providers of CME, including all organizations listed in the Podiatry Continuing Medical Education Rules, can organize and present an internet live activity for CME credit. There are no limits on the amount of CME hours that can be obtained through internet live activity. Online courses that are not part of an internet live activity may be acceptable for CME self-study credit. Up to 20 hours of self-study CME may be counted towards the CME requirement.

TDLR is not waiving the requirements or extending the timeframe for obtaining CME at this time. However, the podiatry program rules provide for exceptions in cases of hardship as determined on an individual basis by the executive director.

For more information please contact

Finding Disciplinary Actions

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To find disciplinary actions taken on complaints filed with TDLR, visit the TDLR Administrative Orders Search page.

You can search by name, license number, location, or by program. All disciplinary actions posted on the TDLR website are final actions taken by TDLR. No actions taken by previous licensing boards or agencies are included.

For information on why specific violations of the law or rules might fall into a certain penalty range, please see TDLR's Enforcement Plan.

What about license denials?

License denials and revocations are included. If an application denial is based on criminal history, you can find information on why that criminal history was relevant in the program’s Criminal Conviction Guidelines.

Click here to subscribe to TDLR’s Email Updates to receive important information about programs of interest and upcoming Commission and board meetings, including meeting agendas.

Upcoming Meetings


Until further notice, Commission meetings and all advisory board meetings will be held via videoconference.

You can the view live broadcasts or archived meetings on TDLR's YouTube channel. Meeting notices, agendas, and staff reports are posted on the TDLR Meetings page.