TDLR Health Monitor - May 2021

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Vol. 14 |  May 2021

Message from the Executive Director and Legislative Update

Brian Francis color

Welcome to the 14th edition of TDLR Health Monitor, our quarterly newsletter for TDLR’s medical and health professionals. This edition marks our fifth newsletter produced during the COVID-19 pandemic, and as of this writing we are finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel. As life slowly returns to normal, we are recognizing that the definition of “normal” has changed irrevocably.

Virtual meetings and videoconferencing, for example, will likely continue to be a part of all our lives moving forward, both in our work and personal lives. For the immediate future, all TDLR advisory board meetings will continue to be held via videoconference, and even once we return to in-person meetings, I’m confident that some components of videoconferencing will continue. While our downtown Austin lobby remains closed for now, I am hopeful that we can re-open as soon as it’s safe for our staff and our customers to do so. In recent weeks, we held our first COVID-19 vaccination clinic at our North Austin offices, and with each passing week and additional vaccinations, our staff continue to increase their physical presence at our offices while continuing to observe all recommended safety precautions.

Once again, I want to thank each of you for the essential care you have provided and continue to provide to Texans, and for your continued patience over the past few months as we have experienced delays in our application processing and new challenges with working from home. Little by little, our lives are returning to normal, but without a doubt it’s a new kind of normal.

capitol at twilight

Legislative Update

Like everyone else, the Texas Legislature has adapted to the COVID-19 threat, and I am pleased to report that this unusual and challenging session his going very well so far for TDLR and our licensees. Our staff have been busy conducting research and analysis on legislation affecting the agency, attending committee hearings each week, and working closely (but socially distant) with legislators and stakeholders to ensure the best possible outcomes for all of us.

One of the most important bills for TDLR this session is Senate Bill 40 by Senator Judith Zaffirini. In 2020, we conducted a strategic planning process to identify agency activities that could improve the protection of public health, safety, and welfare in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As many of you know, we also requested and received waivers from Governor Abbott to suspend statutes and rules to allow our health professionals to practice telehealth during stay-at-home orders and to meet their clients’ health needs.

We believe these services are critical during emergencies, as they allow clients to maintain proficiency and avoid regression. Senate Bill 40 will clarify the authority of TDLR-regulated health professionals to provide telehealth services; require a reference to a health professional performing "direct" observation of a patient to include provision of telehealth services; and allow TDLR to adopt rules governing telehealth services offered by our regulated professionals. As of this writing, Senate Bill 40 has been passed by the full Senate and was voted out of committee in the House. We will now watch and wait to see if the bill is passed by the full House. 

I’m also pleased to report that TDLR’s Sunset bill, House Bill 1560 by Representative Craig Goldman, successfully passed the full House on April 30, and now heads to the Senate. This is the bill that would reauthorize the agency for another 12 years, and allow the health professions programs transferred to us in 2016-17 to avoid an additional Sunset review two years from now. We’re also closely watching important bills for the Massage Therapy, Midwives, and Speech-Language Pathologists & Audiologists programs.

Be sure to check our 87th Legislature webpage where you can see all the bills we’re tracking this session – just click on the bill number and you can see the latest information on the bill at Texas Legislature Online.

In our next edition of TDLR Health Monitor, we'll have a complete wrap up of the important bills that passed this session, how they will impact our licensing programs, and how you can get involved in making your voice heard during our rulemaking process. We look forward to hearing from you!

Commissioner Spotlight: Dr. Ray Callas

Dr Ray Callas

The Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation is the governing board and policymaking body that oversees TDLR. The Commission has seven members who are appointed by the Governor and serve staggered six-year terms.

We’re spotlighting Commissioners in the TDLR Health Monitor so you can learn more about them. We’re kicking off the series with a profile of Dr. Ray Callas, who was appointed to the Commission in 2018.

Dr. Callas is a board-certified anesthesiologist and president of Beaumont’s Anesthesia Associates, a medical practice group established in the early 1950s. Dr. Callas is happily married to his wife, Lisa, of 17 years. They have three beautiful daughters: Emerie, Mackenna and Raygan.

Dr. Callas has worked hard to help people for most of his life. His dedication to helping others started in the United States Navy, where he served as a submariner in the Persian Gulf during the first Gulf War (Operation Desert Storm). He received many medals and awards for his military service.  

After the Navy, Dr. Callas obtained a bachelor’s degree in microbiology and went on to earn his medical degree from the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston, specializing in anesthesiology. Choosing a career in medicine was an obvious choice: His father ran the UTMB Anatomy Department for many years and his brother is a physician who specializes in medical radiology and taught alongside their father at UTMB.

Dr. Callas is involved in various volunteer organizations and remarked in a recent interview, that "if you want to see change, you have to get involved – it’s not enough to talk about it."

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, Dr. Callas worked tirelessly and selflessly to support the Beaumont community both professionally and personally -- and was awarded the American Medical Association's Medal of Valor for his efforts. He also actively participates in the legislative process as a member of the Texas Medical Association Board of Trustees, traveling to Washington and Austin on several occasions to lobby on behalf of physicians and patients.

Dr. Callas’ specialized skill set as an anesthesiologist has also helped his community during the pandemic. He has diligently praised the virtues of mask wearing, social distancing and good hygiene to combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Now he’s added vaccine promotion to that list as well.

His hands-on, practical approach to his profession and his duties as a commissioner at TDLR have helped our licensees and staff navigate these difficult times.

texas flag and gavel

Commission Adopts Program Rules

Rule Review Complies With Texas Government Code, Section 2001.039

At their meeting on March 3, 2021, the Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation readopted several health professions program rules in their entirety and in their current form. The notice of adoption was published in the March 26, 2021 issue of the Texas Register (46 TexReg 2050). The Commission readopted the following Chapters effective March 15, 2021:

Additional Adopted Rules

Behavior Analysts

The Commission adopted amendments to existing rules at 16 Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 121, §§ 121.10, 121.21, 121.22, 121.70, 121.75, and new rule at 121.71 for the Behavior Analysts program at their May 6, 2021 meeting. The adopted rules, which go into effect June 1, 2021, establish standards and responsibilities for delivering behavior analysis services by license holders who choose to provide their services using telehealth.

The Behavior Analysts webpage will be updated when the adoption justification is published in the Texas Register. Updated rules will be made available once they go into effect.

Dyslexia Therapy

The Commission adopted amendments to existing rules at 16 Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 120, §§ 120.21, 120.22, 120.23, 120.25, and 120.90 for the Dyslexia Therapy Program at their May 6, 2021 meeting. The adopted rules, which go into effect June 1, 2021, make changes recommended by Department staff to allow individuals certified by the Academic Language Therapy Association (ALTA) to apply for a license without providing documentation of their education; to clarify courses that qualify for continuing education credit; to allow telehealth services without an initial in-person meeting; and to correct cross-references.

The Dyslexia Therapy webpage will be updated when the adoption justification is published in the Texas Register. Updated rules will be made available when they go into effect.

Massage Therapy

The Commission adopted amendments to 16 Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 117, §§117.20, 117.24, 117.30, 117.31, 117.82, 117.90, 117.91, and 117.92 at their March 3, 2021 meeting. The adopted rules implement House Bill 2059 from the 86th Legislature, which requires completion of a human trafficking prevention training course for license renewal and also addresses procedures related to breast massage of a female client and make additional clean up and clarification changes.

The adoption justification was published in the March 26, 2021, issue of the Texas Register (46 TexReg 2003). The amendment and repeal were effective April 1, 2021. Updated rules are available on the Massage Therapy webpage.

The Commission withdrew a proposed new rule at §117.35 and proposed amendments to §117.64. The withdrawn rules notice was published in the March 26, 2021, issue of the Texas Register (46 TexReg 1975).


The Commission adopted amendments to 16 Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 130, Subchapter E, §130.59 that implement House Bill 2174 from the 86th Legislature (2019), which covers electronic prescriptions. The Commission removed the penalty matrix from rule by repealing §130.74.

The adoption justification was published in the March 26, 2021, issue of the Texas Register (46 TexReg 2006). The amendment and repeal were effective April 1, 2021. Updated rules are available on the Podiatry webpage.

Advisory Board Appointments

advisory board

The Commission recently approved appointments and reappointments for several medical and health professions advisory boards and committees. Below are those appointments and reappointments.  

Member Appointments and Reappointments

Advisory Board of Athletic Trainers

  • Ronald Hebert, III – new appointment (term expires: 01/31/2027)
  • Britney Webb – reappointed (term expires: 01/31/2027)

Behavior Analyst Advisory Board

  • Mariel Fernandez – new appointment (term expires: 02/01/2023)
  • Brian Findlay – new appointment (term expires: 02/01/2027)
  • Dr. Joyce Mauk – reappointed (term expires: 02/01/2027)     
  • Carol Sloan – reappointed (term expires: 02/01/2027)

Dyslexia Therapists and Practitioners Advisory Committee

  • Helen M. Macik – reappointed (term expires: 12/31/2025)

Hearing Instrument Fitters and Dispensers Advisory Board

  • Dustin Potter – new appointment (term expires: 02/01/2027)
  • Lance Brooks – reappointed (term expires: 02/01/2027)

Midwives Advisory Board

  • Melissa Bates – new appointment (term expires: 01/31/2027)
  • Teree Fruga – new appointment (term expires: 01/31/2025)
  • Dr. Michael Nix – reappointed (term expires: 01/31/2027)

Orthotists and Prosthetists Advisory Board

  • Catherine Mize – reappointed (term expires: 02/01/2027)

Presiding Officer Appointments and Reappointments

Advisory Board of Athletic Trainers

  • Britney Webb – new appointment - Presiding Officer (term expires: 05/06/2022)

Dietitians Advisory Board

  • Janet Suzanne Hall – reappointed - Presiding Officer (term expires: 05/06/2022)

Dyslexia Therapists and Practitioners Advisory Committee

  • Helen M. Macik– new appointment - Presiding Officer (term expires: 05/06/2022)

Hearing Instrument Fitters and Dispensers Advisory Board

  • Lance Brooks – new appointment - Presiding Officer (term expires: 03/03/2022)                    

Orthotists and Prosthetists Advisory Board

  • Catherine Mize – new appointment - Presiding Officer (term expires: 03/03/2022)             

Speech Language Pathologists and Audiologists Advisory Board

  • Sherry Sancibrian – reappointed - Presiding Officer (term expires: 03/03/2022)

Congratulations to all new and reappointed members.

To learn more about specific advisory boards and committees, visit the program’s webpage and select Advisory Board or Advisory Committee from the menu on the right-hand side of the page.

A Closer Look: Laser Hair Removal Facility License Exemptions

laser hair

Editor's note: This feature of the TDLR Health Monitor takes a closer look at a program-specific topic useful to that program’s licensees. The topic is selected based on questions received by our customer service or licensing staff. This edition focuses on laser hair removal facility registration exemptions.

Question: I am a physician and own a med spa that offers laser hair removal (LHR). Am I required to hold a LHR facility certificate of registration?

Answer: It depends on the services offered at the facility.

A certificate of LHR registration is not required for the following:

  • a facility owned or operated by a physician for the practice of medicine;
  • a licensed hospital; or
  • a clinic owned or operated by a licensed hospital.

A certificate of LHR registration is required for a facility owned or operated by a physician that performs only LHR procedures.

For more information on the LHR program, visit the program webpage. You’ll find the laws, rules, licensing requirements, frequently asked questions and more.

TDLR's New Open Records Portal

TDLR created a new online tool to help those interested in submitting an open records request. The TDLR Records Center gives you the choice to submit a request for a licensee contact list or other public records under the Texas Public Information Act (Open Records Act).

In the TDLR Records Center, you can also track the status of a request, submit payment, and see which professions and industries are regulated by TDLR. There are even links for checking the status of a license and other online licensing services, like applying for or renewing a license. You can learn more about the TDLR Records Center and how TDLR processes open records requests by visiting the TDLR Records Center FAQs.

open records portal resized

A New Way To Pay For Online Applications

electronic banking

TDLR’s online licensing system, Versa Online (VO), now accepts electronic checks as a payment method for initial and renewal license applications.

Most medical and health professions programs offer online application and renewal options that allow individuals to pay license fees using credit cards, debit cards, and now electronic checks. Individuals who chose to pay using an electronic check will be asked to provide bank information (bank routing number and account number) using our secure online application system.

Applicants and licensees in the following programs may now submit payment using electronic checks: Athletic Trainers, Dietitians, Dyslexia Therapists and Practitioners, Hearing Instrument Fitters and Dispensers, Laser Hair Removal, Massage Therapy, Midwives, Orthotists and Prosthetists, and Speech Language Pathologists and Audiologists.

Verify Your License Online


Do you need a verification of your license? Relax -- you can do that online!

The link can be found on the right side of your profession’s program webpage, or you can go there directly.  

You can also search for a license by name, profession, or license number. It’s quick, easy, and always available!

Fingerprint Reminder for Massage Therapy Licensees


A Texas law enacted in 2019 requires all massage therapists, massage instructors, massage school owners and massage establishment owners to submit fingerprints that will be used to conduct a national criminal conviction history check.

This is a one-time requirement and must be completed by all licensees no later than September 1, 2021.

Don't wait until the last minute to handle this task -- once you receive your renewal notice, submit your renewal as soon as possible, so that we can send you the code you'll need to schedule your fingerprinting appointment.

Let's Get Social!

lets get social

TDLR has an active social media presence that provides useful information about our agency and its programs on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. These accounts are great resources for everyone, providing the latest TDLR news and information 

We even have a YouTube channel that carries Commission and advisory board meetings, important licensing information and useful tips for everyday life.

If you're not already following us, please take a moment to follow us on: