TDLR Health Monitor - December 2023


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Vol. 22 | December 2023


An Update From TDLR: Welcome Back, Brian Francis

Please say hello to a familiar face, as former TDLR Executive Director Brian E. Francis will temporarily rejoin the agency for a six-month stint as Interim Executive Director while the Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation conducts a search for a permanent head of the agency.

Mike Arismendez Jr., the former Executive Director, recently left the agency to pursue other opportunities.

Welcome back, Brian!

Brian Francis color

Rule Changes for Multiple Programs Recently Proposed and Adopted

rules and regulations

The Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation adopted amendments for several programs during the Commission meeting on December 1, 2023, including the following:

  • Midwives Program:

16 Texas Administrative Code (TAC), Chapter 115, §115.80. The amendments lower the application fee for an initial midwife license from $275 to $195 and lower the application fee for renewal of a midwife license from $550 to $390. The amendments are necessary to set fees in amounts reasonable and necessary to cover the costs of administering the Midwives program, as required by Texas Occupations Code §51.202.

  • Hearing Instrument Fitters and Dispensers Program: 

16 Texas Administrative Code (TAC), Chapter 112, Subchapter A, §112.2; Subchapter H, §112.70; Subchapter J, §112.92 and §112.96; and Subchapter O, §112.140; and new rules at Subchapter A, §112.3. The rules implement changes made to Texas Occupations Code, Chapter 402 by Senate Bill 2017, 88th Legislature (R); implement changes made by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in its final rule regarding over-the-counter hearing aids and prescription hearing aids; make changes to provide continuing education credit for proctors of the practical test; and update language to reference the Department’s website in contracts and signs.

  • Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists program:

16 Texas Administrative Code (TAC), Chapter 111, Subchapter A, §111.2; Subchapter U, §111.201; and Subchapter W, §111.220; and a new rule at Subchapter A, §111.3. The rules implement changes made to Texas Occupations Code, Chapter 401 by Senate Bill 2017, 88th Legislature, (R); implement changes made by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in its final rule regarding over-the-counter hearing aids and prescription hearing aids; and clarify the requirements regarding medical statements for sales of hearing instruments to individuals under 18 years of age.

Other rules adopted by the Commission at the August 1, 2023 meeting include the follow:

  • Midwives Program:

16 Texas Administrative Code (TAC), Chapter 115, §§115.1, 115.4, 115.5, 115.13 – 115.15, 115.20, 115.21, 115.23, 115.25, 115.70, 115.80, 115.100, and 115.120; new rules at §§115.2, 115.12, 115.16, 115.22, and 115.121; and the repeal of existing rules at §§115.2, 115.16, and 115.121. The rules update requirements relating to basic midwifery education courses, preceptor supervision of student clinical experience, informed client choice and disclosure statements, and retired midwife licenses and make other updates to reflect current Department procedures and remove obsolete or unnecessary language.


Fingerprints Required for Many Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology License Renewals

fingerprint

State law requires TDLR to conduct a national criminal history background check for licensees in many of our licensing programs. As part of that process, TDLR also subscribes to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Civil Rap Back Program, which automatically notifies the agency of any arrests or criminal convictions that occur after a licensee is fingerprinted.

Some licensees must submit a new set of fingerprints so TDLR can subscribe to the Civil Rap Back Program and continue to receive reports of arrests and criminal convictions after fingerprinting.

Additionally, licensees who have been identified by the FBI as having low-quality fingerprint characteristics will also be required to submit new fingerprints.

TDLR has been working with the Texas Department of Public Safety to identify the TDLR licensees who must submit a new set of fingerprints. Licensees who are impacted by this requirement will be informed by email 90 days before their license expiration date.

Licensees will be able to submit a renewal application and payment online, and will receive a receipt, but the renewal application will not be approved if fingerprints are missing.  

To ensure that you will receive communication from TDLR about your license status, please log on to the Online Licensing Services system and verify that the email and mailing addresses we have for you are correct.

If you are unsure whether you need to submit a new set of fingerprints, please go to Renew Your Speech-Language Pathology or Audiology License (texas.gov) and search our database. The database is updated every month.  If your name appears in the database, it means you need to resubmit your fingerprints. Search the database using your license number to obtain your Agency Identifier and the link to schedule your fingerprint appointment.


Human Trafficking Awareness Month

human trafficking

January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. Human trafficking is the recruitment, harboring, transporting, or procurement of a person for labor or services for the purpose of involuntary servitude, slavery, or forced commercial sex acts. Here are three ways we can prevent human trafficking together:

1.Participate in #WearBlueDay on January 11. On this day, the Blue Campaign invites the public to take photos of themselves, friends, family, and colleagues wearing blue clothing and to share them on social media with the hashtag #WearBlueDay.

2.Recognize the red flags. Human trafficking can happen to anyone including men, women, and children but it is not always recognized. You can learn more about human trafficking on the TDLR website at TDLR Combats Human Trafficking (texas.gov) as well as the Polaris website at Understanding Human Trafficking - Polaris (polarisproject.org).

3.Report Human trafficking. To report suspected human trafficking, contact the National Hotline for Human Trafficking at 1-888-373-7888 or text HELP or INFO to BeFree (233733). If the situation is an emergency or you believe someone is in immediate danger, call 911 and alert the authorities. You should also file a complaint if you suspect a TDLR-licensed business may be participating in human trafficking.

Certain Texas health care practitioners who provide direct patient care must complete an approved human trafficking prevention training course before renewing their license. You can find more information on our human trafficking prevention training page for health care practitioners.


A Closer Look: Supervision of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology Assistants and Interns

magnifying glass and document

Audiology assistants and audiology interns must be supervised by an audiologist licensed in Texas.

Speech-language pathology (SLP) assistants must be supervised by a SLP licensed in Texas.

Speech-language pathology license holders with a grandfathered bachelor’s degree license may only supervise SLP assistants.

Speech-language pathology interns may only be supervised by licensed SLPs who possess at least a master's degree with a major in one of the areas of communicative sciences or disorders.

To be eligible to supervise interns and assistants, supervisors must have 2 years of professional experience in providing direct client services. The internship year may be counted toward the 2 years of experience.

Supervision of an individual who is your parent or child is not permitted.

Supervisors are responsible for ensuring supervisees are properly licensed and practice within the scope of their license when treating clients. Supervisors are also responsible for client evaluations and case management. Supervision of interns and assistants may be performed directly and indirectly, including via tele-supervision.

For more detailed information visit Supervision of Speech-Pathology or Audiology Interns & Assistants (texas.gov).


Advisory Board Appointments and Reappointments

advisory board

On October 10, 2023, the Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation approved the following advisory board member appointments and reappointments:

  • Britney Webb was reappointed as the Presiding Officer of the Advisory Board of Athletic Trainers.
  • Amy Wood was appointed to the Behavior Analyst Advisory Board and William “Gordon” Bourland was reappointed as the Presiding Officer.
  • Laura Kuchinsky, Kajuana Young, and Kay Vavrina were appointed to the Dietitians Advisory Board and Janet Hewlett was reappointed as the Presiding Officer.
  • Robin Cowsar was appointed as the Presiding Officer to the Dyslexia Therapists and Practitioners Advisory Committee.
  • Christopher Lee Bisel and Carolyn McMahon were appointed to the Hearing Fitters and Dispensers Advisory Board and Lance Brooks was reappointed as the Presiding Officer.
  • Heather Nusbaum and Sue Croft were appointed to the Massage Therapy Advisory Board, David Lauterstein was reappointed, and Caroline Guerin was appointed as Presiding Officer.
  • Savannah Woodward was appointed to the Midwives Advisory Board and Laurie Fremgen was reappointed as Presiding Officer.
  • Catherine Mize was reappointed as Presiding Officer of the Orthotists and Prosthetists Advisory Board.
  • Sherry Sancibrian was reappointed as the Presiding Officer of the Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologist Advisory Board.

On December 1, 2023, the Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation approved the following advisory board member appointments and reappointments:

  • Irma Gutierrez was reappointed to the Dietitians Advisory Board.
  • Jyutika Mehta and Shawna Jackson were newly appointed to the Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists Advisory Board.

Congratulations to all new and reappointed members.


Become a TDLR Advisory Board Member: Your Expertise Matters

meeting mic

TDLR is looking for individuals to join advisory boards and committees.

These boards play a vital role in providing technical knowledge, industry expertise, and real-world insights to the Commission and TDLR staff. Members include licensees, representatives from regulated businesses, public members, and other professionals. 

Advisory board members are appointment by the Chairman of the Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation (Commission), with approval of the full Commission. There is no financial compensation for membership, but members find great satisfaction in the impact they make on their professions.

Current list of Medical and Health Professions Vacancies

Behavior Analyst Advisory Board

  • Licensed Assistant Behavior Analyst

Hearing Instrument Fitters and Dispensers Advisory Board 

  • Doctor of Otolaryngology

Midwives Advisory Board

  • Midwife

Orthotists and Prosthetists Advisory Board

  • Public Member who uses orthosis

Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists 

  • Audiologist
  • Speech-Language Pathologist

If you’re interested in becoming a member, please apply. For inquiries about the application process, contact the Office of Strategic Communication at advisory.boards@tdlr.texas.gov.

You may view the full list of TDLR vacancies at Advisory Board and Committee Vacancies (texas.gov).


Licensees Report Receiving Marketing Calls

scam alert

Several licensees have reported receiving marketing phone calls from an agent who claims to have gotten their contact information from TDLR. The caller offers services, such as insurance or health benefits, for a fee. Although we are required to release basic information about our licensees (name, license number and license status), we do not release personal emails or phone numbers.

Unless you initiate the phone call, it’s not safe to share financial or personal information over the phone. If someone calls you wanting to sell you something, ask for a return phone number and verify the number before you call them back.

Remember, TDLR will never call you and ask you for a payment over the phone.


Verify Your License Online

laptop computer

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

The link can be found on the right side of your profession’s program webpage, or you can go directly to https://www.tdlr.texas.gov/verify.htm.  

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


Meet TDLR Staff At Upcoming Conferences

mary hoffman dietetics april 2023

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 this upcoming event!

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 Compliance.Health.Professions@tdlr.texas.gov.


Upcoming Advisory Board and Commission Meetings

meeting mics

Commission meetings are in person. Unless otherwise noted, all advisory board meetings are held via videoconference.

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