Law:Title 2. Department Of Human Services And Department Of Protective And Regulatory Services. Subtitle B. Structure And Functions Of Department Of Human Services (Texas)

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Subtitle B. Structure And Functions Of Department Of Human Services

Contents

Chapter 21. Administrative Provisions For Department Of Human Services

Section  21.001.  Department Of Human Services.

The Texas Department of Human Services is composed of the Texas Board of Human Services, the Commissioner of Human Services, and other officers and employees required to efficiently carry out the purposes of this title.

Acts 1979, 66th Leg., p. 2337, ch. 842, art. 1, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1979. Amended by Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 264, Sec. 6, eff. Aug. 26, 1985.



Section  21.002.  Sunset Provision. The

Texas Department of Human 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 title expires September 1, 2011, except that Chapter 40 expires as provided by Section 40.003.

Acts 1979, 66th Leg., p. 2337, ch. 842, art. 1, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1979. Amended by Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 4199, ch. 667, Sec. 1, eff. Aug. 29, 1983; Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 264, Sec. 7, eff. Aug. 26, 1985; Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 479, Sec. 209, eff. Sept. 1, 1985; Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 1052, Sec. 1.01(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1987; Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., 1st C.S., ch. 17, Sec. 4.20, eff. Nov. 12, 1991; Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 76, Sec. 8.008, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 920, Sec. 5, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1449, Sec. 2.01, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1481, Sec. 5.01, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.



Section  21.003.  Board Of Human Services.

(a) The Texas Board of Human Services is responsible for the adoption of policies and rules for the government of the department.

(b)  The board is composed of five members appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the senate and representing all geographic regions of the state. To qualify for an appointment to the board, a person must have demonstrated an interest in and knowledge of human services.

(c)  Members of the board serve for staggered terms of six years with the term of one or two members expiring on January 20 of each odd-numbered year.

(d)  The governor shall designate a member of the board as the presiding officer of the board to serve in that capacity at the pleasure of the governor.

(e)  Three members of the board constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.

(f)  The board's office is in Austin in a building designated by the State Purchasing and General Services Commission.

(g)  While performing their duties board members are entitled to per diem as prescribed by the General Appropriations Act.

(h)  A person is not eligible for appointment to the board if the person or the person's spouse:

(1)  owns or controls, directly or indirectly, more than a 10 percent interest in a business entity or other organization regulated by or receiving money from the department;

(2)  uses or receives a substantial amount of tangible goods, services, or money from the department, other than compensation or reimbursement authorized by law for board membership, attendance, or expenses;

(3)  is registered, certified, or licensed by a regulatory agency in the field of nursing facility administration or medical permits; or

(4)  is employed by or participates in the management of a business entity or other organization regulated by or receiving money from the department.

(i)  Appointments to the board shall be made without regard to the race, color, handicap, sex, religion, age, or national origin of the appointees.

(j)  A person may not be a member of the board or act as general counsel to the board or the department if the person is required to register as a lobbyist under Chapter 305, Government Code, because of the person's activities for compensation on behalf of a profession related to the operation of the department.

Acts 1979, 66th Leg., p. 2337, ch. 842, art. 1, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1979. Amended by Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 4585, ch. 770, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1983; Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 264, Sec. 8, eff. Aug. 26, 1985; Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 1052, Sec. 1.01(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1987; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1169, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2003; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1170, Sec. 21.01, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.



Section  21.0031.  Restrictions On Board Membership And Employment. (a

) A person may not be a member of the board and may not be a department employee employed in a "bona fide executive, administrative, or professional capacity," as that phrase is used for purposes of establishing an exemption to the overtime provisions of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (29 U.S.C. Section 201 et seq.), and its subsequent amendments, if:

(1)  the person is an officer, employee, or paid consultant of a Texas trade association in the field of human services; or

(2)  the person's spouse is an officer, manager, or paid consultant of a Texas trade association in the field of human services.

(b)  In this section, "Texas trade association" means a cooperative and voluntarily joined statewide association of business or professional competitors in this state, including a nonprofit association, designed to assist its members and its industry or profession in dealing with mutual business or professional problems and in promoting their common interests.

Added by Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 1052, Sec. 1.02, eff. Sept. 1, 1987. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1169, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.



Section  21.0032.  Grounds For Removal.

(a) It is a ground for removal from the board that a member:

(1)  does not have at the time of taking office the qualifications required by Section 21.003;

(2)  does not maintain during service on the board the qualifications required by Section 21.003;

(3)  is ineligible for membership under Section 21.003(h) or (j) or under Section 21.0031;

(4)  cannot, because of illness or disability, discharge the member's duties for a substantial part of the member's term; or

(5)  is absent from more than half of the regularly scheduled board meetings that the member is eligible to attend during a calendar year without an excuse approved by a majority vote of the board.

(b)  The validity of an action of the board is not affected by the fact that it is taken when a ground for removal of a board member exists.

(c)  If the commissioner has knowledge that a potential ground for removal exists, the commissioner shall notify the presiding officer of the board of the potential ground. The presiding officer shall then notify the governor and the attorney general that a potential ground for removal exists. If the potential ground for removal involves the presiding officer, the commissioner shall notify the next highest ranking officer of the board, who shall then notify the governor and the attorney general that a potential ground for removal exists.

Added by Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 1052, Sec. 1.02, eff. Sept. 1, 1987. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1169, Sec. 3, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.



Section  21.004.  Commissioner.

(a) The Commissioner of Human Services is the executive and administrative officer of the department. The commissioner exercises all rights, powers, and duties imposed or conferred by law on the department unless the right, power, or duty is specifically delegated by the commissioner of health and human services to the department's agents or employees.

(b)  The commissioner is employed by the commissioner of health and human services in accordance with Section 531.0056, Government Code.

(c)  To be eligible for employment as commissioner, a person must be at least 35 years old, have had experience as an executive or administrator, and not have served as an elected state officer as defined by Chapter 572, Government Code, during the six-month period preceding the date of the employment.

Acts 1979, 66th Leg., p. 2338, ch. 842, art. 1, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1979. Amended by Acts 1981, 67th Leg., p. 925, ch. 340, Sec. 1, eff. Aug. 31, 1981; Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 264, Sec. 9, eff. Aug. 26, 1985; Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 1052, Sec. 1.03, eff. Sept. 1, 1987; Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 76, Sec. 5.95(38), 8.141, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1460, Sec. 2.02, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.



Section  21.005.  Divisions Of Department; Personnel.

(a) The commissioner may establish divisions within the department that he considers necessary for effective administration and the discharge of the department's functions.

(b)  The commissioner may allocate and reallocate functions among the divisions.

(c)  The commissioner may employ personnel necessary for the administration of the department's duties.

Acts 1979, 66th Leg., p. 2338, ch. 842, art. 1, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1979.



Section  21.0051.  Personnel Policies.

(a) The board shall develop and implement policies that clearly separate the policy-making responsibilities of the board and the management responsibilities of the commissioner and the staff of the department.

(b)  The commissioner shall develop an intraagency career ladder program, one part of which shall require the intraagency posting, concurrently with any public posting, of all nonentry level positions.

(c)  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. 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 federal and state law and a description of reasonable methods to achieve compliance with federal and state law.

(d)  Repealed by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 693, Sec. 23(1), eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

(e)  The board and department shall inform their members and employees as often as is necessary of:

(1)  the qualifications for office or employment prescribed by this code; and

(2)  their responsibilities under applicable laws relating to standards of conduct for state officers or employees.

(f)  The policy statement under Subsection (c) must:

(1)  be updated annually;

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

(3)  be filed with the governor's office.

Added by Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 1052, Sec. 1.04, eff. Sept. 1, 1987. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 693, Sec. 23(1), eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1169, Sec. 4, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.



Section  21.0052.  Merit Pay.

The commissioner shall develop a system under which the job performance of department employees is evaluated annually. All merit pay for department employees must be based on the system established under this section.

Added by Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 1052, Sec. 1.04, eff. Sept. 1, 1987.



Section  21.006.  Local Administration.

(a) The department shall establish a system of local administration and employ personnel necessary to carry out the purposes of this title in an economical manner.

(b)  The commissioner may provide for the appointment of local boards to advise the local administrative units. The commissioner shall determine the size of the boards and the qualifications of the members. The functions of the boards may not conflict with or duplicate the functions of other boards authorized by law to advise the department.

Acts 1979, 66th Leg., p. 2338, ch. 842, art. 1, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1979.



Section  21.00605.   Regional Business Planning.

(a) The department shall develop a business plan for each service region that:

(1)  addresses the department's statewide goals and states the region's specific objectives and strategies to meet the goals;

(2)  includes region-specific targets for client-centered outcome measures; and

(3)  requires regional administrators to report at least annually to the state office on the region's progress in achieving the goals and objectives contained in the region's business plan.

(b)  The department shall develop standard client-centered outcome measures and use the standard measures in all regional business plans.

(c)  The department must seek public input in the development of regional business plans and regional strategies.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1169, Sec. 6, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.



Section  21.0061.  Liaisons To Faith-based Organizations.

(a) The commissioner shall designate one department employee in each of the department's administrative regions to serve as a liaison to faith-based organizations in the region with the potential ability to provide community services for the needy.

(b)  The commissioner shall ensure that the primary function of each employee designated as a liaison under this section is to:

(1)  communicate with faith-based organizations regarding the need for private community services to benefit persons in need of assistance who would otherwise require financial or other assistance under public programs administered by the department;

(2)  promote the involvement of faith-based organizations in working to meet community needs for assistance; and

(3)  coordinate the department's efforts to promote involvement of faith-based organizations in providing community services with similar efforts of other state agencies.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 401, Sec. 1, eff. Aug. 30, 1999.



Section  21.007.  Merit System.

The department may establish a merit system for its employees. The merit system may be maintained in conjunction with other state agencies that are required by federal law to operate under a merit system.

Acts 1979, 66th Leg., p. 2338, ch. 842, art. 1, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1979.



Section  21.008.  Staff Development.

(a) The department may establish staff development plans to assist employees in obtaining the technical and professional education required to administer the department's assistance programs more effectively and efficiently and to provide improved services to the needy. The plans must include a provision for granting paid educational leave to selected employees.

(b)  The department's plans must conform to the requirements of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.

(c)  The department may make payments for the paid educational leave or other staff development plans in the form of grants or stipends or by other methods.

(d)  The cost of the staff development plans may be made out of state and federal funds within the limits of appropriated funds.

Acts 1979, 66th Leg., p. 2338, ch. 842, art. 1, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1979.



Section  21.009.  Political Activities Of Officers And Employees.

(a) An officer or employee of the department may not use his official authority or influence or permit the use of the programs administered by the department for the purpose of interfering with or affecting the results of an election or for any political purpose.

(b)  An officer or employee of the department is subject to all applicable federal restrictions on political activities. However, an officer or employee retains the right to vote as he or she pleases and may express his or her opinion as a citizen on all political subjects.

(c)  An officer or employee of the department who violates a provision of this section is subject to discharge or suspension or other disciplinary measures authorized by the department's rules.

Acts 1979, 66th Leg., p. 2339, ch. 842, art. 1, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1979. Amended by Acts 1981, 67th Leg., p. 1793, ch. 392, Sec. 1, eff. Aug. 31, 1981.



Section  21.010.  Budget.

(a) The commissioner shall prepare and submit to the board for approval a biennial budget and request for an appropriation by the legislature of funds necessary to carry out the duties of the department. The budget and request must include an estimate of all federal funds to be allotted to the state for the department's purposes.

(b)  The board shall submit the budget and request to the Legislative Budget Board and the governor in the manner prescribed by law.

Acts 1979, 66th Leg., p. 2339, ch. 842, art. 1, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1979.



Section  21.011.  Reports.

(a) On or before December 31 of each year the commissioner shall prepare and submit to the board a full report on the operation and administration of the department together with the commissioner's recommendations for changes. The report must include information relating to the status of the client-centered outcome measures developed by the department under Section 21.00605(b) and the department's progress in improving those outcome measures. The board shall submit the report to the governor and the legislature.

(b)  The department shall file annually with the governor and the presiding officer of each house of the legislature a complete and detailed written report accounting for all funds received and disbursed by the department during the preceding fiscal year. The form of the annual report and the reporting time are as provided in the General Appropriations Act.

(c)  The report required by Subsection (b) must include fees for professional services or consultative services provided for the general administration of the department but may not include:

(1)  professional fees paid for routine or special examinations for the purpose of determining eligibility of individuals for a program administered by the department;

(2)  professional fees for treatment, services, or care for individual recipients; or

(3)  fees for providing special needs or appliances for individual recipients.

Acts 1979, 66th Leg., p. 2339, ch. 842, art. 1, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1979. Amended by Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 18, Sec. 1, eff. April 3, 1985; Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 1052, Sec. 1.05, eff. Sept. 1, 1987; Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 693, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1169, Sec. 7, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.



Section  21.012.  Confidentiality Of Information.

(a) The department shall establish and enforce reasonable rules governing the custody, use, and preservation of the department's records, papers, files, and communications. The department shall provide safeguards which restrict the use or disclosure of information concerning applicants for or recipients of the department's assistance programs to purposes directly connected with the administration of the programs.

(b)  If under a provision of law lists of the names and addresses of recipients of the department's assistance programs are furnished to or held by a governmental agency other than the department, that agency shall adopt rules necessary to prevent the publication of the lists or the use of the lists for purposes not directly connected with the administration of the assistance programs.

Acts 1979, 66th Leg., p. 2339, ch. 842, art. 1, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1979.



Section  21.013.  Oaths And Acknowledgments.

A local representative of the department who is responsible for investigating and determining the eligibility of an applicant for assistance authorized in this title may administer oaths and take acknowledgments concerning all matters relating to the administration of this title. The representative shall sign the oaths or acknowledgments and indicate his or her position and title but need not seal the instruments. The agent has the same authority as a notary public coextensive with the limits of the state for the purpose of administering the provisions of this title.

Acts 1979, 66th Leg., p. 2339, ch. 842, art. 1, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1979.



Section  21.014.  Audits.

(a) The financial transactions of the department are subject to audit by the state auditor in accordance with Chapter 321, Government Code.

(b)  The person employed by the department as inspector general shall make reports to and consult with the chairman of the board regarding:

(1)  the selection of internal audit topics;

(2)  the establishment of internal audit priorities; and

(3)  the findings of each regular or special internal audit initiative.

Added by Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 1052, Sec. 1.06(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1987. Amended by Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 584, Sec. 16, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.



Section  21.015.  Public Information; Complaints.

(a) The department shall prepare information of public interest describing the functions of the board and department and describing the procedures by which complaints are filed with and resolved by the board or department. The department shall make the information available to the general public and appropriate state agencies.

(b)  The board by rule shall establish methods by which consumers or service recipients are notified of the name, mailing address, and telephone number of the department for the purpose of directing complaints to the department. The department may provide for the notification through inclusion of the information:

(1)  on each registration form, application, or written contract for services of an individual or entity regulated by the department under this code or of an entity the creation of which is authorized by this title of this code;

(2)  on a sign that is prominently displayed in the place of business of each individual or entity regulated by the department under this code or of each entity the creation of which is authorized by this title of this code; or

(3)  in a bill for service provided by an individual or entity regulated by the department under this code or by an entity the creation of which is authorized by this title of this code.

(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.

(d)  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 agency closed the file without taking action other than to investigate the complaint.

(e)  For the purpose of rules to be promulgated by the board under Subsection (b) of this section the board may not require persons licensed to practice medicine who provide professional services to persons covered by Title XVIII or Title XIX of the Social Security Act to comply with the notification requirements of Subsection (b) of this section.

(f)  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 department's policies and procedures relating to complaint investigation and resolution. The department may delay providing the information to a person who is a subject of the complaint if providing the information would jeopardize an investigation.

Added by Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 1052, Sec. 1.06(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1987. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1169, Sec. 8, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.



Section  21.016.  Public Testimony.

The board shall develop and implement policies that provide the public with a reasonable opportunity to appear before the board and to speak on any issue under the jurisdiction of the department.

Added by Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 1052, Sec. 1.06(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1987. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1169, Sec. 9, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.



Section  21.018.  Policy On Technological Solutions.

The board shall develop and implement a policy that requires the commissioner and the staff of the department to research and propose appropriate technological solutions to improve the ability of the department to perform its mission. The technological solutions must include measures to ensure that the public is able to easily find information about the department through the Internet and that persons who have a reason to use the department's services are able to use the Internet to interact with the department and to access any services that can be provided effectively through the Internet. The policy shall also ensure that proposed technological solutions are cost-effective and developed through the department's planning processes.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1169, Sec. 10, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.



Section  21.019.  Alternative Rulemaking And Dispute Resolution Procedures.

(a) The board shall develop and implement a policy to encourage the use of:

(1)  negotiated rulemaking procedures under Chapter 2008, Government Code, for the adoption of department rules; and

(2)  appropriate alternative dispute resolution procedures under Chapter 2009, Government Code, to assist in the resolution of internal and external disputes under the department's jurisdiction.

(b)  The department's procedures relating to alternative dispute resolution must conform, to the extent possible, to any model guidelines issued by the State Office of Administrative Hearings for the use of alternative dispute resolution by state agencies.

(c)  The board shall designate a trained person to:

(1)  coordinate the implementation of the policy adopted under Subsection (a);

(2)  serve as a resource for any training needed to implement the procedures for negotiated rulemaking or alternative dispute resolution; and

(3)  collect data concerning the effectiveness of those procedures, as implemented by the department.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1169, Sec. 10, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.


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