Q&A Relating to Administrator Qualifications and Training

For the effective period of Dec. 1, 2006- April 30, 2008.

1. General Requirements

1.1 Who is responsible for designating the administrator and alternate administrator?

The applicant or license holder is responsible for hiring and designating individuals to act as the administrator and alternate administrator. Refer to 40 TAC §97.243 (relating to Administrative and Supervisory Responsibilities).

1.2 What does designation mean? Is this the same as "being hired" for the job?

No. Designation is not the same as being hired for the position. The designation date is the date when the administrator meets all prerequisite qualifications for the position and assumes responsibility for the duties of the position. The agency must have a designated administrator and alternate administrator at all times. The designation must be made in writing.

1.3 Can one individual fulfill the role of the administrator and the alternate administrator?

No. The license holder must designate two separate individuals as the people responsible for implementing and supervising the administration of the agency.

1.4 Does the alternate administrator have to meet the same requirements as the administrator?

Yes. The alternate administrator must meet all initial qualifications and conditions, which are the same as those the administrator must meet, before the license holder designates the alternate administrator to the position. This includes experience and training requirements. The alternate administrator must be capable of assuming all responsibilities of the administrator position when the administrator is unavailable regardless of the category of licensure.

1.5 Can the agency designate more than one person to be the administrator?

No. The agency must have one individual designated to serve as the administrator at all times. This individual will be the person reported to DADS licensing staff as the person responsible for the agency.

1.6 Can an agency designate several "officially reported" alternate administrators?

No. The Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) recognizes only one individual as a designated alternate to serve as the administrator when the administrator is unavailable.

As a business decision, the agency may choose to have more than one person trained, educated and available to fulfill the role of the alternate administrator as a backup to the alternate. The agency must:

  • ensure that the person is designated in writing at the time he or she assumes the alternate administrator role;
  • maintain documentation of the designated person's education or training; and
  • ensure that the individual meets the education and/or training requirements and qualifications of an administrator at the time of designation.

Reminder: The agency should as a part of its operations:

  • have job descriptions for each person's responsibilities;
  • be able to show documentation of the lines of authority for each position; and
  • be able to show who is the person in charge.

If such a backup person has a lapse in designation of more than 180 days, the individual must cover topics in 40 TAC §97.259(c) as part of administrator's or alternate administrator's continuing education. Each individual must meet all qualifications and conditions for the position.

References: 40 TAC §97.246(a)(1) and 40 TAC §97.242(b)(2)-(3)

1.7 Can an individual be the designated administrator of more than one agency?

Yes. The administrator or alternate administrator may be the designated administrator or alternate of more than one agency. It is up to the agency and the administrator to ensure all duties and responsibilities of the administrator are met according to the licensing standards.

1.8 My agency is required to have a supervising nurse. Can the supervising nurse also be the administrator or alternate administrator?

Yes. The license holder may designate the supervising nurse or alternate supervising nurse as either the administrator or alternate administrator if he or she meets the qualifications and conditions for the position. The qualifications and conditions include training and satisfactory results of a criminal history check conducted by DADS. The supervising nurse or alternate supervising nurse may not act as both the administrator and alternate administrator at the same time.

1.9 If a licensed or registered nurse is designated as the administrator or alternate administrator, does that individual have to submit to a criminal history check by DADS?

Yes. Each potential administrator must submit to a DADS check of his or her criminal history. The agency's alternate administrator will be subject to a criminal history check by DADS during the initial application process and renewals.

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2. Experience Requirements

2.1 For an individual with a high school diploma or a general equivalency degree (GED) seeking employment as the administrator or alternate administrator in a personal assistance services (PAS) only agency, how does DADS interpret experience in caring for individuals with functional disabilities?

DADS interprets this experience to be the equivalent of one year of verifiable employment or volunteerism in direct care of a person with a functional disability. This includes care of a loved one with a functional disability.

2.2 The requirement also allows an individual to qualify as a PAS administrator with training in caring for individuals with a functional disability. What are some examples of accepted training? How many hours does the training course have to cover?

This training may be on-the-job, classroom or computer-based training. Examples of training are a certified nurse aide training program, attendance at a nursing school for an undergraduate nurse trainee and direct care training for a personal care attendant. There are no specific times or clock hours associated with this training requirement.

2.3 I have a year or more of experience providing childcare or well-baby care to infants in a traditional daycare setting. Would this previous experience qualify me as a Home and Community Support Services Agency (HCSSA) administrator or alternate administrator under 40 TAC §97.244 (a)(2)(A)?

No. Previous experience does not include the provision of childcare for infants and children without a medical diagnosis that limits functional capacity.

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3. Training Requirements

3.1 What are clock hours? Is this the same as continuing education hours or units?

Clock hours are the number of hours physically spent in the classroom. For computer-based and self-directed training, the training provider determines the number of clock hours. When a course provider or designer has only described the course in terms of continuing education hours or units, the agency will need to provide the time spent in the classroom by use of the agenda or certificate.

3.2 Do the requirements for training apply to agencies that only provide personal assistance services or primary home care?

Yes. 40 TAC §97.259 is in Subchapter C, Minimum Standards for All Agencies, which applies regardless of the category of services on the license. An agency providing only PAS services must meet the same training requirements as agencies providing licensed home health, licensed and certified home health, and hospice services.

3.3 I was previously an administrator of a home health or hospice company in another state, but this is my first time being designated as an administrator of an agency licensed in Texas. Do I need to complete the initial training in administration of an agency?

Yes. Experience as an administrator of an agency in another state does not exempt an individual from the training requirements in the licensing standards. The term "home and community support services agency (HCSSA)" is a Texas term. When DADS uses the term "agency," as defined in the licensing standards, we mean a HCSSA; this does not include other states.

3.4 I was previously a nursing home administrator, an assisted living facility manager, a director of a hospital or a manager of another health care delivery program but was never a HCSSA administrator. Does this previous experience exempt me from the HCSSA administrator training requirements?

No. Only experience as a HCSSA administrator or alternate administrator with a designation date before Dec. 1, 2006, qualifies an individual for the exemption from initial HCSSA administrator training.

3.5 As a first-time designated administrator, I attended training offered by a national organization. Will this meet the requirements at 40 TAC 97.259(c)?

It depends. National organizations and other state organizations are acceptable providers of initial administrator training. The training must have covered the topics specifically listed in the regulations. This must include Texas state standards and statutes for HCSSAs.

3.6 If an administrator designated for the first time after Dec. 1, 2006, completes the initial training at an agency and then goes to work at another agency, does the individual have to retake the training?

No. Administrator training courses transfer with the individual to new employment at other agencies. Once completed, the administrator should maintain documentation of completed training in his or her personnel files. The agency must maintain documentation of the administrator's qualifications and conditions to be designated in the position.

3.7 I completed initial or continuing education while in previous employment at an agency but now do not have proof of completion. Do I need to retake the required training?

It depends. You must be able to present documented physical proof as evidence to DADS and a prospective employer that you obtained the required training. If you are unable to provide documentation of your completion of the required training, you may need to retake the training in question to provide proof to the licensing unit, surveyor or prospective agency license holder. An interview with an educational curriculum provider is not sufficient to verify the training occurred and was appropriate.

Before retaking the training, the individual may contact the training entity to obtain documentation to satisfy this requirement.

3.8 I began my administrator training at one agency and then transferred to a new agency. How do the requirements apply to me?

An administrator has a full year to complete his or her initial and annual training requirements from the date of designation. An administrator who transfers to a new agency before completing his or her first year as a newly designated administrator and who has not completed the 24-hour training requirement must provide proof of qualifications to the new employer before designation at the new agency. This includes all previous training records. Therefore, the new agency can consider previous courses. The surveyor examines documentation of previous employment and designation dates to determine if the administrator meets the requirements.

For example: An administrator, Ms. Smithson, is designated for the first time at Alpha Agency on June 1, 2008, after meeting the conditions and initial training requirements. Ms. Smithson leaves Alpha Agency on Nov. 23, 2008, to work for Beta Agency. As a condition of designation, the Beta Agency license holder verifies initial training requirements by reviewing documentation of Ms. Smithson's training experience. When Ms. Smithson is designated as the administrator of Beta Agency on Dec. 1, 2008, she still has until Nov. 30, 2009, to complete her first 24 hours of training.

Beta Agency will remain in compliance with the requirement for Ms. Smithson's training unless the requirements for an additional 16 hours in the required topics are found to be unmet on Nov. 30, 2009.

3.9 If an agency designates a registered nurse, physician, licensed social worker or licensed therapist as the administrator, would that person, by virtue of his or her license, be exempt from the training requirement?

No. A professional license does not exempt an individual from the administrator training requirements.

3.10 Do the continuing education hours required to maintain a professional license count toward the administrator requirements?

It depends. If the administrator is in the process of obtaining the initial training requirements for a first-time administrator, then the professional education must relate to the required topics listed in the regulation at 40 TAC §97.259. For continuing education purposes, the topics should relate to the HCSSA industry and the duties of the administrator or at least two of the topics listed in the rule 97.259 (h). DADS surveyors will examine course documentation, including certificates, course agendas and outlines, to determine if this requirement is met.

3.11 How do I tell if training offered by a consultant or an agency meets the approval or recognition requirements?

Response: If a national or state organization or association recognizes the training, the training materials, certificate and objectives will note this approval, endorsement or recognition. A statement of approval or endorsement will be present even if the course does not offer continuing education hours or units. If no such statement exists, ask the provider to produce documentation of approval or endorsement by a state or national organization.

If DADS approved the training, the agency or consultant who provided the training must provide each participant a copy of the approval letter issued by DADS. This letter will list the topics approved, number of hours, and the categories of services for which DADS approved the course topic.

3.12 Who or what department at DADS will review the initial curriculum of the individual or entity submitting DADS Form 2026?

The DADS Regulatory Services division, Policy, Rules, and Curriculum Development unit will review the submitted curriculum. Refer to Provider Letter (PL) #08-15 regarding Initial HCSSA Administrator Training Approval.

3.13 I am a new applicant seeking licensure. When do my administrator and alternate administrator have to complete the initial eight hours of training?

It depends. If the administrator of the prospective agency has been an administrator of a HCSSA before Dec. 1, 2006, the application must include documentation of the previous designation and experience, and the individual has a year from the date of the license to complete the 12-hour continuing education requirement.

If the administrator is being designated for the first time, the administrator must complete the initial eight hours of training before designation. In the case of initial licensure, this is before the applicant submits the licensing application. Without appropriate documentation, DADS will not consider the application complete.

3.14 How will DADS apply the 12-hour continuing education requirement for existing administrators and alternates according to the rules effective Dec. 1, 2006?

An existing administrator and alternate administrator, from the date of designation to the position, must meet the higher requirement starting with the first 12-month period beginning after the rule goes into effect. This interpretation also applies to an administrator or alternate who was designated to the position as late as November 30, 2006 (the date before the rule went into effect).

For example: An administrator is designated to the position on Dec. 16, 2005. His or her 12-month period from designation to the position ends on Dec. 15, 2006. The individual only need obtain six hours of continuing education before Dec. 14, 2006, to be in compliance. That same person would have to obtain 12 hours in the next 12-month period starting Dec. 16, 2006, and ending Dec. 15, 2007.

3.15 The language contained in 97.259(c) states that the education must "include" the topics listed. Does that mean that a person could take an eight-hour course that includes those topics and others? That would mean that the course would not necessarily consist of eight hours exclusively on those topics, however, would "include" information on each of those topics.

Yes. The eight hours of training may incorporate other subjects as allowed in the rule language. All training under this subsection must be in the administration of an agency and relate to that subject.

3.16 The language at 97.259(d) excludes presurvey conference from application to subsection (c) of the rule. Is presurvey conference allowed for any of the subjects included in subsection (e)?

No. Presurvey conference does not cover the issues in subsection (e); therefore, it is automatically excluded. Presurvey conference only covers certain licensing standards, certain conditions of participation in the Medicare program and survey requirements.

3.17 The regulations require training that covers the Outcome and Assessment Information Set (OASIS) for an individual designated as the administrator or alternate administrator of an agency licensed to provide licensed and certified home health services. Does this mean the DADS OASIS training is mandatory?

No. The DADS OASIS training is not a mandatory course. The administrator and alternate administrator of a licensed and certified home health agency do have to complete some OASIS training as required by the licensing standards. But the DADS course is not the only option. Administrators may complete OASIS courses offered by other entities.

3.18 As a newly designated administrator, if I choose to complete the DADS OASIS six-hour course, will this satisfy six of the eight hours of initial training required?

No. OASIS training does not meet the requirement at §97.259(c) for the initial eight hours of training in the administration of an agency.

3.19 I noticed that DADS offers joint training for other programs. Does this training meet the qualifications for a HCSSA administrator?

In some instances, yes.

For continuing education: Yes. The joint training offered by DADS relates specifically to non-HCSSA programs such as nursing facilities, intermediate care facilities for persons with mental retardation and related conditions, and assisted living facilities. DADS joint training does not address HCSSA administration. Certain DADS joint training may be appropriate to the topics listed in 40 TAC 97.259(e) and (h), or may apply to the job of an administrator. The administrator may attend and count DADS-sponsored joint training toward continuing education if appropriate. These topics are limited.

For initial training: No. DADS-sponsored joint training relates to non-HCSSA provider settings and does not count toward the initial 24 hours of training because the courses are not HCSSA specific. DADS training that is developed for HCSSAs and is approved for continuing education credits or sponsored by a state or national organization may qualify for initial administrator training. If you have a question about applicability, contact DADS, as you should with any training provider before signing up for a course.

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Updated: September 3, 2014