HHSC is providing guidance to MCOs regarding Financial Management Services Agency (FMSA) requirements for providing CDS employer orientations under the Consumer Directed Services (CDS) option.

On March 20, 2020, due to the public health emergency (PHE) caused by the ongoing risks of COVID-19, the Texas Health and Human Services Commissions (HHSC) published Information Letter (IL) 20-08 allowing FMSAs to suspend in-person CDS employer orientations. MCO notice, novel coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidance for the Consumer Directed Services (CDS) Option, first published March 24, 2020, and updated on November 18, 2021, provided guidance to MCOs and FMSAs regarding requirements in the Consumer Directed Services (CDS) option.

On November 18, 2021, HHSC published IL 2021-54 which informed FMSAs that the policy to allow FMSAs to conduct CDS orientations virtually (using audio-visual platforms), or in-person, would become permanent effective February 1, 2022. The IL also clarified that effective February 1, 2022, audio only CDS orientations are no longer permitted. The guidance for MCOs regarding these policy changes was published November 18, 2021, in Covid-19 MCO Notices Extension Updates and corresponding table, Extension- COVID-19 MCO Notice Table.

HHSC further clarified in IL 2022-21 published on March 29, 2022, that, for purposes of CDS requirements in 40 TAC Chapter 41 only, “face-to-face” includes both in-person orientations and virtual orientations conducted using synchronous audio-visual platforms.

FMSAs are not required to provide in-person orientation visits for all CDS employers whose initial orientation was conducted virtually or by telephone from March 20, 2020 through January 31, 2022.

For all CDS employers whose initial orientation was conducted virtually or by telephone from March 20, 2020, through January 31, 2022, the FMSA must provide the CDS employer an in-person orientation if the CDS employer requests an in-person orientation.

If a CDS employer elects to receive an in-person orientation to replace one that was previously performed virtually or telephonically, the FMSA and CDS employer must complete a new Form 1736, Documentation of Employer Orientation by Financial Management Services Agency, upon conclusion of the orientation

For additional information, please contact Provider Relations at (2100) 358-6294 or by email at ProviderRelations@CFHP.com

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