Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists


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News and Updates

Notice to prospective licensees, current licensees renewing their licenses, and stakeholders

Applicants can apply for new licenses and renew licenses online. TDLR strongly encourages you to take advantage of the opportunity to apply or renew online. The process is secure and easy to use – and faster than submitting paper-based applications and supporting documents, especially as TDLR deals with significant staffing issues related to COVID-19.

  • Applications submitted online can take 30 days to process once TDLR receives all required documents.
  • Applications submitted by mail may face significant delays, which may take up to 90 days once TDLR receives all required documents.

Access the online licensing system here. If you need to submit a document outside of the online application, please scan the document and send it to TDLR using our online customer service form.

If you need to submit a transcript, please ask your university to send electronic transcripts to TDLR at cs.transcript@tdlr.texas.gov instead of mailing in an original or certified copy of an original transcript. If your need to submit other documents, such as receipt of fingerprint submission, please scan the document and send it electronically to TDLR using our Customer Service form.

Thank you for helping us process your application or renewal more quickly.

TDLR Health Monitor – October 2020 Edition

Articles in this October 2020 edition of The Health Monitor include updates on:

  • New Training Requirements for Human Trafficking Prevention
  • 87th Texas Legislature Convenes in January
  • Virtual Midwives Educational Summit
  • Rule Amendments for Hearing Instrument Fitters & Dispensers
  • Changes to Continuing Medical Education Activity for Podiatrists

RULE REVIEW─NOTICE OF INTENT TO REVIEW
Deadline for comments—November 9, 2020

The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (Department) files this notice of intent to review and consider for re-adoption, revision, or repeal the chapters listed below, in their entirety, contained in Title 16, Part 4, of the Texas Administrative Code. This review and consideration is being conducted in accordance with Texas Government Code §2001.039.

Business and Professionals Programs
Chapter 76, Water Well Drillers and Water Well Pump Installers.

Transportation Safety Programs
Chapter 84, Driver Education and Safety.

Business and Consumer Safety Programs
Chapter 85, Vehicle Storage Facilities.
Chapter 86, Vehicle Towing and Booting.

Medical and Health Professions Programs
Chapter 100, General Provisions for Health-Related Programs.
Chapter 110, Athletic Trainers.
Chapter 111, Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists.
Chapter 112, Hearing Instrument Fitters and Dispensers.
Chapter 114, Orthotists and Prosthetists.
Chapter 115, Midwives.
Chapter 116, Dietitians.

During the review, the Department will assess whether the reasons for adopting or readopting the rules in these chapters continue to exist. The Department will review each rule to determine whether it is obsolete, whether the rule reflects current legal and policy considerations, and whether the rule reflects current Department procedures. This review is required every four years.

Written comments regarding the review of these chapters may be submitted electronically on the Department’s website at https://ga.tdlr.texas.gov:1443/form/gcerules (select the appropriate chapter name for your comment); by facsimile to (512) 475-3032; or by mail to Vanessa Vasquez, Legal Assistant, Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, P.O. Box 12157, Austin, Texas 78711. The deadline for comments is 30 days after publication in the Texas Register.

Any proposed changes to the rules in these chapters as a result of the rule review will be published in the Proposed Rule Section of the Texas Register. The proposed rules will be open for public comment prior to final adoption or repeal by the Department in accordance with the requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act, Texas Government Code, Chapter 2001.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on September 30, 2020.

Brad Bowman
General Counsel
Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation

TDLR Adopts Administrative Rules

The Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation adopts amendments to the Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists program rules at 16 Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 111, Subchapter B, §111.13; Subchapter C, §111.20 and §111.23; Subchapter D, §111.35 and §111.37; Subchapter E, §§111.41, 111.42, 111.45, and 111.47; Subchapter F, §§111.52, 111.55, and 111.57; Subchapter H, §111.75 and §111.77; Subchapter I, §§111.81, 111.85, and 111.87; Subchapter J, §§111.92, 111.95, and 111.97; Subchapter L, §111.115 and §111.117; Subchapter N, §§111.130 - 111.132; Subchapter P, §§111.150, 111.151, 111.154, and 111.155; Subchapter Q, §111.160; Subchapter R, §111.171; Subchapter T, §111.192; Subchapter U, §111.201; and Subchapter V, §111.212; new rules at Subchapter M, §§111.120 - 111.125; and Subchapter R, §§111.172 – 111.176; and repeal of existing rules at Subchapter S, §§111.180 – 111.183; and Subchapter U, §111.200. The adopted rules implement House Bill (HB) 1899, HB 2059, and HB 2847, Articles 7 and 10, 86th Legislature, Regular Session (2019) and HB 2680, Section 1, 79th Legislature, Regular Session (2005); implement recommended changes from the Licensing Workgroup; and make terminology and other clean-up changes.

The adoption justification was published in the July 24, 2020, issue of the Texas Register (45 TexReg 5172). The updated rule chapter will be made available upon its effective date of August 1, 2020.

86th Legislative Session Update

Notice to Health Care Practitioners of New Training Requirement

House Bill 2059 requires certain health care practitioners to complete a Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) approved human trafficking prevention training course to renew their license. The bill also requires HHSC to post a list of approved courses on their website. Licensees are required to comply with the training requirements beginning September 1, 2020. For more information, visit our Human Trafficking Prevention Training for Health Care Practitioners webpage.

Clarification on Continuation of Telehealth Services for the Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists Program

TDLR’s statute and rule suspensions, which allow speech-language pathology (SLP) interns and SLP assistants to provide services and receive supervision through telehealth, were approved pursuant to Governor Abbott’s Disaster Declaration, which was issued on March 13, 2020. (See TDLR announcement on April 9, 2020, regarding the granted suspensions). These suspensions continue in effect until terminated by the Office of the Governor.

The suspension of the TDLR rules to allow SLP interns and SLP assistants to provide telehealth services is separate from the HHSC/Medicaid requirements regarding reimbursement for telehealth services. Please continue to confirm reimbursement policies with the billing entities you are working with. Eligibility for reimbursement does not affect a licensee’s ability to provide services through telehealth.

If you have not already done so, please sign up for email notices from TDLR regarding the Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists program and any COVID-19 updates. TDLR will notify its email subscribers when any granted suspensions will be coming to an end, and will post a notice to the TDLR COVID-19 webpage.

COVID-19 Update: Required Grades for a Speech-Language Pathology Assistant License

The COVID-19 pandemic caused universities to close their campuses and switch to online classes and led many universities to adopt a pass/fail grading policy for the 2020 spring semester.

Current Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists program rules, 16 TAC §111.50(a)(2) and §111.50(b)(1)(A), require applicants for a speech-language pathology assistant license to have earned at least 24 semester hours in speech-language pathology and/or audiology with a grade of “C” or better.

For the spring 2020 semester only, TDLR will accept a "passing" grade as meeting the requirement of a grade of "C" or better for undergraduate students applying for a speech-language pathology assistant license.

The number and type of required semester credit hours will remain the same: 18 of the 24 semester credit hours must be in speech-language pathology, with at least three (3) credit hours in language disorders and at least three (3) credit hours in speech disorders. The 24 semester credit hours exclude course work such as special education, deaf education, or sign language. The 24 semester credit hours must be academic course work and excludes any clinical experience.

Governor Approves Regulatory Suspensions to Facilitate Services to Speech-Language Pathologist and Audiologist Clients During the COVID-19 Pandemic

To help combat the spread of Coronavirus, TDLR requested and received authority from Governor Greg Abbott to suspend certain regulatory requirements, to the extent necessary, to allow licensees of the Speech-Language Pathologist and Audiologist program to provide more services to clients through telehealth and to ease other licensing restrictions.

These suspensions are in effect until terminated by the Office of the Governor or until the March 13, 2020 disaster declaration is lifted or expires. In accordance with Section 418.016 of the Texas Government Code, the Office of the Governor has granted TDLR’s request to suspend the following provisions:

Supervision:

Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) interns may now receive direct supervision through telehealth. The SLP internship is at least 36 weeks and 1,260 hours, divided into three (3) segments with no fewer than thirty-six (36) clock hours of supervisory activities to include:

  • six (6) hours of direct supervision per segment by the supervisor(s) of the intern's client contact in which the intern provides screening, evaluation, assessment, habilitation, and rehabilitation; and
  • six (6) hours of indirect supervision per segment with the supervisor(s) which may include correspondence, review of videos, evaluation of written reports, phone conferences with the intern, and evaluations by professional colleagues.

As a result of the suspension, all supervision hours—both direct and indirect—may be conducted through telehealth (suspension of 16 TAC §111.2(15), (23), and (25) and §111.213(c)).

Under a previous suspension granted by the Governor, SLP assistants may receive 100 percent of their monthly supervision through telehealth. Supervisors must provide a minimum of four hours of direct supervision each month and four hours of indirect supervision each month. Supervisors may use telehealth for both direct and indirect supervision (suspension of 16 TAC §111.51(g)(1) and (4); §111.2(14), (23), and (24); and §111.213(b)(1) and (2)).

Audiology assistants may now be supervised for all assigned tasks through telehealth (suspension of 16 TAC §111.2(14), (23), and (24); §111.91(f) and §111.216(b)).

Audiology interns are allowed to be supervised for all assigned tasks through telehealth (no suspension of the rules was required).

Practice:

For all licensees approved to provide telehealth services:

  • A smart phone, or any audio-visual, real-time, or two-way interactive communication system, qualifies as telecommunications technology and may now be used to provide telehealth services, as well as telehealth services related to fitting and dispensing hearing instruments (suspension of 16 TAC §§111.210(7)-(12), §111.213(d), §111.216(c), §§111.231(9)-(12) and §§111.232(b), (d) and (i)).
  • The same code of ethics and professional standards apply whether a client is seen via telehealth or an in-person visit as required under 16 TAC §111.212 and §111.215.

SLP interns:

  • SLP interns may now provide services to clients remotely using telehealth (suspension of 16 TAC §111.210(5)).

SLP Assistants:

  • SLP assistants may now provide services through telehealth, as directed by their supervisor, according to the SLP assistant practice and duties under 16 TAC §111.52 (suspension of §111.210(5)).

Audiologists and Audiology Interns:

  • Audiologists and audiology interns who fit and dispense hearing instruments through telehealth are no longer required to conduct an initial professional contact in person at the same physical location (suspension of 16 TAC §111.232(j)).

Services provided through telehealth must be performed with the same standard of care as in-person health care and within the licensee’s scope of practice and competence. The equipment used must be appropriate for the situation and properly working as required under 16 TAC §111.232(h) and (i).

Facilitators:

If a facilitator assists with the provision of telehealth services, no prior training is necessary if the provider determines that the facilitator has the competence needed to assist with the services given (suspension of 16 TAC §111.232(e) and (f)(1)).

Licensees who need additional information on billing policies relating to the provision of telehealth services during the COVID-19 pandemic should contact Texas Health and Human Services Medicaid or managed care organizations (MCOs), as policies are changing rapidly. It is critical to check with your payor before initiating a new type of service or service delivery model, such as telehealth.

Before providing telehealth services, licensees should verify the applicability of other requirements and obligations, such as HIPAA and other medical and personal privacy requirements.

COVID-19: TDLR Waives Continuing Education, Other Requirements

To help combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus, TDLR requested authority from Governor Greg Abbott to suspend certain regulatory requirements statewide, including the following:

  • Speech-Language Pathology assistants may receive 100 percent of their monthly supervision through telehealth. Supervisors must provide a minimum of four hours of direct supervision each month and four hours of indirect supervision each month.  Supervisors may use telehealth for all supervision of SLP assistants (16 TAC §111.51(g)(1) and (4) and §111.213(b)(1) and (2)).
  • Continuing education requirements are waived for all licenses expiring in March, April, and May 2020. Licensees will still submit their renewal applications, pay the required fees, and have their criminal histories checked but they will not need to complete any required continuing education requirements this licensing cycle. (51.405, Occupations Code)

Please check the TDLR COVID-19 webpage for the most up-to-date information.

Updates to Speech-Pathologists and Audiologists Law(s)

This message is provided to notify you of changes to the Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists law(s).

House Bill 2847 passed by the 86th Texas Legislature, amended Occupations Code, Chapter 401, relating to the licensing and regulation of certain occupations, activities, and agreements; providing a civil penalty; authorizing fees; requiring an occupational registration and an occupational license. House Bill 2847 and the changes to Chapter 401 became effective September 1, 2019.

TDLR encourages all persons interested in the Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists program to review the updated Occupations Code, Chapter 401.

Guidance Statement on TDI Rules Related to Senate Bill 1264

The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) has adopted emergency rules interpreting Senate Bill (SB) 1264’s prohibitions related to “surprise billing” (or “balance billing”). This Guidance Statement is intended to provide clear information concerning SB 1264 to Texas patients, clients, and health care providers under the regulatory authority of the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR).

SB 1264 prohibits surprise billing, with certain exceptions. Health care providers under TDLR’s regulatory authority who seek to exercise the exceptions to SB 1264’s prohibitions against balance billing must comply with all provisions of SB 1264, including as interpreted by TDI rules. See the TDI SB 1264 webpage for additional information. SB 1264 applies to a health care or medical service or supply provided on or after January 1, 2020.

TDLR will be responsible for investigating complaints and taking disciplinary action against TDLR licensees for violations of SB 1264, including as interpreted by TDI rules. Any person who believes that a TDLR-licensed health care provider has committed a balance billing-related violation may file a complaint online with TDLR. Additionally, TDLR and TDI will work together to ensure that any complaints filed with TDI regarding TDLR licensees will be referred to TDLR and investigated.

TDLR will be working on the development of enforcement rules consistent with SB 1264 and TDI’s rules interpreting the statute. As rulemaking moves ahead, we look forward to a transparent process and engaging the public and stakeholders on this important issue.

Important Information for Healthcare Facilities Seeking to Use Out-Of-State Healthcare Providers to Assist with Tropical Storm Imelda Disaster Response

On September 19, 2019 in accordance with Sections 418.016 and 418.171 of the Texas Government Code, Governor Greg Abbott temporarily suspended all necessary statutes and rules to allow a healthcare professional licensed and in good standing in another state to practice in various facilities in Texas to assist with Tropical Storm Imelda disaster response operations.

The suspension allows a healthcare provider who holds a license, certificate, or other permit issued by another state jurisdiction satisfying qualifications for professional, mechanical, or other skills to render aid in this state to meet an emergency or disaster.

This suspension is in effect until terminated by the Office of the Governor or until the Tropical Storm Imelda disaster declaration is lifted or expires.

For the healthcare provider types listed below, a healthcare facility must submit to the TDLR by email each out-of-state provider’s name, license type, state of licensure, and license identification number to: recovery@tdlr.texas.gov

TDLR licenses the following healthcare providers:

  • Athletic Trainers
  • Behavior Analysts
  • Dietitians
  • Dyslexia Therapists and Practitioners
  • Hearing Instrument Fitters and Dispensers
  • Midwives
  • Orthotists and Prosthetists
  • Podiatrists
  • Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists

If you have questions or need assistance, please call (800) 803-9202 Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. or email recovery@tdlr.texas.gov.

Audiology Supervisors Can Now Add and Delete Their Intern and Assistant Supervisees Online

Licensed Audiologists who are eligible to supervise can log in to their online licensing accounts to add or delete assistant and intern supervisees. Supervisors may add or delete assistants and interns who are currently licensed. Supervisors may not add or delete applicants who have not been issued a license yet.

The changes made by the licensed supervisor are immediate. Supervisors may print out a summary of their current assistants and interns as soon as they make any changes.

The new online system can be used instead of submitting paper Supervisory Responsibility Statement forms, and Intern Plan of Agreement and Supervision forms.

Please refer to the program rules for information on supervision requirements at 16 Texas Administrative Code §111.154. Requirements, Duties, and Responsibilities of Supervisors.

Read detailed instructions for the online system (PDF).

Speech-Language Pathologists & Audiologists: One Year Update

In 2015, the Texas Legislature passed Senate Bill 202, transferring the Speech-Language Pathologists & Audiologists program from the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) to the Texas Department of Licensing & Regulation (TDLR).

The program transfer took place in October 2016. As part of our mission to deliver improved services at a lower cost to Texans, TDLR reduced the following fees for the Speech-Language Pathologists & Audiologists program:

Speech-Language Pathologists & Audiologists DSHS Fee TDLR Fee $ Reduced % Reduced
Jurisprudence Exam $39 $34 $5 13%
License Verification Fee $10 $0 $10 100%
Criminal History Evaluation Fee $50 $25 $25 50%
Reinstatement Fee $100 $0 $100 100%

We’ve also reduced processing and administrative fees for each online transaction. Thanks to these reductions, Texas Speech-Language Pathologists & Audiologists kept $71,191.00 in their pockets in their first year at TDLR. (October 2016 – September 2017)

In addition, TDLR reduced the word count in the Speech-Language Pathologists & Audiologists program administrative rules to make them clear, concise, and easier to read--without impacting their effectiveness:

Speech-Language Pathologists & Audiologists DSHS Rules TDLR Rules Word Difference % Reduced
Administrative Rules Word Count 35,772 25,536 10,236 29%

At TDLR, one of our core values is open and free communication. During this first year, the 7,669 Speech-Language Pathologists & Audiologists program email subscribers were contacted 12 times (92,028 emails delivered) so that we could share information about meetings, rule changes, licensing, and more. And beginning in November 2015, all interested parties have been invited to six public meetings of the Speech-Language Pathologists & Audiologists Advisory Board.

TDLR is delivering on our promise to promote transparency and accountability, protect the health and safety of all Texans, and eliminate unnecessary barriers to doing business. We look forward to serving you for many years to come, and always appreciate any feedback.

Important Information for Healthcare Facilities Seeking to Use Out-Of-State Healthcare Providers to Assist With Hurricane Harvey Disaster Response

On September 3, in accordance with Sections 418.016 and 418.171 of the Texas Government Code, Governor Greg Abbott temporarily suspended all necessary statutes and rules to allow a healthcare professional licensed and in good standing in another state to practice in various facilities in Texas to assist with disaster response operations for Hurricane Harvey. Read More

The suspension allows a healthcare provider who holds a license, certificate, or other permit issued by another state jurisdiction satisfying qualifications for professional, mechanical, or other skills to render aid in this state to meet an emergency or disaster.

This suspension is in effect until terminated by the Office of the Governor or until the Hurricane Harvey disaster declaration is lifted or expires.

For the healthcare provider types listed below, a healthcare facility must submit to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) by email each out-of-state provider’s name, license type, state of licensure, and license identification number to: Harvey@tdlr.texas.gov

TDLR licenses the following healthcare providers:

  • Athletic Trainers
  • Dietitians
  • Dyslexia Therapists and Practitioners
  • Hearing Instrument Fitters and Dispensers
  • Midwives
  • Orthotists and Prosthetists
  • Podiatrists
  • Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists

If you have questions or need assistance, please call (800) 803-9202 between 7:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. CDT or email Harvey@tdlr.texas.gov.

Speech-Language Pathology Supervisors Can Now Add and Delete Their Intern and Assistant Supervisees Online

Licensed Speech-Language Pathologists who are eligible to supervise can log in to their online licensing accounts to add or delete assistant and intern supervisees. Supervisors may add or delete assistants and interns who are currently licensed. Supervisors may not add or delete applicants who have not been issued a license yet. Read detailed instructions for the online system.

The changes made by the licensed supervisor are immediate. Supervisors may print out a summary of their current assistants and interns as soon as they make any changes. Read answers to frequently asked questions

The new online system can be used instead of submitting paper Supervisory Responsibility Statement forms, and Intern Plan of Agreement and Supervision forms.
Please refer to the program rules for information on supervision requirements at 16 Texas Administrative Code §111.154. Requirements, Duties, and Responsibilities of Supervisors.

TDLR staff from multiple divisions worked together to create this new online process for licensees’ ease and convenience. This project reflects TDLR’s Core Values of Customer Service, Teamwork and Innovation.


Advisory Board Meetings

CANCELED - Upcoming Meeting - April 14, 2020

The Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists Advisory Board meeting scheduled for Tuesday, April 14, 2020 is canceled. When the meeting is rescheduled, the date will be posted online.

Previous Meeting - January 24, 2020

The Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists Advisory Board met January 24, 2020 in Austin. The agenda and staff reports (PDF) are available online. The meeting was archived and is available on TDLR's YouTube channel.