• DSHS HIV/STD Program

    Post Office Box 149347, MC 1873
    Austin, Texas 78714

    Phone: (512) 533-3000

    E-mail the HIV/STD Program

    E-mail data requests to HIV/STD Program - This email can be used to request data and statistics on HIV, TB, and STDs in Texas. It cannot be used to get treatment or infection history for individuals, or to request information on programs and services. Please do not include any personal, identifying health information in your email such as HIV status, Date of Birth, Social Security Number, etc.

    For treatment/testing history, please contact your local Health Department.

    For information on HIV testing and services available to Persons Living with HIV and AIDS, please contact your local HIV services organization.

Legal Services

Standards of Care

Print version (PDF : 416 kB)

Definition:

Legal Services is provided to for an HIV-infected person to address legal matters directly necessitated by the individual’s HIV status.

 

Limitations:

Any legal services that arrange for guardianship or adoption of children after the death of their normal caregiver is not included.

Excludes criminal defense and representation for class-action suits unless related to access to services eligible for funding under the Ryan White/State Services HIV/AIDS Program.

 

Services:

Services include but are not limited to:

  • Preparation of Powers of Attorney and Living Wills
  • Do not resuscitate orders or other end of life testamentary documentation
  • Interventions necessary to ensure access to eligible benefits, including discrimination or breach of confidentiality litigation as it relates to services eligible for funding under Ryan White/State Services
  • Permanency planning for an individual or family where the responsible adult is expected to pre-decease a dependent (usually a minor child) due to HIV/AIDS
  • Provision of social service counseling or legal counsel regarding but limited to:
    • Drafting of wills or delegating powers of attorney
    • Preparation for custody options for legal dependents including standby guardianship, joint custody, or adoption
    • Employment
    • Housing
    • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability (SSD)
    • Public or private health insurance coverage
    • Access to and maintenance of public benefits and entitlements.

 

Agency/Personnel/Staff Training

Staff
Staff Qualification Expected Practice

Qualifications
Staff and volunteer attorneys will be licensed in the State of Texas and members in good standing of the State Bar of Texas and have a minimum educational level of a doctorate in Jurisprudence.

All licensed agency professional staff, contractors, and consultants who provide legal services shall be currently licensed by the State Bar of Texas.

Law students, law school graduates and other legal professionals will be supervised by a qualified licensed attorney.

Staff Education
Staff members are trained, knowledgeable and remain current in legal issues in accordance with the rules of the State Bar of Texas.

Staff providing services funded by Ryan White/State Services shall maintain knowledge of legal issues that may impact the legal assistance needs of persons living with HIV/AIDS

Staff will attend and has continued access to training activities:

  • Agency paid legal staff and contractors must complete two (2) hours of HIV-specific training annually.
  • New agency paid legal staff and contractors must complete two (2) hours of HIV-specific training within 90 days of start date.
  • Volunteer legal staffs are encouraged to complete HIV-specific legal training.
  • Documentation of training on current applicable laws related to HIV infection located in personnel file.

Agency maintains system for dissemination of HIV/AIDS information relevant to the legal assistance needs of PLWHA to staff and volunteers

  • Agency will document provision of in-service education to staff regarding current treatment methodologies and promising practices.

Agency Policies and Procedures

The agency shall have policies/procedures for each of the following:

  • Patient rights and responsibilities, including confidentiality guidelines
  • Patient grievance policies and procedures
  • Patient eligibility requirements
  • Data collection procedures and forms, including data reporting
  • Guidelines for language accessibility

 

Standards of Care

Standards
Standard Measure
Intake and Service Eligibility
According to the HRSA HIV National Monitoring Standards, eligibility for services must be determined.

Agency will receive referrals from a broad range of HIV/AIDS service providers.

Eligibility information will be obtain from the referral source and will include:

  • Contact and identifying information (name, address, phone, birth date, etc.)
  • Language(s) spoken
  • Literacy level (client self-report)
  • Demographics
  • Emergency contact
  • Household members
  • Pertinent releases of information
  • Documentation of insurance status
  • Documentation of income (including a “zero income” statement)
  • Documentation of state residency
  • Documentation of proof of HIV positivity
  • Photo ID or two other forms of identification
  • Acknowledgement of client’s rights

The client's eligibility must be recertified for the program every six (6) months.

Before assistance is provided there should be written documentation in the client’s file that Ryan White/State Services funding is being used as the payor of last resort.

Provision of Services
Services are provided in accordance with National Monitoring Standards to conduct appropriate action on behalf of clients to meet their legal needs.

Service Agreements will be developed and signed by both the attorney and the client.

  • Clients will be kept informed and work together with staff to determine the objective(s) of the representation.

Agency may provide but not limited to the following types of legal representation, assistance, and education:

  • HIV discrimination in insurance, housing, employment, etc.
  • Assistance to immigrants with accessing and maintaining primary health care and other support services
  • Access to and maintenance of public benefits and entitlements
  • Preparation of powers of attorney
  • Preparation of Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) Orders
  • Representing clients in court and administrative proceedings where appropriate.
  • Eviction prevention
  • Employment rights counseling
  • Assistance with bankruptcy proceedings
  • Social Security benefits
  • Health insurance coverage
  • Other relevant legal advice and counseling
  • Referrals to other providers/programs
  • Referrals to pro bono attorneys

Attorneys will document the following in the client's record:

  • A description of how the legal service is necessitated by the individual’s HIV status
  • Types of services provided
  • Hours spent in the provision of such services
Case Closure
Agency will develop case closure criteria and procedures.

Case may be closed when:

  • Legal or benefit issue has been resolved
  • Client has not had direct program contact for three (3)-six (6) months after at least three (3) attempts to contact over a three (3) month period.
  • Client is deceased
  • Client voluntarily discontinues the service
  • Client improperly uses the service
  • Client has not complied with the client Services Agreement

If case is closed for a reason other than objectives met, agency will notify clients about case closure in writing.

Documentation in Clients Chart

The following will be documented in the agency's client record.

  • All intake and eligibility documentation will include:
    • Proof of HIV positivity
    • Proof of residency
    • Verification of financial eligibility
    • Client demographics
    • Intake and assessment information
  • Documentation of identified need
  • Service Agreement
  • Documentation of progress in case notes
  • Documentation of referrals and results
  • Documentation of all legal services and results
  • Documentation of reason for case closure

 

References

HRSA/HAB Division of Metropolitan HIV/AIDS Programs Program Monitoring Standards – Part A April 2013. p. 36-37.

HRSA/HAB Division of State HIV/AIDS Programs National Monitoring Standards – Program Part B April, 2013. p. 35-37.


Last updated January 18, 2018