Per Texas Administrative Code (TAC) rule 355.105(b)(4), General Reporting and Documentation Requirements, Methods, and Procedures, cost report preparers must certify the accuracy of cost reports submitted to the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC). Per the rule, this certification must: “contain a signed, notarized, original certification page or an electronic equivalent where such equivalents are specifically allowed under HHSC policies and procedures;”
Prior to March 2020, HHSC did not have an agency-defined policy related to submission of electronic equivalents on the certification pages for cost or accountability reports and required all preparers and providers to submit signed and notarized certification pages. In response to concerns about COVID-19, HHSC is publishing this policy to serve as guidance to allow an alternative option of digital signatures from the date of this policy forward. A digital signature is a form of encryption that tightly binds documents to a unique number or electronic "fingerprint."
This policy is established to reduce the face-to-face contact required to obtain notarization of the certification page and to improve the ability for preparers and providers to submit the required cost reports in a timely manner. Signed and notarized signatures will still be accepted if the preparer and provider choose to submit them.
A digital signature will be accepted by HHSC if the signature is derived using software that creates a digital signature logo with a system-generated date and time stamp or includes the logo of the digital software used.
A digital signature will not be accepted by HHSC if the digital signature provided is any of the following, including, but not limited to:
- A photocopy of a handwritten signature
- An ink stamp of a handwritten signature
- A typed signature without a digital stamp