S.B. No. 975


Bill Description

Governor Bush signed SB 975 on May 31, 1997. SB 975 becomes effective September 1, 1997.

SB 975 amends Chapter 241 of the Health and Safety Code regarding disclosure of health care information.

SB 975 should be read in conjunction with SB 208 (regarding disclosure of mental health information) and SB 506 (adding Section 10B to the Probate Code regarding disclosure of communications or records relating to decedent's condition before death).

The House Public Health Committee Report on SB 975 states:


Currently, the disclosure of a patient's hospital records is governed by guidelines in S.B. 667, enacted by the 74th Legislature. Since the implementation of that Act, several problems have arisen regarding the interpretation of its provisions, most notably, the interpretation of the term "court subpoena."


S.B. 975 provides for the disclosure of health care information by certain health care providers. This bill replaces the term "court subpoena" with specific procedural references to the Civil Practice and Remedies Code and the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure.

. . .


SECTION 1. Amends Section 241.151, Health and Safety Code, to define "directory information" and redefine "legally authorized representative." Makes conforming changes.

SECTION 2. Amends Sections 241.152(a) and (c), Health and Safety Code, to prohibit a hospital or an agent or employee of a hospital from disclosing health care information about a patient to any person other than the patient or the patient's legally authorized representative without the written authorization of those persons, with certain exceptions. Provides that a disclosure authorization is valid until the 180th, rather than the 90th, day after the date it is signed unless it provides otherwise or is revoked.

SECTION 3. Amends Section 241.153, Health and Safety Code, to add to the conditions under which a patient's health care information is authorized to be disclosed without the patient's authorization, as follows: if the disclosure is directory information; authorized by an applicable professional health care licensing act; to a transporting emergency medical services provider; to a member of the clergy specifically designated by the patient; to a qualified organ or tissue procurement organization regarding potential donations; to a prospective health care provider regarding services; to certain persons to facilitate the adequate provision of treatment; to the American Red Cross; to a regional poison control center; to a health care utilization review agent; to facilitate reimbursement to a hospital, rather than to facilitate reimbursement by a health benefit plan to a hospital; to comply with a court order; or related to a judicial proceeding in which the patient is a party and the disclosure is requested under subpoena, rather than to a court pursuant to a court order or court subpoena. Makes conforming changes.

SECTION 4. Amends Section 241.154, Health and Safety Code, to require a hospital or its agent, as promptly as required but not later than the 15th day after the date the request and payment authorized are received, to make certain information available on receipt of a written authorization from a patient or legally authorized representative. Establishes the conditions under which the hospital or its agent is authorized to charge a reasonable fee, and provides that neither is required to permit the release of the information requested until the fee is paid, unless there is a medical emergency. Prohibits a hospital from charging a fee for certain services. Requires the fee for providing health care information, effective September 1, 1996, and annually thereafter, to be adjusted accordingly, based on the most recent changes to the consumer price index as published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor.

SECTION 5. Repeals Section 241.152(g), Health and Safety Code (regarding hospital fees for providing health care information).

Copyright 1997 by Glenn M. Karisch. This page was last revised on June 16, 1997.