P.O. Box 12068, State Capitol
Austin, Texas 78711
Tel. (512) 463-0112
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 21, 2001
AUSTIN - The Texas Senate today approved the Texas Medical Privacy Act (SB 11) authored by Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, to prevent the release of medical information without a patient's consent. The bill now goes to House for consideration.
"Texas patients scored a major victory today, and I am thankful that the Senate did the right thing," Senator Nelson, who has been pushing privacy legislation for the past two sessions, said. "We are moving closer to sealing our medical files against third-party access and shutting the door on those marketing firms who have been rifling through our medicine cabinets. Our health is our business."
- Prevents the transfer of patient data from health entities to marketing or advertising entities without consent.
- Directs the Texas Department of Insurance to adopt rules consistent with federal guidelines governing the release of patient specific data by health plans and insurance companies.
- Gives patients the right to know how entities use their medical information in the form of an easy-to-understand public notice.
- Establishes privacy standards for medical research efforts.
- Authorizes the Texas Attorney General's Office to impose administrative penalties up to $250,000 per violation.
- Gives individuals the right sue to stop the release of information and seek injunctive relief but not punitive damages.
- Gives patients the right to inspect their medical records and provides a mechanism to correct errors in their files.