P.O. Box 12068, State Capitol
Austin, Texas 78711
Tel. (512) 463-0112
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 5, 2009
AUSTIN — Texas Senate today concurred with House amendments to SB 347 by State Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, enhancing the state's ability to maintain vaccination records during an emergency. The bill now moves to the governor's desk.
"When families are displaced during a state of emergency, it is vitally important that our citizens and our medical professionals can access immunization records," Senator Nelson said. "During Hurricane Katrina, the state of Louisiana was able to share its vaccination data with Texas health authorities. This legislation enables Texas to enter into similar agreements with other states in declared emergencies. It includes strict guidelines to secure patient confidentiality."
As amended, SB 347 authorizes the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) to enter into memorandums of understanding with other states during a disaster declared by the President, the Governor of Texas, or the governor of another state, to share information in ImmTrac, the state's immunization registry. It stipulates that the memorandum must provide for the purging of records when the disaster has abated.
Other bills by Senator Nelson relating to disasters or public health threats include SB 75, creating public education about medical evacuation and other disaster protocols; SB 347, allowing individuals to opt in to ImmTrac beyond their 18th birthday; SB 292, requiring physicians to regularly update their emergency contact information on file with the Texas Medical Board; SB 1328, initiating a study into the vaccination status of first responders; SB 1329, providing new authority for DSHS to protect against food-borne illnesses; SB 1880, requiring nurses to update emergency contact information with the Board of Nursing; and HB 1671, allowing the state to contract with other states to conduct newborn screenings in an emergency.