H.B. No. 1677

relating to establishing a sentinel surveillance program for respiratory syncytial virus. BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS: SECTION 1. Subtitle D, Title 2, Health and Safety Code, is amended by adding Chapter 96 to read as follows:
Sec. 96.001. DEFINITIONS. In this chapter: (1) "Department" means the Department of State Health Services. (2) "Executive commissioner" means the executive commissioner of the Health and Human Services Commission. (3) "Health facility" includes: (A) a general or special hospital licensed by the department under Chapter 241; (B) a physician-owned or physician-operated clinic; (C) a publicly or privately funded medical school; (D) a state hospital or state school maintained and managed by the Department of State Health Services or the Department of Aging and Disability Services; (E) a public health clinic conducted by a local health unit, health department, or public health district organized and recognized under Chapter 121; and (F) another facility specified by a rule adopted by the executive commissioner. (4) "Local health unit" has the meaning assigned by Section 121.004. (5) "RSV" means respiratory syncytial virus. Sec. 96.002. CONFIDENTIALITY. (a) Except as specifically authorized by this chapter, reports, records, and information furnished to a department employee or to an authorized agent of the department that relate to cases or suspected cases of a health condition are confidential and may be used only for the purposes of this chapter. (b) Reports, records, and information relating to cases or suspected cases of health conditions are not public information under Chapter 552, Government Code, and may not be released or made public on subpoena or otherwise except as provided by this chapter. (c) The department may release medical, epidemiological, or toxicological information: (1) for statistical purposes, if released in a manner that prevents the identification of any person; (2) to medical personnel, appropriate state agencies, health authorities, regional directors, and public officers of counties and municipalities as necessary to comply with this chapter and rules relating to the identification, monitoring, and referral of children with RSV; or (3) to appropriate federal agencies, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the United States Public Health Service. Sec. 96.003. LIMITATION OF LIABILITY. A health professional, a health facility, or an administrator, officer, or employee of a health facility subject to this chapter is not civilly or criminally liable for divulging information required to be released under this chapter, except in a case of gross negligence or wilful misconduct. Sec. 96.004. COOPERATION OF GOVERNMENTAL ENTITIES. Another state board, commission, agency, or governmental entity capable of assisting the department in carrying out the intent of this chapter shall cooperate with the department and furnish expertise, services, and facilities to the sentinel surveillance program. Sec. 96.005. SENTINEL SURVEILLANCE PROGRAM. (a) The executive commissioner shall establish in the department a program to: (1) identify by sentinel surveillance RSV infection in children; and (2) maintain a central database of laboratory-confirmed cases of RSV that can be used to investigate the incidence, prevalence, and trends of RSV. (b) In establishing the sentinel surveillance program for RSV, the executive commissioner shall consider: (1) the number and geographic distribution of children in the state; (2) the location of health facilities that collect RSV information locally; and (3) the use of existing data collected by health facilities. (c) The executive commissioner shall adopt rules to govern the operation of the program and carry out the intent of this chapter, including rules that specify a system for selecting the demographic areas in which the department collects information. Sec. 96.006. DATA COLLECTION. (a) To ensure an accurate source of data, the executive commissioner may require a health facility or health professional to make available for review by the department or by an authorized agent medical records or other information that is in the facility's or professional's custody or control and that relates to an occurrence of RSV. (b) The executive commissioner by rule shall prescribe the manner in which data are reported to the department. Sec. 96.007. DATABASE. (a) Information collected and analyzed by the department or an authorized agent under this chapter may be placed in a central database to facilitate information sharing and provider education. (b) The department may use the database to: (1) design and evaluate measures to prevent the occurrence of RSV and other health conditions; and (2) provide information and education to providers on the incidence of RSV infection. SECTION 2. Not later than November 1, 2005, the executive commissioner of the Health and Human Services Commission shall adopt rules as required by Section 96.005, Health and Safety Code, as added by this Act. SECTION 3. This Act takes effect September 1, 2005. ______________________________ ______________________________ President of the Senate Speaker of the House I certify that H.B. No. 1677 was passed by the House on April 21, 2005, by the following vote: Yeas 138, Nays 0, 1 present, not voting. ______________________________ Chief Clerk of the House I certify that H.B. No. 1677 was passed by the Senate on May 10, 2005, by the following vote: Yeas 24, Nays 0. ______________________________ Secretary of the Senate APPROVED: _____________________ Date _____________________ Governor