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  H.B. No. 549
 
 
 
 
AN ACT
  relating to exemptions from liability for certain professionals for
  the disclosure of certain mental health information.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Section 611.002, Health and Safety Code, is
  amended by amending Subsection (b) and adding Subsection (b-1) to
  read as follows:
         (b)  Confidential communications or records may not be
  disclosed except as provided by Section 611.004, 611.0041, or
  611.0045.
         (b-1)  No exception to the privilege of confidentiality
  under Section 611.004 may be construed to create an independent
  duty or requirement to disclose the confidential information to
  which the exception applies.
         SECTION 2.  Section 611.004, Health and Safety Code, is
  amended by amending Subsection (a) and adding Subsection (a-1) to
  read as follows:
         (a)  A professional may disclose confidential information
  only:
               (1)  to a governmental agency if the disclosure is
  required or authorized by law;
               (2)  to medical, mental health, or law enforcement
  personnel if the professional determines that there is a
  probability of imminent physical injury by the patient to the
  patient or others or there is a probability of immediate mental or
  emotional injury to the patient;
               (3)  to qualified personnel for management audits,
  financial audits, program evaluations, or research, in accordance
  with Subsection (b);
               (4)  to a person who has the written consent of the
  patient, or a parent if the patient is a minor, or a guardian if the
  patient has been adjudicated as incompetent to manage the patient's
  personal affairs;
               (5)  to the patient's personal representative if the
  patient is deceased;
               (6)  to individuals, corporations, or governmental
  agencies involved in paying or collecting fees for mental or
  emotional health services provided by a professional;
               (7)  to other professionals and personnel under the
  professionals' direction who participate in the diagnosis,
  evaluation, or treatment of the patient;
               (8)  in an official legislative inquiry relating to a
  state hospital or state school as provided by Subsection (c);
               (9)  to designated persons or personnel of a
  correctional facility in which a person is detained if the
  disclosure is for the sole purpose of providing treatment and
  health care to the person in custody;
               (10)  to an employee or agent of the professional who
  requires mental health care information to provide mental health
  care services or in complying with statutory, licensing, or
  accreditation requirements, if the professional has taken
  appropriate action to ensure that the employee or agent:
                     (A)  will not use or disclose the information for
  any other purposes; and
                     (B)  will take appropriate steps to protect the
  information; or
               (11)  to satisfy a request for medical records of a
  deceased or incompetent person pursuant to Section 74.051(e), Civil
  Practice and Remedies Code.
         (a-1)  No civil, criminal, or administrative cause of action
  exists against a person described by Section 611.001(2)(A) or (B)
  for the disclosure of confidential information in accordance with
  Subsection (a)(2).  A cause of action brought against the person for
  the disclosure of the confidential information must be dismissed
  with prejudice.
         SECTION 3.  Section 159.002, Occupations Code, is amended by
  adding Subsection (c-1) to read as follows:
         (c-1)  No exception to the privilege of confidentiality
  under Section 159.003 or 159.004 may be construed to create an
  independent duty or requirement to disclose the confidential
  information to which the exception applies.
         SECTION 4.  Section 159.004, Occupations Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         Sec. 159.004.  EXCEPTIONS TO CONFIDENTIALITY IN OTHER
  SITUATIONS. (a) An exception to the privilege of confidentiality
  in a situation other than a court or administrative proceeding,
  allowing disclosure of confidential information by a physician,
  exists only with respect to the following:
               (1)  a governmental agency, if the disclosure is
  required or authorized by law;
               (2)  medical, mental health, or law enforcement
  personnel, if the physician determines that there is a probability
  of:
                     (A)  imminent physical injury to the patient, the
  physician, or another person; or
                     (B)  immediate mental or emotional injury to the
  patient;
               (3)  qualified personnel for research or for a
  management audit, financial audit, or program evaluation, but the
  personnel may not directly or indirectly identify a patient in any
  report of the research, audit, or evaluation or otherwise disclose
  identity in any manner;
               (4)  those parts of the medical records reflecting
  specific services provided if necessary in the collection of fees
  for medical services provided by a physician, professional
  association, or other entity qualified to provide or arrange for
  medical services;
               (5)  a person who has consent, as provided by Section
  159.005;
               (6)  a person, corporation, or governmental agency
  involved in the payment or collection of fees for medical services
  provided by a physician;
               (7)  another physician or other personnel acting under
  the direction of the physician who participate in the diagnosis,
  evaluation, or treatment of the patient;
               (8)  an official legislative inquiry regarding state
  hospitals or state schools, if:
                     (A)  information or a record that identifies a
  patient or client is not released for any purpose unless proper
  consent to the release is given by the patient; and
                     (B)  only records created by the state hospital or
  school or its employees are included; or
               (9)  health care personnel of a penal or other
  custodial institution in which the patient is detained if the
  disclosure is for the sole purpose of providing health care to the
  patient.
         (b)  No civil, criminal, or administrative cause of action
  exists against a physician for the disclosure of confidential
  information in accordance with Subsection (a)(2). A cause of
  action brought against a physician for the disclosure of the
  confidential information must be dismissed with prejudice.
         SECTION 5.  The changes in law made by this Act apply only to
  a disclosure of confidential information made on or after the
  effective date of this Act.  A disclosure made before the effective
  date of this Act is governed by the law in effect on the date the
  disclosure was made, and that law is continued in effect for that
  purpose.
         SECTION 6.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2021.
 
 
  ______________________________ ______________________________
     President of the Senate Speaker of the House     
 
 
         I certify that H.B. No. 549 was passed by the House on April
  16, 2021, by the following vote:  Yeas 117, Nays 28, 2 present, not
  voting; and that the House concurred in Senate amendments to H.B.
  No. 549 on May 28, 2021, by the following vote:  Yeas 137, Nays 0, 1
  present, not voting.
 
  ______________________________
  Chief Clerk of the House   
 
         I certify that H.B. No. 549 was passed by the Senate, with
  amendments, on May 20, 2021, by the following vote:  Yeas 30, Nays
  1.
 
  ______________________________
  Secretary of the Senate   
  APPROVED: __________________
                  Date       
   
           __________________
                Governor