BG S.B. 208 75(R) BILL ANALYSIS PUBLIC HEALTH S.B. 208 By: Haywood (Hirschi) May 8, 1997 Committee Report (Unamended) BACKGROUND Discrepancies have arisen in interpreting current law which provides for the confidentiality of mental health records at the request of the person being treated. As a result, treating physicians find it difficult to disclose to parents and legal guardians, certain information needed to make decisions relating to the whereabouts, diagnosis, and treatment of dependent patients. PURPOSE S.B. 208 clarifies current law to allow a legally authorized representative to obtain necessary mental health records from a treating physician about a mental-health patient. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the committee's opinion that this bill does not expressly grant any additional rulemaking authority to a state officer, department, agency or institution. SECTION BY SECTION ANALYSIS SECTION 1. Amends Section 576.005, Health and Safety Code, to establish that records of a mental health facility that identify a patient as specified are confidential unless disclosure is permitted by other state law. Deletes existing Subsections (b) through (d) regarding a treating physician determining what is in the best interest of a patient and legally authorized representatives. Makes a conforming change. SECTION 2. Effective date: September 1, 1997. SECTION 3. Emergency clause.