Senate Research CenterS.B. 208
By: Haywood
Health & Human Services
As Filed


Currently, the law provides for the confidentiality of mental health
records at the request of the person being treated.  This makes it
difficult for a parents and legal guardians to obtain certain information
needed to make decisions relating to the whereabouts, diagnosis, and
treatment of dependent patients.  This bill establishes conditions under
which limited information may be released by a physician about a patient. 


As proposed, S.B. 208 establishes requirements relating to the disclosure
of limited information regarding certain patients of a physician to a
parent or guardian. 


This bill does not grant any additional rulemaking authority to a state
officer, institution, or agency. 


SECTION 1. Amends Sections 576.005, Health and Safety Code, by amending
Subsections (c) and (d) and adding Subsections (e)-(g), Health and Safety
Code, to prohibit disclosure under Subsection (b) if the patient gives
contrary written instructions to the treating physician, except as
provided in Subsection (d).  Authorizes a physician without regard to the
patient's written instructions to disclose information about the patient's
location to the patient's parent or guardian in identifying a patient.
Requires the physician to disclose to the legally authorized
representative (representative) only that the requested records exist and
that the patient is in the facility, if the physician has reason to
believe that disclosure to a representative under this section would be
harmful to the patient.  Requires the treating physician to inform the
representative of the physician's belief that the release of additional
information would be harmful to the patient.  Requires the physician to
report to the Department of Protective and Regulatory Services
(department) the representative's request for information and to request
that the department obtain a protective order on the patient's behalf.
Requires the court to determine what information should and should not be
disclosed and to issue any appropriate orders if a hearing on the motion
for a protective order is held.  Redefines "legally authorized
representative." Makes conforming changes. 

SECTION 2. Emergency clause.
  Effective date: upon passage.