Medical Records Privacy Laws in General
Both federal and state laws protect the privacy of patients' medical records, which are considered confidential. Texas medical records laws are not that different than the laws of other states, in that personally identifiable medical information may only be viewed by physicians and other authorized individuals. However, the state of Texas requires the reporting of gunshot wounds, certain occupational diseases, and some communicable diseases to the proper authorities.
Sharing Medical Records and Providing Authorization
While Texas law protects patients' medical records from unauthorized eyes, there are numerous instances where these records must be shared with third parties. For example, anyone filing a claim a workers' compensation claim (for injuries sustained on the job) must have their employer fill out a detailed injury report and send it to the insurer. In fact, this is a legal requirement.
If your healthcare provider releases medical records without proper authorization, they may be held liable for a confidentiality breach. In order to share these records with third parties, the patient must sign a written request indicating exactly where the copy may be sent.
Learn about the main provisions of Texas medical records laws in the table below. See What Can I Do After an Improper Disclosure of My Medical Records? to find out more.
|Who Has Access to Records?||Medical information identifiable as to individuals is to be kept confidential and information used for studies is privileged (Health & Safety §161.022)|
|What Privileges Apply to Medical Records?||Physician (Occ. §159.002)|
|Mandatory Reporting Requirements||Bullet or gunshot wounds (Health & Safety §161.041); certain occupational diseases (Health & Safety §84.003); certain communicable diseases (Health & Safety §81.041)|
|Patient Consent and Waiver||No section.|
|Insurance Companies||No section.|
|Provisions Related to HIV/AIDS||Public safety workers may require persons tested for HIV if there has been exposure; generally HIV tests are confidential (Health & Safety §81.050, et seq.)|
Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a Texas health care attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Research the Law: These resources can give you a start to find out even more about patient privacy and medical records in Texas.
Texas Medical Records Laws: Related Resources
Contact a qualified attorney.