Senator Jeff Wentworth
Senate District 25

The Senate of
The State of Texas

March 18, 1998

Mr. Robert D. Crider, Jr.
Director, Immunization Division
Texas Department of Health
1100 West 49th Street
Austin, Texas 78756

Dear Mr. Crider:

VIA FAX: 458-7624

 

RE: PROPOSED RULES FOR STATEWIDE
IMMUNIZATION REGISTRY

I strongly urge the Board of Health to adopt rules that make it as easy for parents to deny consent for inclusion in the immunization registry as it is for parents to consent to inclusion in the immunization registry.

 

That was certainly my intent when I voted for Senator Patterson's floor amendment to House Bill 3054.

I urge the Board to consider the following amendments to the proposed rules to accomplish that goal:

100.2 inclusion of information and Confidentiality

(a) (in last sentence, addition in bold:) "The department shall prepare appropriate forms to obtain or to deny consent, and on request furnish them to providers."

(4) (b) "The Bureau of Vital Statistics will provide the option for parents to consent to or to decline inclusion in the registry on the birth certificate. If consent is given, consent will be valid for life unless the parent, managing conservator or guardian notifies the department that consent is withdrawn."

100.3 Providers, Health Plans, and Insurance Companies

(b) "A provider shall inform each parent managing conservator, or guardian of each patient about the registry in writing, and provide them with an opportunity to consent to or decline the inclusion of information in the registry."

I would also like to add that 100.5 (c), which states that providers will forward to the department parental requests that their child's immunization data not be reported to the registry appears to conflict with 100.2 (a)(4), which places the burden of notifying the department onto the parents. The bill passed by the Texas Legislature inclusion no extra effort in order for parents to decline inclusion.

100.5 (f) appears to mandate ("...providcrs must report the following information....") far more information than House Bill 3054 required. For example, I do not believe that the bill called for the collection of children's social security numbers or mothers' maiden names. This type of information would appear to add to the fears of those who are concerned with the right to privacy.

Thank you for this opportunity to express my concerns about the proposed rules.

Sincerely,
Jeff Wentworth

 JW/cb

Edited:
  01/16/99