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[YOUR NAME]
[YOUR ADDRESS]

[DATE]

The Honorable [YOUR SENATOR'S NAME]
Box 12068
Austin, TX 78711-2068

Dear Senator [YOUR SENATOR'S NAME],

Please OPPOSE HB 1921 on the immunization tracking registry unless it is amended to correct 3 outstanding problems that violate my parental and medical privacy rights I have guaranteed  under the current law.

PROBLEM 1:  HB 1921 allows TDH to collect my child's private immunization record from my child's private doctor and insurance company without my consent by deleting the requirement in current law that requires my consent before TDH obtains any immunization information on my child. I do not want TDH to have access to my child's private medical immunization record.
[See HB 1921 SECTION 4. amending subsection (c) of Section 161.008 of the Health and Safety Code]

c)  The department[, only with the consent of a child's parent, managing conservator, or guardian,] may[:[(1)]  obtain the data constituting an immunization record for a [the] child from a public health district, a local health department, the child's parent, managing conservator, or guardian, a physician to the child, a payor, or any health care provider licensed or otherwise authorized to administer vaccines. 

SOLUTION 1: Amend HB 1921 to reinstate the parental consent requirement guaranteed in current law and deleted in HB 1921 SECTION 4 subsection (c) of Section 161.008 of the Health and Safety Code.

PROBLEM 2:  HB 1921 requires my private doctor and my private insurance companies to dump my child's private immunization record to TDH without my parental consent and against my will while the current law along with decades of medical privacy laws in Texas requires my consent before my minor child's record is released.  I do not want my child's record released to TDH period. Parents who don't want their child's record sent to TDH have no way to stop it. Current technology makes it simple to prevent records from ever being sent to TDH if my doctor or insurance company don't have my consent - there is no reason to violate my child's medical privacy rights.
[See HB 1921 SECTION 2. amending subsections (c) and (d) of Sections 161.007 of the   Health and Safety Code]

c) A payor that receives data elements from a health care provider who administers [An insurance company, a health maintenance organization, or another organization that pays or reimburses a claim for] an immunization to [of] a person younger than 18 years of age shall provide the data elements to the department...
(d) A health care provider who administers an immunization to a person younger than 18 years of age shall provide data elements regarding an immunization [history] to the department...

SOLUTION 2: Amend HB 1921 to insert the phrase "only if the parent, managing conservator or guardian has consented to the child's information being released to the department for registry purposes"  both after the words "shall provide the data elements to the department" in the language that amends subsection (c), and after the phrase "shall provide data elements regarding an immunization to the department" in the language that amends subsection (d) of Section 161.007, Health and Safety Code in Section 2 of the bill.

PROBLEM 3:  HB 1921 allows TDH to retain non-individually identifiable information about my child and identifiable information on my child's doctor even though I would never give consent for TDH to track my child or for my doctor or insurance company to release information about my child to TDH.  This is wrong.  The current law does not permit TDH to get or keep ANY immunization information on any child (individually identifiable or not) unless the parent consents to both release of the data to the department and for inclusion in the registry.  Since HB 1921 authorizes a data dump of my child's records without my consent, and it has language that specifies that TDH may not retain individually identifiable information, that is giving TDH implicit permission to keep all the data on my child even as long as they remove their name even if I never gave any consent.. I am opposed to this government monitoring of my child. It could still lead to harassment and discrimination of communities of children unvaccinated with certain vaccines by choice for medical or religious reasons.  It could also lead to penalties or harassment of my doctor for respecting my parental rights to chose when and with what my child is vaccinated.
[See HB 1921 SECTION 2. amending subsections (b), (c) and (d) of Section 161.007 of the Health and Safety Code, SECTION 3. amending Chapter 161 of the Health and Safety Code by adding Sections 161.0071 (b), and SECTION 4. amending subsection (c) of Section 161.008 of the Health and Safety Code]

SECTION 2.  Section 161.007, Health and Safety Code
(b)  ... The department may not retain individually identifiable information about any person for whom consent has been withdrawn.
(c)  ...The department may not retain individually identifiable information about a person for whom consent cannot be verified.
(d)  The department may not retain individually identifiable information about a person for whom consent cannot be verified.
SECTION 3 Subchapter A, Chapter 161.0071
(b)  On discovering that consent to be included in the registry has not been granted, the department shall exclude the child's immunization records from the registry and any other registry-related department record that individually identifies the child.

SECTION 4
Section 161.008, Health and Safety Code
(c)...The department may not retain individually identifiable information about a person for whom consent cannot be verified.
 

SOLUTION 3:  Delete the words "individually identifiable" after the word "retain" and insert the phrase, "obtained by the department for registry purposes" after the word "information" from the new language amended to  subsections (b), (c), and (d) of Section 161.007 Health and Safety Code in Section 2 of the bill and from the new language amended to subsection (c) of 161.008 Health and Safety Code in Section 4 of the bill .  Delete the words "that individually identifies the child" in the language that amends subsection (b) of Section 161.0071 of the Health and Safety Code in Section 3 of the bill.  By making these changes, it guarantees that the department will only keep information on those who want their records to be released to the department for immunization registry purposes.

As the parent of my child, it should be my right, as protected in current law, to control who has access to my child's private medical record.  If these three problems are not corrected, I urge you to PLEASE OPPOSE HB 1921.  Thank you.   

Sincerely,
[YOUR NAME]

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April 5, 2008

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