Frank Madla
Texas State Senate District 19

March 19, 1998
Robert D. Crider, Jr. MS, MPA
Director, Immunization Division
1100 West 49th Street
Austin, TX 78756

RE: Proposed rules for H.B. 3054

Dear Mr. Crider:

Recently I received a letter from constituents in my district making me aware of the proposed rules for HB3054, which are currently in the Public Comment period. I have some strong concerns that these regulations to implement legislation for which I voted, do not include several consumer protections specified in the legislation regarding the privacy and rights of individuals.

I have consistently supported measures that increase immunizations, and I have also worked diligently to protect an individual's right to maintain privacy of their medical records. In this circumstance I find that the Department is using its broad interpretive powers in drafling rules without properly addressing issues which were central to my support of this legislation.

This registry is not intended to be a mandatory registry. We feel it is imperative that parents who have their child immunized and do not fill out an "opt-in" consent card are automatically not included in the registry. The registry should be compiled from consent cards submitted by parents who wish to participate. It is imperative that a parental consent card is on file with the Department of Health before the immunization records of a child are included on the registry.

In addition, I have strong concerns with language in 100.6, Data Quality Assurance. I have worked for 12 years to develop the laws which protect a patient's medical records while allowing legal counsel, medical professionals and governmental entities access to information they need to do their respective jobs. The language in this regulation, allowing the Department 'carte blanc' access to a patient's medical records, is not within the intent of HB3054 nor the series of legislation I have passed in relation to this area.

I appreciate your revisiting some of these very important issues. The correspondence I have received gives me every indication that, if your rules pass, as drafted, parents could ultimately be afraid to participate in the immunization process. If you have any questions or need any further information please feel free to contact me or my Legislative Assistant for Health and Human Services, Victoria Ford.

Your Truly

Frank Madla

Senator Judith Zaffirini, Chair, Health and Human Services Committee
Commissioner William Archer, M.D.