John J. Carona
State Senator

 March 23, 1998

Via Fax

Robert D. Crider, Jr., M.S., M.P.A.
Director, Immunization Division
Texas Department of Health
1100 West 49th Street
Austin, TX 78756

Dear Mr. Crider:

I am writing to express my concerns about the Texas Department of Health's proposed rules to implement H.B. 3054, legislation passed by the 1997 Texas Legislature which establishes an immunization registry.

Throughout the debate in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, of which I am a member, and in the full Senate, the clear intent of legislators in voting to establish an immunization registry was to ensure that information obtained by the Texas Department of Health would be confidential and could be collected and released only with the written consent of the child's parent.

The proposed rules to implement H.B. 3054 allow consent to be assumed in some cases and include such wording as "Providers shall attempt to obtain written consent" and "The department shall take precautions". In addition, the proposed rules seem to provide for the re-release of registry information without an additional parental consent and place the burden on parents to notify the Health Department if they do not wish to have their children partcipate in the registry. I do not believe that these proposed rules reflect the clear intent of the Legislature to protect parental rights and family privacy.

I urge the Texas Department of Health to reconsider the proposed rules for H.B. 3054 and preserve the rights of parents as intended by the Texas Legislature


John Carona