Letter of Legislative Intent

The Senate of
The State of Texas
Austin, Texas 78711
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:

Thank you for taking the time to meet with our staff regarding the implementation of House Bill 3054, relating to the Statewide Immunization Registry. It is our understanding the meeting was informative and you are willing to work to address the concerns raised.

You know that we are both committed to the ultimate goal of H.B. 3054-- the increase of childhood immunizations. However, we may be divergent on the means to reach this goal. While you have broad interpretive powers in drafting rules, we sincerely hope you will revisit the following issues which we feel are central to our legislative intent in the amendment to H.B. 3054.

Perhaps the most important issue is whether or not this is a mandatory or voluntary 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. The registry should be compiled from consent cards submitted by parents who wish to participate. Those parents that later change their mind about participation should have an "opt-out" consent removal card to withdraw consent.

It is important that a parental consent card be on file with the Department of Health before the immunization records of a child are included on the registry. All parties seem to agree that these consent or consent removal cards must be postage paid cards.

Next, access to the registry must be clarified as to exactly what providers will have available to them, and the purposes for which that information can be used. It is our understanding that broad language relating to the ability of the department to search medical records will be narrowed to allow the department to examine records only for immunization information

Finally, while the need for a "blocking" database of parents who wish to remove consent may be necessary, it is crucial that this database consist only of sufficient identifying information and not medical or other records.

Thank you for your cooperation on this issue. Please do not hesitate to call or contact us if you have any comments or questions.


Jerry Patterson
State Senator, District 11

Chris Harris
State Senator, District 10

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