Office of House Bill AnalysisS.B. 285
By: Nelson
Public Health


Cancer is the second leading cause of death among Americans.   The American
Cancer Society (ACS) estimates that in 2001 1,268,000 new cancer cases will
be diagnosed in the United States, including 78,900 in Texas.  ACS also
estimates that 553,400 cancer deaths will occur in the United States,
including 34,400 in Texas.  Increased funding and a better reporting system
could help prevent and control cancer. Texas could be eligible to receive
federal funding  from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention under
the National Program of Cancer Registries if the state had a systematic
method of reporting cancer cases.  Senate Bill 285 authorizes the Texas
Department of Health to access certain medical records from a health care
facility, clinical laboratory, or health care practitioner. 


It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that rulemaking
authority is expressly delegated to the Texas Board of Health in SECTION 4
(Section 82.009, Health and Safety Code) of this bill. 


Senate Bill 285 amends the Health and Safety Code to include healthcare
practitioners in the reporting requirements of the Texas Cancer Incidence
Reporting Act (TCIRA).  The bill authorizes the Texas Department of Health
(TDH) to access the medical records of a health care facility, clinical
laboratory, or health care practitioner (health entity).  The bill deletes
the requirement for  the Texas Board of Health (board) to pay a reasonable
compensation amount to a health entity for the cost of collecting or
furnishing cancer data.  The bill requires the board to adopt procedures
that ensure adequate notice is given to the health entity before TDH
accesses data.  The bill requires a health entity  to reimburse TDH or its
authorized representative for costs of  accessing and reporting data the
health entity failed to furnish. The bill authorizes TDH to assess a late
fee on an account that is 60 days or more overdue and prohibits the late
fee from exceeding one and one-half percent of the total amount due on the
late account for each month or portion of a month the account is not paid
in full (Sec. 82.008). 

The bill establishes the confidentiality of the reports, records, and
information obtained under TCIRA.  The bill authorizes medical or
epidemiological information to be released under certain conditions.  The
bill prohibits a state employee from testifying in proceeding regarding the
existence or contents of  records, reports, or information concerning an
individual without prior consent of the individual (Sec. 82.009).   


September 1, 2001.