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Relating to the disclosure in certain judicial proceedings of confidential communications between a physician and a patient.
No fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.
SB 1733 would add two new subsections to Section 159.002 (Confidential Communications) of the Occupations Code. Specifically, this legislation would allow a physician to disclose the confidential health records and communications of a patient if the disclosure is related to a judicial proceeding concerning the patient. SB 1733 would require a subpoena in order to obtain this confidential information under certain provisions of Texas statutes. Moreover, a physician would not need prior authorization from the patient to disclose the information under subpoena.
According to the author’s statement of intent, “currently, the Occupations Code is ambiguous as to when a physician’s office is required to release medical records under a court subpoena or order when the patient is not a party to the case.”
SB 1733 would provide clarity for physician offices and would bring this clarity in line with current Health and Safety Code standards. If a patient is a party to a case then the physician may disclose his or her patient’s confidential information. If a patient is not a party to the case, the physician does not disclose the confidential information unless the court orders it.
We support SB 1733 because it supports our limited government principle by adding clarity to existing law.