1996 Texas Attorney General Reports and Opinions 1 (1996)

handle is hein.sag/sagtx0064 and id is 1 raw text is: DAN MORALES

Office of the Attornep general
6tate of Mexao
January 11, 1996

Honorable Mike Driscoll
County Attorney
Harris County
1001 Preston, Suite 634
Houston, Texas 77002-1891

Letter Opinion No. 96-0001
Re: Whether a hospital district may charge
retrieval and copying fees for health care
information in accordance with the new
section 241.154(b) of the Health and Safety
Code when those fees exceed the charges
established  by  the  General  Services
Commission pursuant to section 552.262 of
the Government Code (ID# 38086, formerly
ID# 35941)

Dear Mr. Driscoll:
You have requested an opinion from this office regarding the charges a county
hospital district may assess for the retrieval and copying of hospital records, and whether
a statutory conflict exists between section 241.154(b) of the Health and Safety Code and
section 552.262(a) of the Government Code.'
The Seventy-fourth Legislature enacted a provision addressing the charges that a
governmental body may assess for copies of public information. This new provision
addressing charges provides in part the following, [t]he rules adopted by the General
Services Commission shall be used by each governmental body in determining charges
for copies of public information, except to the extent that other law provides for charges
for specific kinds ofpublic information. Act of May 29, 1995, 74th Leg., R.S., ch. 1035,
 17, 1995 Tex. Sess. Law Serv. 5127, 5136 (to be codified at Gov't Code  552.262(a),
effective September 1, 1995) (hereinafter section 552.262(a)) (emphasis added).
Iln your letter to this office, you state that hospital records are confidential pursuant to the Texas
Medical Practice Act, TEx. REv. Civ. STAT. ANN. art. 4495b,  5.08, the release of these records is
governed by the Open Records Act, because they are maintained, as required by law, by a governmental
body. Initially, we note that the disclosure of hospital records was recently addressed by the Seventy-
fourth Legislature. See Act of May 29, 1995, 74th Leg., R.S., ch. 856,  1, I1, 1995 Tex. Sess. Law Serv.
4290, 4291-93, 4297. Secondly, we note that the Texas Medical Practice Act governs the release of
medical records rather than chapter 552 of the Government Code. See Open Records Decision No. 598

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