Law:Title 8. Death And Disposition Of The Body. Subtitle A. Death from Chapter 674. Fetal And Infant Mortality Review (Texas)

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Subtitle A. Death

Contents

Chapter 674. Fetal And Infant Mortality Review

Section 674.001.  Definitions.

In this chapter:

(1)  "Decedent" means:

(A)  a person for whom a fetal death certificate must be filed; or

(B)  a deceased infant.

(2)  "Fetal death certificate" means a death certificate filed for any fetus weighing 350 grams or more or, if the weight is unknown, a fetus age 20 weeks or more as calculated from the start date of the last normal menstrual period to the date of delivery.

(3)  "Health care provider" means any health care practitioner or facility that provides medical evaluation or treatment, including mental health evaluation or treatment.

(4)  "Infant" means a child younger than one year of age.

(5)  "Local health authority" means:

(A)  a municipal or county health authority;

(B)  a director of a local health department or public health district; or

(C)  a regional director of a public health region.

(6)  "Review" means a reexamination of information regarding a decedent from relevant agencies, professionals, health care providers, and the family of the decedent.

(7)  "Review team" means the fetal and infant mortality review team.

Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 488, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2007.



Section 674.002.  Review Team.

(a) A fetal and infant mortality review team may be established only:

(1)  by a local health authority or other local health official or by the Department of State Health Services; or

(2)  under a contract or in accordance with a memorandum of agreement with a local health authority or other local health official or the Department of State Health Services.

(b)  Local health authorities or other local health officials for two or more adjacent counties or municipalities may join to establish a joint review team.

(c)  A review team must be composed of culturally diverse members representing multiple disciplines, including professionals and representatives of agencies that provide services or community resources for families in the community and community representatives.  The review team may include:

(1)  a physician, including a pediatrician, an obstetrician, or a physician practicing in another relevant specialty;

(2)  a registered nurse;

(3)  a certified nurse-midwife or licensed midwife;

(4)  a county attorney or a designee of a county attorney;

(5)  a representative of a school district;

(6)  a representative of the local health department;

(7)  a forensic pathologist;

(8)  a mental health professional;

(9)  a representative from a local hospital;

(10)  a local registrar of births and deaths;

(11)  a person working in a supervisory position in local administration of the state Medicaid program;

(12)  a person working with local implementation of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children;

(13)  an educator;

(14)  a pastoral counselor;

(15)  a member of the health committee of a chamber of commerce; and

(16)  other community representatives.

(d)  Members of a review team may select additional members according to the resources of the review team and its needs.

(e)  The review team shall select a presiding officer from its members.

(f)  A local health authority or other local health official or the Department of State Health Services is not required to establish a review team for a particular municipality or county.

Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 488, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2007.



Section 674.003.  Purpose And Powers And Duties Of Review Team.

(a) The purpose of a review team is to:

(1)  improve the health and well-being of women, infants, and families;

(2)  reduce racial disparities in the rates of and the overall rates of fetal and infant mortality;

(3)  facilitate the operations of the review team and train review team members on the review team process; and

(4)  develop and deliver reports of findings to the community.

(b)  For a death or fetal death subject to review, the review team shall collect information relating to the death of the decedent, including medical, dental, and mental health care records or information, autopsy reports, social services records, and other pertinent records related to the decedent and the family of the decedent.

(c)  Before review at a meeting of the review team, the names and addresses of the decedent and the decedent's family and the name and address of each health care provider that provided services to the decedent or decedent's family shall be removed from information collected under Subsection (b).  A summary of the information, with the identifying information described by this subsection removed, shall be prepared for consideration of the review team.

(d)  The review team shall:

(1)  compile statistics of fetal and infant mortality;

(2)  analyze the causes of fetal and infant mortality; and

(3)  recommend measures to decrease fetal and infant mortality to a community action team formed for this purpose or to state or local governmental officials or other appropriate members of the community.

Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 488, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2007.



Section 674.004.  Governmental Unit.

A review team is a governmental unit for purposes of Chapter 101, Civil Practice and Remedies Code.  A review team is a unit of local government under that chapter.

Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 488, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2007.



Section 674.005.  Meetings.

(a) Meetings of a review team are closed to the public and are not subject to Chapter 551, Government Code.

(b)  A member of a review team participating in the review of a death or fetal death, and any person employed by or acting in an advisory capacity to the review team and who provides counsel or services to the review team, are immune from civil or criminal liability arising from information presented in a review team meeting or recommendations resulting from the meeting.

Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 488, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2007.



Section 674.006.  Disclosure Of Information To Review Team.

(a) A review team may request information regarding a decedent or the decedent's family as necessary to carry out the review team's purpose and duties, including any information described by Section 674.003(b).

(b)  On the request of the review team, a health care provider or other custodian of the requested information shall provide the information to the review team.  The information shall be provided without the authorization of the decedent's parent, guardian, or other representative.

(c)  A health care provider or other person who provides information to a review team is not subject to a civil action for damages or other relief as a result of having provided the information.  This subsection does not apply if the information provided was false and the health care provider or other person knew or had reason to know that the information was false.

Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 488, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2007.



Section 674.007.  Confidentiality Of Records; Privilege.

(a) Information is confidential for purposes of this chapter if the disclosure of the information would compromise the privacy of the decedent or the decedent's family.  Confidential information includes any information pertaining to the decedent's death.

(b)  Confidential information that is acquired by the review team and that permits the identification of an individual or health care provider is privileged and may not be disclosed to any person except to the extent necessary to carry out the purposes of the review team.  Information that may not be disclosed under this subsection includes:

(1)  names and addresses of the decedent or the decedent's family;

(2)  services received by the decedent or the decedent's family;

(3)  the social and economic condition of the decedent or the decedent's family;

(4)  medical, dental, and mental health care information related to the decedent or the decedent's family, including diagnoses, conditions, diseases, or disability; and

(5)  the identity of health care providers that provided services to the decedent or the decedent's family.

(c)  Review team work product and information obtained by a review team, including files, records, reports, records of proceedings, recommendations, meeting notes, records of interviews, statements, and memoranda, are confidential and are not subject to disclosure under Chapter 552, Government Code.  This subsection does not prevent a review team from releasing information described by Subsection (d) or (e).

(d)  Information is not confidential under this section if the information is general information that cannot be connected with any specific individual, case, or health care provider, such as:

(1)  total expenditures made for specified purposes;

(2)  the number of families served by particular health care providers or agencies;

(3)  aggregated data on social and economic conditions;

(4)  medical data and information related to health care services that do not include any identifying information relating to a decedent or the decedent's family; and

(5)  other statistical information.

(e)  A review team may publish statistical studies and research reports based on information that is confidential under this section, provided that the information published may not identify a decedent or the decedent's family and may not include any information that could be used to identify a decedent or the decedent's family.

(f)  A review team shall adopt and follow practices and procedures to ensure that information that is confidential under this section is not disclosed in violation of this section.

Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 488, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2007.



Section 674.008.  Immunity From Subpoena And Discovery.

(a) Review team work product and information obtained by a review team, including files, records, reports, records of proceedings, recommendations, meeting notes, records of interviews, statements, and memoranda, are privileged, are not subject to subpoena or discovery, and may not be introduced into evidence in any civil or criminal proceeding against a member of the family of a decedent or a health care provider.

(b)  A document or other information that is otherwise available from another source is not protected from subpoena, discovery, or introduction into evidence under Subsection (a) solely because the document or other information was presented during a meeting of a review team or because a record of the document or other information is maintained by the review team.

Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 488, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2007.



Section 674.009.  Unauthorized Disclosure By Review Team Member; Offense.

(a) A person commits an offense if the person is a member of a review team and the person knowingly:

(1)  discloses confidential information in violation of Section 674.007; or

(2)  inspects confidential information without authority granted in accordance with procedures established by the review team.

(b)  An offense under Subsection (a) is a Class A misdemeanor.

Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 488, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2007.



Section 674.010.  Immunity.

A member of a review team is not liable for damages to a person for an action taken or a recommendation made within the scope of the functions of the review team if the member acts without malice and in the reasonable belief that the action or recommendation is warranted by the facts known to the review team member.

Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 488, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2007.



Section 674.011.  Inapplicability Of Chapter.

This chapter does not apply to disclosure of records pertaining to voluntary or therapeutic termination of pregnancy, and those records may not be disclosed under this chapter.

Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 488, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2007.


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