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RULE §559.237Procedures for Inspection of Public Records
Texas Register

(a) Procedures for inspection of public records will be in accordance with the Texas Government Code, Chapter 552, and as further described in this section.

(b) The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) Regulatory Services Division is responsible for the maintenance and release of records on licensed facilities, and other related records.

(c) The application for inspection of public records is subject to the following criteria.

  (1) The application must be made to HHSC Long-term Care Regulation, Regulatory Services Division, Mail Code E-349, P.O. Box 149030, Austin, Texas 78714-9030;

  (2) The requester must identify themselves.

  (3) The requester must give reasonable prior notice of the time for inspection or copying of records.

  (4) The requester must specify the records requested.

  (5) On written applications, if HHSC is unable to ascertain the records being requested, HHSC may return the written application to the requester for clarification.

  (6) HHSC will provide the requested records as soon as possible; however, if the records are in active use, or in storage, or time is needed for proper de-identification or preparation of the records for inspection, HHSC will so advise the requester and set an hour and date within a reasonable time when the records will be available.

(d) Original records may be inspected or copied, but in no instance will original records be removed from HHSC offices.

(e) Records maintained by HHSC Regulatory Services Division are open to the public, with the following exceptions.

  (1) Incomplete reports, audits, evaluations, and investigations made of, for, or by HHSC are confidential.

  (2) All reports, records, and working papers used or developed by HHSC in and investigation of reports of abuse and neglect are confidential and may be released to the public as provided in §559.95 of this chapter (relating to confidentiality).

  (3) All names and related personal, medical, or other identifying information about an individual are confidential.

  (4) Information about any identifiable person that is defamatory or an invasion of privacy is confidential.

  (5) Information identifying complainants or informants is confidential.

  (6) Itineraries of surveys are confidential.

  (7) Other information that is excepted from release by Texas Government Code, Chapter 552, is not available to the public.

  (8) To implement this subsection, HHSC may not alter or de-identify original records. Instead, HHSC will make available for public review or release only a properly de-identified copy of the original record.

(f) HHSC will charge for copies of records upon request.

  (1) If the requester simply wants to inspect records, the requester will specify the records to be inspected. HHSC will make no charge for this service, unless HHSC determines a charge is appropriate based on the nature of the request.

  (2) If the requester wants copies of a record, the requester will specify in writing the records to be copied on an appropriate HHSC form, and HHSC will complete the form by specifying the cost of the records, which the requester must pay in advance. Checks and other instruments of payment must be made payable to the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.

  (3) Any expenses for standard-size copies incurred in the reproduction, preparation, or retrieval of records must be borne by the requester on a cost basis in accordance with costs established by the Office of the Attorney General or HHSC for office machine copies.

  (4) For documents that are mailed, HHSC will charge for the postage at the time it charges for the production. All applicable sales taxes will be added to the cost of copying records.

  (5) When a request involves more than one long-term care facility, each facility will be considered a separate request.

Source Note: The provisions of this §559.237 adopted to be effective January 1, 2023, 47 TexReg 8709

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