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TITLE 25HEALTH SERVICES
PART 1DEPARTMENT OF STATE HEALTH SERVICES
CHAPTER 99OCCUPATIONAL DISEASES
RULE §99.1General Provisions

(a) Purpose. This section implements the Texas Occupational Conditions Reporting Act, Health and Safety Code, Chapter 84, which authorizes the Executive Commissioner of the Health and Human Services Commission to adopt rules concerning the reporting and control of occupational conditions.

(b) Definitions. The following words and terms, when used in these sections, shall have the following meanings unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.

  (1) Case--A person in whom an occupational condition is diagnosed by a physician or other health professional acting within the scope of the professional license, based upon clinical evaluation, interpretation of laboratory and/or roentgenographic findings, and an appropriate occupational history.

  (2) Commissioner--The commissioner of health.

  (3) Department--The Department of State Health Services, 1100 West 49th Street, Austin, Texas 78756.

  (4) Local health authority--The chief administrative officer of a public health district or a local health department, or the physician who is to administer state and local laws relating to public health.

  (5) Occupational conditions--Those diseases, abnormal health conditions or laboratory findings that are caused by or are related to exposures in the workplace.

  (6) Reportable occupational condition--Any occupational disease, condition or laboratory finding for which an official report is required. See subsection (d) of this section.

  (7) Report of occupational condition--The notification to the appropriate authority of the occurrence of a specific occupational disease in a human, including all information required by the procedures established by this rule.

  (8) Suspected case--A case in which an occupational condition is suspected, but the final diagnosis is not yet made.

(c) Reporting requirements.

  (1) It is the duty of every physician or health professional holding a license to practice in the State of Texas to report promptly to the local health authority each patient she or he shall examine and who has or is suspected of having any reportable occupational condition. The local health authority may authorize a staff member to transmit reports.

  (2) It is the duty of every person who is in charge of a clinical or hospital laboratory, blood bank, mobile unit, or other facility in which a laboratory examination of any specimen derived from a human body yields microscopical, cultural, serological, chemical, or other evidence suggestive of a reportable condition to report promptly that information to the local health authority.

  (3) The reporting physician, health professional, or laboratory director shall make the report in writing. A local health authority may authorize one or more employees under his or her supervision to receive the report from the physician, health professional, or laboratory director by telephone; use of this alternative, if authorized, is at the option of the reporter. The local health authority shall implement a method of verifying the identity of the telephone caller when that person is unfamiliar to the employee.

  (4) The local health authority shall collect the reports and transmit the information at weekly intervals to the Environmental and Injury Epidemiology and Toxicology Unit, Environmental Epidemiology and Disease Registries Section, Department of State Health Services, Mail Code 1964, P.O. Box 149347, Austin, Texas, 78714-9347. Transmission may be made by mail or electronic transfer.

    (A) If by mail the reports shall be placed in a sealed envelope addressed to the attention of the Environmental and Injury Epidemiology and Toxicology Unit, Environmental Epidemiology and Disease Registries Section, Department of State Health Services, Mail Code 1964, P.O. Box 149347, Austin, Texas, 78714-9347, and marked "Confidential Medical Records."

    (B) If by electronic transmission, including facsimile transmission by telephone, it shall be in a manner and form authorized by the commissioner or his or her designee in each instance. Any electronic transmission of the reports must provide at least the same degree of protection against unauthorized disclosure as those of mail transmission. The commissioner or his or her designee shall, before authorizing such transmission, establish guidelines for establishing and conducting such transmission.

  (5) When an occupational condition is reported to a local health authority, and the person diagnosed as having the condition resides outside his or her area of local health jurisdiction, the local health authority receiving the report shall notify the appropriate local health authority where the person or persons reside. The department shall assist the local health authority in providing such notifications if requested.

(d) Reportable conditions and information to be reported.

  (1) The reportable occupational conditions are: asbestosis, silicosis, blood lead levels in persons 15 years of age or older, and acute pesticide poisoning.

  (2) Reports for asbestosis and silicosis shall include all information collected by the reporting person and required to complete the most recent version of the department's Asbestosis and Silicosis Case Report Form F09-11626.

  (3) Reports for blood lead levels in persons 15 years of age and older shall include all information collected by the reporting person and required to complete the most recent version of the department's Adult Blood Lead Report Form F09-11624.

  (4) Reports for acute pesticide poisoning shall include all information collected by the reporting person and required to complete the most recent version of the department's Pesticide Poisoning Report Form EF09-11927.

(e) General control measures for reportable occupational conditions. The commissioner or his or her duly authorized representative shall, as circumstances may require, proceed as follows:

  (1) investigation shall be made for the purpose of verifying the diagnosis, ascertaining the source of the causative agent, obtaining an occupational and employment history and discovering unreported cases;

  (2) collection of specimens of the body tissues, fluids, or discharges and of materials directly or indirectly associated with the case, as may be necessary in confirmation of the diagnosis, and their submission to a laboratory for examination;

  (3) obtaining samples of air or materials from the current or former business or place of employment of a case, as may be necessary to ascertain if a public health hazard exists. If a hazard is found the commissioner or his/her designee shall make appropriate recommendations concerning the hazard.

(f) Confidential nature of case reporting.

  (1) All case reports received by the local health authority or the Department of State Health Services are confidential records and not public records. These records will be held in a secure location and accessed only by authorized personnel.

  (2) The department may use information obtained from reports or health records for statistical and epidemiological studies which may be public information as long as an individual is not identifiable.


Source Note: The provisions of this §99.1 adopted to be effective October 11, 1985, 10 TexReg 3766; amended to be effective March 1, 1998, 23 TexReg 1581; amended to be effective May 23, 2002, 27 TexReg 4357; amended to be effective April 24, 2003, 28 TexReg 3333; amended to be effective October 25, 2007, 32 TexReg 7469; amended to be effective August 7, 2012, 37 TexReg 5787

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