3400, Confidentiality

Revision 22-2; Effective April 1, 2022

All contracting agencies must comply with the U.S. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) standards for protection of privacy.

Contractors must ensure that all employees and volunteers receive training about client confidentiality during orientation and understand that violation of the law regarding confidentiality may result in civil damages and criminal penalties. An HHSC FPP health care provider’s staff (paid and unpaid) must be informed during orientation of the importance of keeping client information confidential (1 Texas Administrative Code §382.125(c)). All employees, volunteers, subcontractors, board members and/or advisory board members must sign a confidentiality statement during orientation.

A contractor must document the individual’s preferred method of follow-up for clinic services (cell phone, email or work phone) and the individual’s preferred language. Each client must receive verbal assurance of confidentiality and an explanation of what confidentiality means (kept private and not shared without permission) and any applicable exceptions such as abuse reporting. 

Additionally, an HHSC FPP health care provider may not require consent for family planning services from the spouse of a married client (1 TAC §382.125).

For information specific to minors and confidentiality, refer to Responsibilities for Treatment of Minors within the Family Planning Program and Healthy Texas Women Program.