Texas Children's Hospital: Harris County Attorney releases statement on unauthorized release of information
HOUSTON - Harris County Attorney Christian Menefee is calling for swift and appropriate action in response to children's medical records from Texas Children's Hospital being illicit released.
According to a release, the information was released to an individual not affiliated with the hospital.
Menefee said the records were published by The Manhattan Institute, a conservative think tank, and relate to children receiving gender-affirming care.
In a statement, Menefee said:
"This illicit release of medical records puts children and their families at risk, and swift action must be taken to ensure that this does not happen again. I have spoken with representatives at Texas Children’s Hospital and understand that the hospital will fully investigate how this happened and notify all impacted families if their information was released. I expect they will fully disclose what they find to the United States Department of Health and Human Services. If a hospital employee leaked these medical records, they must be fired. If it was a hospital vendor, their contract must be terminated.
It shouldn’t be lost on anyone that this happened as the Texas Legislature pushes bills to ban trans kids from receiving gender-affirming care, and elected officials in Austin push disturbing and false talking points that demonize LGBTQ+ families. If you care about Texas kids, you should be appalled that someone would be illicitly disclosing their medical records.
The Attorney General has used this violation of the personal information of minors to launch a legally baseless investigation, erroneously claiming that providing gender-affirming care violates Texas law. He is wrong. If providing this type of care for children were currently illegal, we wouldn’t see Republican legislators spending all their waking hours trying to pass SB14, which bans gender-affirming care."
Unauthorized disclosures of medical records may violate the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, commonly known as HIPAA. The United States Department of Health and Human Services may investigate potential violations and issue penalties.
Also in a statement to FOX 26, a Texas Children's Hospital spokesperson said,
"At Texas Children’s Hospital, our mission is to provide high-quality care for all patients. Throughout the policy debate surrounding gender medicine, our healthcare professionals have always and will continue to prioritize the care of our patients within the bounds of the law."
The statements come after Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced an investigation into Texas Children's Hospital to determine if they are actively engaging in illegal behavior and performing "gender transitioning" procedures on children.
"I’ve been clear that any ‘gender transitioning’ procedures that hurt our children constitute child abuse under Texas law," said Attorney General Paxton. "Recent reports indicate that Texas Children’s Hospital may be unlawfully performing such procedures, and my office it is working to uncover the truth. I am committed to investigating any entity in our state to ensure that our children are protected. Though many unhinged activists compromising the healthcare field think otherwise, children are not to be treated as science experiments. Doctors and hospitals should not be pushing mutilative and irreversible ‘gender transitioning’ procedures that will negatively impact innocent children for the rest of their lives."
Click here to read the request to examine issued by Paxton.