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John Cornyn
  Corpus Christi

June 9, 1999

Ms. Lisa Aguilar
Assistant City Attorney
City of Corpus Christi
P.O. Box 9277
Corpus Christi, Texas 78469-9277


Dear Ms. Aguilar:

You have asked whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under the Public Information Act, chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID# 126628.

The City of Corpus Christi (the "city") received a request for "the names, ages, nature of illness, gender and occupation of any person transported to any hospital or medical facility in connection with the explosion and fire at the Coastal Refining and Marketing on May 13." You state that the city released the age, nature of injury, gender, and occupation of each person, but has withheld the identities of the individuals. You assert that the identities are confidential pursuant to section 773.091 of the Health and Safety Code (the Emergency Medical Services Act), which provides in part:

    (b) Records of the identity, evaluation or treatment of a patient by emergency medical services personnel or by a physician providing medical supervision that are created by the emergency medical services personnel or physician or maintained by an emergency medical services provider are confidential and privileged and may not be disclosed except as provided by this chapter.

    . . . .

    (g) The privilege of confidentiality under this section does not extend to information regarding the presence, nature of injury or illness, age, sex, occupation, and city of residence of a patient who is receiving emergency medical services. . . .

Section 773.091(b) protects from disclosure the emergency medical service records to the extent that they supply information as to the identity, evaluation, or treatment of patients, except for the information specifically listed as not confidential in section 773.091(g). See Open Records Decision No. 598 (1991). We thus agree that you must maintain as confidential the names and any other identifying information about the people who received emergency medical services.

We are resolving this matter with this informal letter ruling rather than with a published open records decision. This ruling is limited to the particular records at issue under the facts presented to us in this request and may not be relied upon as a previous determination regarding any other records. If you have questions about this ruling, please contact our office.


Ruth H. Soucy
Assistant Attorney General
Open Records Division


Ref.: ID# 126628

Encl. Submitted document

cc: Mr. Dan Parker
Corpus Christi Caller-Times
P.O. Box 8136
Corpus Christi, Texas 78469
(w/o enclosures)


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