maternal mortality - texas

Ben Hudson filed this request with the Texas Department of State Health Services of Texas.
Tracking # OR2017-26349
Status
Rejected

Communications

From: Ben Hudson

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the Texas Public Information Act, I hereby request the following records:

Any communication, electronic or otherwise, internal studies, memos, or directives relating to the increase in maternal mortality rates as described here (https://www.texasobserver.org/texas-worst-maternal-mortality-rate-developed-world-lawmakers-priorities/), here (http://hppr.org/post/texas-maternal-mortality-rate-remains-highest-developed-world-what-s-being-done) and other various media outlets.

The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes.

In the event that there are fees, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 10 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Ben Hudson

From: Castillo,Mary (Open Records) (DSHS)

Mr. Hudson,

Thank you for your request. At this time we are seeking clarification. Are you seeking any and all documents including confidential or do you agree to the redacting of information that we find to fall within an exception of the Public Information Act without seeking an Attorney General (AG) ruling? If you choose the any and all option we may seek an AG ruling.

We are also seeking clarification regarding the extent of your request. One of the news articles referenced in your request mentions the state task force, can you confirm that you are intending to direct this request only to the Maternal Morbidity and Mortality Task Force? Also, is there a specific date range you are seeking?
While we require clarification of your request in order to proceed we did perform a preliminary search to be able to provide you with an idea of how voluminous the request is. A search was performed for emails from 1/1/2012 forward containing the term "maternal mortality and morbidity" alone resulted in 31,666 items. There is also an estimated 95,568 pages of case record information and task force forms for the year 2012 alone.

The Public Information Act allows the Department to charge for the labor and overhead needed to comply with your request. Before we send you a cost estimate, in addition to the items we specifically requested clarification on would you like to provide any additional clarification that would narrow the scope of your request?

Please note if you do not respond by 61 days from today, your request for public information will be considered withdrawn by operation of law.

Thank you,
Mary Castillo
Public Information Coordinator
DSHS|Office of General Counsel
(512) 776-3835

**Please add the PIR number to the subject line of all emails and send responses to openrecords@dshs.texas.gov<mailto:openrecords@dshs.texas.gov>.**

From: Ben Hudson

Mary,

I am willing to agree to redaction to avoid an AG ruling, yes.

As an initial request, I am directing this to the Task Force, though I may follow up with a broader request at a later date. I would like the time frame limited to the years 2010-2012.

Thank you,

Ben Hudson

From: DSHS OpenRecords

Mr. Hudson,

Thank you for providing clarification. Based on your clarification DSHS does not have documents responsive to your request. The task force was formed in 2013 so cases for the year 2012 were obtained for review.

The case records and task force forms which we mentioned in our previous email were 2012 cases and the only documents that we have for 2012. No earlier documents exist because the task force wasn't formed until 2013. The 2012 case records are confidential under Health and Safety Code Section 34.009. Since you have agreed that we may withhold the confidential information we have withheld those documents and no additional documents exist for the time frame you specified. Based on the information provided above your current request is considered closed.

Reports, presentations, and other materials do exist but came into existence after the task force had been formed; therefore, they are not responsive to the time frame you seek. Should you decide to submit a subsequent request; please specify the time period for which you are requesting a search for records and advise if you are seeking confidential or publicly available records in order to expedite the process. Please note should you advise that you are seeking confidential information and it is found to exist, we will request a ruling from the Attorney General.

Please contact us in the future if we may be of assistance.

Thank you,

Mary Castillo
Public Information Coordinator
DSHS|Office of General Counsel
(512) 776-3835

**Please add the PIR number to the subject line of all emails and send responses to openrecords@dshs.texas.gov<mailto:openrecords@dshs.texas.gov>.**

From: Ben Hudson

Mary,

I would like to amend my request to seek an AG ruling regarding the release of the 2012 information you referred to in your response. Please let me know if this response is sufficient to make that request.

Thank you!

Ben Hudson

From: DSHS OpenRecords

Mr. Hudson,

Your request has been received. We will provide you with a copy of our request for ruling once submitted to the AG.

Thank you,

Mary Castillo
Public Information Coordinator
DSHS|Office of General Counsel
(512) 776-3835

**Please add the PIR number to the subject line of all emails and send responses to openrecords@dshs.texas.gov<mailto:openrecords@dshs.texas.gov>.**

From: DSHS OpenRecords

Mr. Hudson,

Attached is your copy of our request for ruling. I will provide you with a copy of the brief once submitted.

Thank you,

Mary Castillo
Public Information Coordinator
DSHS|Office of General Counsel
(512) 776-3835

**Please add the PIR number to the subject line of all emails and send responses to openrecords@dshs.texas.gov<mailto:openrecords@dshs.texas.gov>.**

From: Castillo,Mary (Open Records) (HHSC/DSHS)

Mr. Hudson,

Attached is your copy of the brief we submitted to the Attorney General. We will be in contact once we receive a ruling.

Thank you,

Mary Castillo
Public Information Coordinator
DSHS|Office of General Counsel
(512) 776-3835

**Please add the PIR number to the subject line of all emails and send responses to openrecords@dshs.texas.gov<mailto:openrecords@dshs.texas.gov>.**

From: Castillo,Mary (Open Records) (HHSC/DSHS)

Mr. Hudson,

Thank you for your inquiry. We are currently awaiting a ruling from the Attorney General (AG). Our brief was submitted to the AG on September 18th and it can take up to 45 business days for a ruling to be issued. Once we receive a ruling from the AG we will notify you.

Please let me know if I may be of further assistance.

Thank you,

Mary Castillo
Public Information Coordinator
DSHS|Office of General Counsel
(512) 776-3835

**Please add the PIR number to the subject line of all emails and send responses to openrecords@dshs.texas.gov<mailto:openrecords@dshs.texas.gov>.**

From: Texas Department of State Health Services

Mr. Hudson,

Thank you for your inquiry. We are still awaiting a ruling from the Attorney General (AG). Once we receive a ruling from the AG we will notify you.

Please let me know if I may be of further assistance.

Thank you,

Mary Castillo
Public Information Coordinator
DSHS|Office of General Counsel
(512) 776-3835

**Please add the PIR number to the subject line of all emails and send responses to openrecords@dshs.texas.gov<mailto:openrecords@dshs.texas.gov>.**

From: Texas Department of State Health Services

Mr. Hudson,

Thank you for your inquiry. We are still awaiting a ruling from the Attorney General (AG). Once we receive a ruling from the AG we will notify you.

Please let me know if I may be of further assistance.

Thank you,

Mary Castillo
Public Information Coordinator
DSHS|Office of General Counsel
(512) 776-3835

**Please add the PIR number to the subject line of all emails and send responses to openrecords@dshs.texas.gov<mailto:openrecords@dshs.texas.gov>.**

From: Texas Department of State Health Services

The request has been rejected by the agency.

From: Texas Department of State Health Services

Mr. Hudson,

Your copy of the Attorney General (AG) ruling is attached. The responsive documents are confidential under Health and Safety Code 34.009 and have been withheld in accordance with Government Code 552.101 and the attached AG ruling.

Your request is now closed. Please contact us in the future if we may be of assistance.

Thank you,

Mary Castillo
Public Information Coordinator
DSHS|Office of General Counsel
(512) 776-3835

**Please add the PIR number to the subject line of all emails and send responses to openrecords@dshs.texas.gov<mailto:openrecords@dshs.texas.gov>.**

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