Policy Number: 132

Handling Requests for Public Information

Subject:

Public information requests

Scope:

Employees

Date Reviewed: March 2014

Responsible Office: Office of Legal Affairs

Responsible Executive: Vice President and Chief Legal Officer

I.     POLICY AND GENERAL STATEMENT

As an agency of the State of Texas, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (“university”) must make available certain information to the public and to members of the university community under the Texas Public Information Act (“TPIA”) upon written request.

The university’s Public Information Officer is the Executive Vice President, Chief Operating and Financial Officer. The Public Information Officer or designee has exclusive authority for coordinating responses to requests for public information under the TPIA and in accordance with UT System Policy 139 Texas Public Information Act.

Note: Several university policies affect the handling of certain types of requests for information. For example, HOOP Policy 147 Handling Legal Processes contains more information regarding handling specific legal requests such as subpoenas; HOOP Policy 181 Records Management Program discusses responsibilities for maintaining records; and information regarding requests for news stories and other public relations material is found in HOOP Policy 5 Handling Communications with the Media. Requests for medical records or medical information must be handled in accordance with the university's privacy policies and HOOP 206 Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information.

II.     DEFINITIONS

Public Information: Information collected, assembled or maintained by the university in the course of its official business, unless the information falls within one or more exceptions to disclosure under the TPIA.

III.     PROCEDURE

A. Obtaining Public Information

Individuals or entities that wish to request access to public information held by the university must send a written request to the Public Information Officer or as otherwise described on the university’s website.

B. Requests for Public Information Received by Employees

Any employee who receives a request for records or information shall immediately forward it to the Office of Legal Affairs ("Legal Affairs") via fax, electronic mail or courier. Once the information has been forwarded, the original recipient of the request must follow-up with a telephone call to Legal Affairs. If an oral request is received, the requesting party should be directed to address the request in writing to the Public Information Officer, via e-mail at tpia@uth.tmc.edu or by fax at (713) 500-3275. If the request is received via e-mail, the recipient of the e-mail should reply notifying the requestor that requests for public information sent via email must be sent to tpia@uth.tmc.edu.

C. Responding to Public Information Requests

The Public Information Officer or his/her designee has the exclusive authority to release public information requested under the TPIA. Departments in possession of documents responsive to a public information request must provide information as directed by the Public Information Officer or designee.

IV.     CONTACTS

ContactTelephoneEmail/Web Address
Office of Legal Affairs 713-500-3268

https://inside.uthouston.edu/legal/contact-us.htm

legal@uth.tmc.edu