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Privacy Policy

The Public Information Act

 

The material and content contained in this website is for general health information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Users of this website should not rely exclusively on information provided in this website for their own health needs. All specific medical questions should be presented to your own health care provider.

M. D. Anderson makes no warranties or representations, express or implied, as to the accuracy or completeness, timeliness or usefulness of any opinions, advice, services or other information contained or referenced in this website. M. D. Anderson does not assume any risk for your use of this website. Users of this website should be aware that information about health care changes constantly; since this website is only updated periodically, it may not contain the most recent information. M. D. Anderson reserves the right to update or change information contained in this website at any time. M. D. Anderson is not responsible for information appearing at hyperlinks. The use of this website does not create a physician-patient relationship and does not obligate M. D. Anderson to follow-up or contact users of this website.

In consideration for your use of and access to this website, you agree that in no event will M. D. Anderson or any other party involved in creating, producing or delivering this website or any site linked to this website, be liable to you in any manner whatsoever for any decision made or action or non-action taken by you in reliance upon the information provided through this website.

 

Privacy Policy

This is how we handle the information we learn from you when you visit The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center web site (www.mdanderson.org). The information we receive depends on what you do during your visit.

Web Server
Our web server collects and stores the following general information about you:

  • the name of the domain from which you access the Internet (for example, aol.com, if you are connecting from an America Online account);
  • the date and time you access our service;
  • the pages you visit;
  • the Internet address of the web site from which you linked directly to us.
  • the name and release number of web browser software you are using.

This information is collected automatically and is not linked to your personal identity. It is used in an aggregate way to help us improve our web site and make it more useful to you. We do not use cookies to collect information.

 

Online Forms & Email Communication
We do not obtain personal information (e.g. name, address, e-mail address, etc.) about you when you visit the M. D. Anderson web site unless you choose voluntarily to provide such information to us.

If you identify yourself by sending an e-mail, by using a form like "Contact Us," or by registering to receive information from us, there are a few things you should know.

  • Various people at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center may see the material you submit.
  • We may enter the information you send into our electronic database, to share with our physicians, other health care professionals, researchers, or our Internet services staff.
  • In other limited circumstances, including requests from legal authorities, we may be required by law to disclose information you submit.

You should note that electronic mail and other Internet communications channels are not necessarily secure against interception. While we take precautions, such as encrypting communications where appropriate, if your communication is very sensitive, or includes information like your diagnosis or medical history, you might want to send it by postal mail instead.

Message Boards
Our patient message boards collect and store the following information about you:

  • First Name, Last Name & Email Address
  • Posted Messages
  • The date and time you access the board

Patient communications on the message boards are not private and can be seen by a community of cancer discussion participants. Message boards offer a chance for patients to share concerns and ideas they have about cancer and its impact on their lives.

Under no circumstances will we ever disclose (to a third party) personal information about individual medical conditions or interests, except when we believe in good faith that the law requires it.

With few exceptions, you are entitled on your request to be informed about the information M. D. Anderson Cancer Center collects about you.  Under Sections 552.021 and 552.023 of the Texas Government Code, you are entitled to receive and review the information. Under Section 559.004 of the Texas Government Code, you are entitled to have M. D. Anderson Cancer Center correct information about you that is held by us and that is incorrect, in accordance with the procedures set forth in The University of Texas System Business Procedures Memorandum 32.  The information that M. D. Anderson Cancer Center collects will be retained and maintained as required by Texas records retention laws (Section 441.180 et seq. of the Texas Government Code) and rules.  Different types of information are kept for different periods of time.

From time to time, this web site may provide links to other useful or interesting web sites that are not owned or controlled by M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. We cannot be responsible for the content or privacy practices used by other web site owners.

You may contact us with any questions or comments about our privacy policy.

 

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The Public Information Act

Texas Government Code, Chapter 552, gives you the right to access government records, and an officer for public information and the officer's agent may not ask why you want them. All government information is presumed to be available to the public. Certain exceptions may apply to the disclosure of the information. Governmental bodies shall promptly release requested information that is not confidential by law or information for which an exception to disclosure has not been sought.

Rights of Requestors
You have the right to:

  • Prompt access to information that is not confidential or otherwise protected;
  • Receive treatment equal to all other requestors, including accommodation in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements;
  • Receive certain kinds of information without exceptions, like the voting record of public officials, and other information;
  • Receive a statement of estimated charges, when charges exceed $40, in advance of work being started and opportunity to modify the request in response to the itemized statement;
  • Choose whether to inspect the requested information (most often at no charge), receive copies of the information or both;
  • A waiver or reduction of charges if the governmental body determines that access to the information primarily benefits the general public;
  • Receive a copy of the communication from the governmental body asking the Office of the Attorney General for a ruling on whether the information can be withheld under one of the accepted exceptions, or if the communication discloses the requested information, a redacted copy;
  • Lodge a written complaint about charges for public records with the General Services Commission. Complaints of other possible violations may be filed with the county or district attorney of the county where the governmental body, other than a state agency is located. If the complaint is against the county or district attorney, the complaint must be filed with the Office of the Attorney General.

Responsibilities of Governmental Bodies

  • All governmental bodies responding to information requests have the responsibility to:
  • Establish reasonable procedures for inspecting or copying public information and inform requestors of these procedures;
  • Treat all requestors uniformly and shall give to the requestor all reasonable comfort and facility, including accommodation in accordance with ADA requirements;
  • Be informed about open records laws and educate employees on the requirements of those laws;
  • Inform requestors of the estimated charges greater than $40 and any changes in the estimates above 20 percent of the original estimate, and confirm that the requestor accepts the charges, or has amended the request, in writing before finalizing the request;
  • Inform the requestor if the information cannot be provided promptly and establish a date and time to provide it within a reasonable time;
  • Request a ruling from the Office of the Attorney General regarding any information the governmental body wishes to withhold, and send a copy of the request for ruling, or a redacted copy, to the requestor;
  • Segregate public information from information that might be withheld and provide that public information promptly;
  • Make a good faith effort to inform third parties when their proprietary information is being requested from the governmental body;
  • Respond in writing to all written communications from the General Services Commission regarding charges for the information. Respond to the Office of the Attorney General regarding complaints about violations of the Act.

Procedures to Obtain Information

  • Submit a request by mail, fax, email or in person according to a governmental body's reasonable procedures.
  • Include enough description and detail about the information requested to enable the governmental body to accurately identify and locate the information requested.
  • Cooperate with the governmental body's reasonable efforts to clarify the type or amount of information requested.

A. Information to be released

  • You may review it promptly, and if it cannot be produced within 10 working days the public information officer will notify you in writing of the reasonable date and time when it will be available.
  • Keep all appointments to inspect records and to pick up copies. Failure to keep appointments may result in losing the opportunity to inspect the information at the time requested.

B. Information that may be withheld due to an exception

  • By the 10th business day after a governmental body receives your written request, a governmental body must:
    1. request an Attorney General opinion and state which exceptions apply;
    2. notify the requestor of the referral to the Attorney General; and
    3. notify third parties if the request involves their proprietary information.
  • Failure to request an Attorney General opinion and notify the requestor within 10 business days will result in a presumption that the information is open unless there is a compelling reason to withhold it.
  • Requestors may send a letter to the Attorney General arguing for release, and may review arguments made by the governmental body. If the arguments disclose the requested information, the requestor may obtain a redacted copy.
  • The Attorney General must issue an opinion no later than the 45th working day from the day after the attorney general received the request for a decision. The attorney general may request an additional 10 working day extension.
  • Governmental bodies may not ask the Attorney General to "reconsider" an opinion.

Cost of Records

  • You must respond to any written estimate of charges within 10 days of the date the governmental body sent it or the request is considered automatically withdrawn.
  • If estimated costs exceed $100.00 (or $50.00 if a governmental body has fewer than 16 full time employees) the governmental body may require a bond, prepayment or deposit.
  • You may ask the governmental body to determine whether providing the information primarily benefits the general public, resulting in a waiver or reduction of charges.
  • Make a timely payment for all mutually agreed charges. A governmental body can demand payment of overdue balances exceeding $100.00, or obtain a security deposit, before processing additional requests from you.

To request information from this governmental body, please contact: Michael J. Best

You may send your request

By mail to: 1515 Holcombe Blvd, Box 194, Houston, TX 77030 By e-mail to: mbest@mdanderson.org By fax to: 713-794-4566 In person at: HMB8.070

For complaints regarding failure to release public information, please contact your local County or District Attorney at Harris County District Attorney's Office (713) 755-5101.

  • You may also contact the Office of the Attorney General, Open Records Hotline, at 512-478-6736 or toll-free at 1-877-673-6839.
  • For complaints regarding overcharges, please contact the General Services Commission at 512-475-2497.

If you need special accommodation pursuant to the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), please contact our ADA Coordinator, James P. Dorn, 713-792-5075.

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2002 The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
1515 Holcombe Blvd, Houston, TX 77030
1-800-392-1611 (USA) / 1-713-792-6161