Seattle Children’s Hospital sues Texas Attorney General over trans patient records

I have three things to say about this.

A crook any way you look

Seattle Children’s Hospital has sued the Texas Office of the Attorney General to block the release of patient information after the agency sent the Washington-based health care system an investigative subpoena demanding any patient records of Texas residents who have received transition-related care.

The hospital system filed a petition in the Travis County District Court on Dec. 7, requesting the court dismiss a subpoena from the attorney general’s office, or alternatively issue an extension of and modification to the list of requested documents.

The attorney general’s civil investigative demand came more than two months after a new Texas law went into effect that bans the use of puberty blockers and hormone therapy for transgender youth. Suspecting that Seattle Children’s was providing youth in Texas with puberty blockers or hormone therapy, the attorney general’s office sent the hospital system a subpoena on Nov. 17, demanding the responsive documents by Dec. 7.

The AG’s office stated in court filings that it was investigating the hospital for potentially violating the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

A sworn affidavit from a hospital administrator included in the lawsuit stated that no clinical staff for Seattle Children’s provide gender-affirming care in Texas, or do so remotely from outside of the state.

The discovery tool issued by Attorney General Ken Paxton is the latest effort by his office to scrutinize the lives of transgender Texans and their families. Over the last several years, Republicans in Texas have sought to restrict transgender youth from accessing transition-related care, playing on sports teams that align with their gender and using certain public restrooms. Doctors and advocates argue gender-affirming care is lifesaving for transgender youth who face higher rates of suicide attempts and mental health problems than their cisgender peers.

It’s not clear how many other hospital systems across the country, if any, received similar subpoenas from Paxton’s office. The Attorney General’s Office did not respond to questions about the subpoena and lawsuit.

Seattle Children’s Hospital argued that producing the information would violate federal and state health care privacy laws. The hospital’s lawsuit also pointed to Washington’s new “Shield Law” passed earlier this year, which prevents entities based in the northwest state from complying “with a subpoena, warrant, court order, or other civil or criminal legal process for records … related to protected health care services that are lawful in the state of Washington.”

It is legal to prescribe gender-affirming care, including puberty blockers, hormone therapy and transition-related surgery — which are rarely performed on minors — in Washington.

Additionally, the hospital argued that the Texas attorney general’s office does not have jurisdiction over the Washington-based hospital system, where the email and health record systems both reside.

“Furthermore, the Demands are an unconstitutional attempt to investigate and chill potential travel by Texas residents to obtain healthcare in another state,” the petition stated.

1. This is another reason why I could not be a lawyer. I would not be able to respond to that subpoena without telling Paxton to go fuck himself. I understand judges frown on that sort of thing.

2. They’re chasing and harassing trans kids now, they’ll be doing the same with women who leave the state to get abortions next. The ultimate goal is a complete national ban. The next time Republicans have a national trifecta, they’ll go for it. We have a lot of work to do.

3. I really need to learn some deep breathing techniques so I don’t blow out my blood pressure when I read stories like this.

I will of course keep an eye on this. KXAN has more.

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One Response to Seattle Children’s Hospital sues Texas Attorney General over trans patient records

  1. Flypusher says:

    How is this not the biggest HIPPA violation ever?

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