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May 14, 1999

Ms. Mary Barrow Nichols
Legal Assistant
Texas Workers' Compensation Insurance Fund
221 W. 6th Street, Suite 300
Austin, Texas 78701-3403

OR99-1340

Dear Ms. Nichols:

You ask whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID# 123403.

The Texas Worker's Compensation Insurance Fund (the "Fund") received a request for a copy of a study done by the Fund regarding Commission for Accreditation Rehabilitation Facilities pain management programs. You submitted to this office for review the requested study, which you contend is excepted from disclosure under sections 552.101 and 552.104 of the Government Code. Section 552.101 of the Government Code excepts from disclosure information made confidential by law. You assert that section 2 of article 5.76-3 of the Insurance Code operates in conjunction with section 552.101 to protect the study from disclosure. Section 2(b) of article 5.76-3 provides:

Except as otherwise provided by this subsection, the fund is subject to the open meetings law, Chapter 551, Government Code, and the open records law, Chapter 552, Government Code. The board may hold closed meetings to consider and refuse to release information relating to claims, rates, the fund's underwriting guidelines, and other information that would give advantage to competitors or bidders.

You state that the study "includes the different methodologies and calculations formulated by Fund staff in order to arrive at a fair and reasonable amount of reimbursement for the bills submitted to the Fund by the chronic pain management programs used by the Fund." You also state that "[t]he release of the Fund's internal study would be the release of 'information relating to claims, rates, the fund's underwriting guidelines, and other information that would give advantage to the Fund's competitors.'" After reviewing the records at issue and the Fund's arguments against disclosure, we agree that the requested study may be withheld under section 2(b) of article 5.76-3 of the Insurance Code.(1)

We are resolving this matter with an 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 should not be relied upon as a previous determination regarding any other records. If you have questions about this ruling, please contact our office.



Sincerely,

June B. Harden
Assistant Attorney General
Open Records Division

JBH/ch

Ref: ID# 123403

encl. Submitted documents

cc: Ms. Linda Ham
Attorney at Law
P.O. Box 832463
Richardson, Texas 75083-2463
(w/o enclosures)


 

Footnotes

1. As we conclude that the study is protected from disclosure by section 2(b), we need not address your other claimed exception.
 

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