Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Texas Department of Health:

An Inventory of Commissioner of Health Records at the Texas State Archives, 1979-1991, 1998-2003, bulk 1979-1991



Overview

Creator: Texas. Dept. of Health.
Title: Commissioner of Health records
Dates: 1979-1991, 1998-2003
Dates: bulk 1979-1991
Abstract: The Texas Department of Health was the State of Texas' primary agency for public health planning, services, and regulation until it was abolished in 2004 and absorbed into the Texas Department of State Health Services. The Department of Health consisted of the Commissioner of Health, the administrative staff, and the chest hospitals at San Antonio and Harlingen. The Commissioner of Health had overall management duties and powers of the Department of Health and was assisted in oversight functions by deputy commissioners, assistant deputy commissioners, and associate commissioners. Records of the Commissioner of Health include correspondence, memos, committee reports, press releases, news clippings, resolutions, petitions, copies of legislation, speeches, and itineraries, dating 1979-1991, 1998-2003, bulk 1979-1991. Robert Bernstein, M.D. held the position of Commissioner of Health during the time period of the bulk of these records.
Quantity: 6.1 cubic ft.
Language: These materials are written in English.
Repository: Texas State Archives

Agency History

Until it was abolished in 2004 and absorbed into the Texas Department of State Health Services, the Texas Department of Health was the latest successor in a line of health-related state agencies: the Texas Quarantine Department (1879-1903), the Texas Department of Public Health and Vital Statistics (1903-1909), the Texas State Department of Health (1909-1975), and the Texas Department of Health Resources (1975-1977). The department became the State of Texas' primary agency for public health planning, services, and regulation.

The Texas Department of Health consisted of the Commissioner of Health, the administrative staff, and the chest hospitals at San Antonio and Harlingen. The Commissioner of Health was appointed every two years by the Texas Board of Health to be the administrative head of the Texas Department of Health and was required to be licensed to practice medicine in Texas. The commissioner was given overall management duties and powers of the Department of Health and was assisted in oversight functions by deputy commissioners, assistant deputy commissioners, and associate commissioners. By 1999, the Commissioner of Health headed an Executive Deputy Commissioner and four deputy commissioners. The deputy commissioners led Community Health and Prevention with six subsidiary bureaus; Health Care Financing with nine subsidiary bureaus; Public Health Sciences and Quality with ten subsidiary bureaus; and Administration which provided support services, legal services, and management and administrative services. Additionally, the Department was associated with the Texas Medical Disclosure Panel, the Texas Radiation Advisory Board, the Council of Sex Offender Treatment, the Toxic Substances Coordinating Committee, and the Health Professions Council.

During the course of the 20th century, the responsibilities of the Department continued to evolve from its original concern to isolate and prevent epidemic diseases such as cholera, smallpox, and typhoid fever. In 1903, the 28th Legislature, in Senate Substitute Bill 168, assigned to the Department the task of maintaining birth and death records and changed its name to the Texas Department of Public Health and Vital Statistics to reflect its new role. Six years later, in 1909, the name was changed again to the Texas State Department of Health, as growing concern over the safety and purity of food and water supplies resulted in new legislation at both the federal and state levels. The enforcement responsibilities were given to the public health agencies. During the Depression, new federal laws encouraged the states to provide limited kinds of medical and dental care for the poor. In 1946 the U.S. Hospital Survey and Construction Act began providing matching federal funds for hospital construction and renovation under the Hill-Burton program in coordination with state health agencies. Late in the century the Texas Department of Health developed a variety of disease-prevention programs. In 1975 (House Bill 2164, 64th Legislature, Regular Session), the Texas Health Planning and Development Act added the responsibility of overall planning of all health facilities and services in the state, and the State Department of Health became the Texas Department of Health Resources, governed by the Board of Health Resources. Their names were changed to the Texas Board of Health and the Texas Department of Health in 1977.

From 1991, the Department of Health acted under the budgetary oversight of the Health and Human Services Commission, which acted as an umbrella organization to integrate the strategic planning and budget request processes for the state's major health and human services agencies. By 2002, the agency had over 5500 employees and an annual budget in excess of $6 billion (including federal funds).

House Bill 2292 (78th Texas Legislature, Regular Session, 2003) merged twelve state health and human services agencies into five, officially abolishing the Texas Department of Health (effective September 1, 2004) and creating the new Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS). DSHS took over all of the "powers, duties, functions, programs, and activities" of the Department of Health. (In addition it assumed the duties of the Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, the Texas Health Care Information Council, and the mental health and state hospital operations formerly under the Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation.) The governing body is the DSHS Council, composed of nine members of the public appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the state senate. These nine members, representing all geographic areas of the state and reflecting the ethnic diversity of the state, "must have demonstrated an interest in and knowledge of problems and available services related to public health, mental health, or substance abuse." They serve staggered six-year terms.

(Sources include: Guide to Texas State Agencies, 11th edition (2001); the DSHS website, http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/, accessed October 2006; and the enabling legislation (1903, 1909, 1975, 1977, 2003).)


Scope and Contents of the Records

The Texas Department of Health was the State of Texas' primary agency for public health planning, services, and regulation until it was abolished in 2004 and absorbed into the Texas Department of State Health Services. The Department of Health consisted of the Commissioner of Health, the administrative staff, and the chest hospitals at San Antonio and Harlingen. The Commissioner of Health had overall management duties and powers of the Department of Health and was assisted in oversight functions by deputy commissioners, assistant deputy commissioners, and associate commissioners. Records of the Commissioner of Health include correspondence, memos, committee reports, press releases, news clippings, resolutions, petitions, copies of legislation, speeches, and itineraries, dating 1979-1991, 1998-2003, bulk 1979-1991. Robert Bernstein, M.D. held the position of Commissioner of Health during the time period of the bulk of these records.

Legislative correspondence with legislators, the Attorney General, the Lieutenant Governor, the Governor, other state officials, and U.S. Congressmen generally pertains to health-related legislation, projects or programs regulated by the Department of Health or addresses constituent or public health-related problems or concerns. Areas of concern include complaint investigations against nursing homes or hospitals, HIV/AIDS services, radioactive waste in sanitary landfills, asbestos abatement projects, lay midwifery regulations, delayed birth certificates, teenage pregnancy, abortion facility regulations, and licensing processes. The commissioner's outgoing correspondence is often attached to relevant incoming correspondence including constituent letters seeking help from legislators or congressmen. Program files contain some Associate and Deputy Commissioner files but consist primarily of bureau and division files of the Department of Health. Areas of concern addressed in the program files include AIDS; radon testing; childhood immunizations; Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) services; gun control; organ and tissue donation; environmental protection; and food and beverage labeling. Most of the speeches are those given by Commissioner Eduardo J. Sanchez, M.D., with a smaller number given by Executive Deputy Commissioner Charles Bell, M.D., Commissioner William R. Archer III, M.D., and others. Itineraries detail the activities of Commissioner Sanchez.

To prepare this inventory, the described materials were cursorily reviewed to delineate series, to confirm the accuracy of contents lists, to provide an estimate of dates covered, and to determine record types.


 

Organization of the Records

These records are organized by State Archives staff into four series:
Legislative correspondence, 1979-1991, 3 cubic ft.
Program files, 1981-1991, 2 cubic ft.
Speeches, 1998-2002, 1 cubic ft.
Itineraries, 2002-2003, 0.1 cubic ft.

Restrictions

Restrictions on Access

None.

Restrictions on Use

Most records created by Texas state agencies are not copyrighted and may be freely used in any way. State records also include materials received by, not created by, state agencies. Copyright remains with the creator. The researcher is responsible for complying with U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17 U.S.C.).

Technical Requirements

None.


Index Terms

The terms listed here were used to catalog the records. The terms can be used to find similar or related records.
Personal Names:
Bernstein, Robert.
Subjects:
AIDS (Disease)--Texas.
Children--Health and hygiene--Texas.
Hazardous substances--Health aspects--Texas.
Health facilities--Texas.
Health planning--Texas.
Health--Texas.
Public health--Texas.
Document Types:
Bills (legislative records)--Texas--Health--1979-1991.
Clippings--Texas--Health--1979-1991.
Correspondence--Texas--Health--1979-1991.
Itineraries--Texas--Health--2002-2003.
Memorandums--Texas--Health--1979-1991.
Press releases--Texas--Health--1979-1991.
Reports--Texas--Health--1979-1991.
Resolutions--Texas--Health--1979-1991.
Speeches--Texas--Health--1998-2002.
Functions:
Managing health services programs.

Related Material

The following materials are offered as possible sources of further information on the agencies and subjects covered by the records. The listing is not exhaustive.

Texas State Archives
Texas Department of Health, Commissioner of Health correspondence, 1976-1980, 1982-1987, 1994-2003, 5.9 cubic ft.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

(Identify the item and cite the series), Texas Department of Health Commissioner of Health records. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Accession numbers: 1995/103, 2005/108, 2006/205

These records were transferred to the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission by the Texas Department of Health on April 10, 1995; and by the Texas Department of State Health Services on February 14, 2005 and February 10, 2006.

Processing Information

Lisa M. Hendricks, May 1995

Rebecca Romanchuk, October 2006


Detailed Description of the Records

 

Legislative correspondence, 1979-1991,
3 cubic ft.

The Texas Department of Health was the State of Texas' primary agency for public health planning, services, and regulation until it was abolished in 2004 and absorbed into the Texas Department of State Health Services. The Department of Health consisted of the Commissioner of Health, the administrative staff, and the chest hospitals at San Antonio and Harlingen. The Commissioner of Health had overall management duties and powers of the Department of Health and was assisted in oversight functions by deputy commissioners, assistant deputy commissioners, and associate commissioners. Legislative correspondence, 1979-1991, is with legislators, the Attorney General, the Lieutenant Governor, the Governor, other state officials, and U.S. Congressmen. The correspondence generally pertains to health-related legislation, projects or programs regulated by the Department of Health or addresses constituent or public health-related problems or concerns. Areas of concern include complaint investigations against nursing homes or hospitals, HIV/AIDS services, radioactive waste in sanitary landfills, asbestos abatement projects, lay midwifery regulations, delayed birth certificates, teenage pregnancy, abortion facility regulations, and licensing processes. The commissioner's outgoing correspondence is often attached to relevant incoming correspondence including constituent letters seeking help from legislators or congressmen.
Arrangement
Records are in the order in which they arrived from the agency. Records within each folder appear to be in roughly reverse chronological order.
Preferred Citation
(Identify the item), Legislative correspondence, Texas Department of Health Commissioner of Health records. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
Accession Information
Accession number: 1995/103
These records were transferred to the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission by the Texas Department of Health on April 10, 1995.
Box
1995/103-1 Senator Chet Brooks, October 1986-1989
Representative Jerry Beauchamp, 1986-1991
Representative Weldon Betts, 1986-1988
Senator Kent A. Caperton, 1980-1990
Representative D. Barry Connelly, 1982-1991
Representative Lloyd Criss, 1982-1990
Representative Larry Q. Evans, 1983-1991
Representative Ron Givins, 1985-1987
Representative John Gavin, 1982-1990
Representative Orlando L. Garcia, 1981-1990
Representative Eldon D. Edge, Sr., 1984-1990
Representative Al Luna, 1983-1990
Representative L. B. Kubiak, 1982-1991
Representative Rick Perry, 1984-1990
Representative Jim Parker, 1982-1990
Senator Hugh Parmer, 1982-1990
Representative Brad Wright, 1981-1990
Representative Larry Warner, 1986-1990
Senator Craig Washington, 1980-1989
Representative Ed Watson, 1990
Representative Richard Waterfield, 1986-1990
Representative Tom Waldrop, 1982-1990
Representative Keith Valigura, 1985-1990
Representative Richard Smith, 1984-1990
Representative Terrell Smith, 1982-1990
Senator Hector Uribe, 1981-1990
Representative Hugh D. Shine, 1986-1990
Senator H. Tati Santiesteban, 1981-1990
Representative Phyllis Robinson, 1982-1990
Representative Bob Richardson, 1984-1990
Representative Anthony Polumbo, 1980-1991
Representative Alejandro Moreno, Jr., 1982-1990
Representative Bob Melton, 1984-1990
Representative Dan Morales, 1988-1990
Representative Mike McKinney, 1984-1990
Representative Jim McWilliams, 1981-1990
Senator Bob McFarland, 1982-1990
Representative Sam Johnson, 1984-1990
Representative Bill Hollowell, 1981-1990
Representative Juan Hinojosa, 1981-1990
Representative Dudley Harrison, 1982-1990
Representative Lena Guerrero, 1984-1990
Box
1995/103-2 U.S. Representative Steve Bartlett, 1982-1990
U.S. Senator Lloyd Bentsen, 1989-1990
U.S. Representative Jim Colbe, 1985
U.S. Representative Tony Coelho, 1985-1987
U.S. Senator Thomas F. Eagleton, 1982
U.S. Representative Tom Daschle, 1983
U.S. Representative Jim Chapman, 1985-1989
U.S. Representative Ronald Coleman, 1982-1988
U.S. Representative L.H. Fountain, 1982
U.S. Representative Sam B. Hall, Jr., 1980-1985
U.S. Representative J. Marvin Leath, 1981-1988
U.S. Representative Mickey Leland, 1979-1988
U.S. Representative Tom Loeffler, 1981-1986
U.S. Representative Stan Parris, 1985
U.S. Representative Claude Pepper, 1982-1987
U.S. Congressman Phil Gramm, 1980-1989
U.S. Representative E. (Kika) de la Garza, 1986-1989
U.S. Senator Chet Edwards, 1982-1989
U.S. Representative J.J. (Jake) Pickle, 1980-1989
U.S. Representative Gus Savage, 1983
U.S. Representative David Sweeney, 1985
U.S. Representative James C. Wright, Jr., 1979-1988
U.S. Representative Charles Wilson, 1979-1987
Box
1995/103-3 Senator Lloyd Bentsen, 1987-1989
[2 wallets]
Lieutenant Governor William P. Hobby, 1986-1990
Lieutenant Governor Hobby Correspondence, 1986
Comptroller of Public Accounts Bob Bullock, 1986-1990
Correspondence mailed to all Texas Legislators, 1985-1989
Attorney General, 1987-1988
Fees (correspondence and related material), 1985
Blue Book & Texas Legislative Services Information, 1980-1984
(Mrs. Rita) Mrs. William P. Clements, Jr. [empty]
Governor William P. Clements, 1987-1989



 

Program files, 1981-1991,
2 cubic ft.

The Texas Department of Health was the State of Texas' primary agency for public health planning, services, and regulation until it was abolished in 2004 and absorbed into the Texas Department of State Health Services. The Department of Health consisted of the Commissioner of Health, the administrative staff, and the chest hospitals at San Antonio and Harlingen. The Commissioner of Health had overall management duties and powers of the Department of Health and was assisted in oversight functions by deputy commissioners, assistant deputy commissioners, and associate commissioners. Program files, 1981-1991, contain some Associate and Deputy Commissioner files but consist primarily of bureau and division files of the Department of Health. Areas of concern addressed in the program files include AIDS; radon testing; childhood immunizations; Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) services; gun control; organ and tissue donation; environmental protection; and food and beverage labeling.
Arrangement
Records are in the order in which they arrived from the agency. Records in each folder appear to be in roughly reverse chronological order.
Preferred Citation
(Identify the item), Program files, Texas Department of Health Commissioner of Health records. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
Accession Information
Accession number: 1995/103
These records were transferred to the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission by the Texas Department of Health on April 10, 1995.
Box
1995/103-4 Office of General Counsel, 1989-1990
Deputy Commissioner for Professional Services, 1989
Public Health Promotion, 1989-1991
Bureau of State Health Data & Policy, 1989-1990
Associate Commissioner for Management, 1989-1990
Bureau of Personnel Management, 1989-1990
Fiscal Division, 1989-1990
Grants Management Division, 1989
Budget Division, 1990
Bureau of Support Services, 1989-1990
Materials Acquisition & Management Division, 1989-1990
Reprographics & Library Services Division, 1989
Associate Commissioner for Special Health Services, 1989-1990
Bureau of Long Term Care, 1989-1990
Bureau of Licensing and Certification, 1989-1991
Quality Assurance, 1989-1990
Bureau of Vital Statistics, 1989-1990
Vital Records Division [empty]
Statistical Services Division [empty]
Professional Licensing & Certification Division, 1989
Health Facility Licensure & Certification Division, 1989-1990
Licensing & Certification Division, 1990
Associate Commissioner for Personal Health Services, 1989-1990
Early Childhood Intervention File, 1981-1989
Bureau of Maternal & Child Health, 1989-1990
Bureau of Women, Infants & Children's Nutrition, 1989-1990
Bureau of Chronically Ill & Disabled Children's Services, 1989-1990
Box
1995/103-5 Pharmacy Division, 1989
Bureau of Disease Control & Epidemiology, 1989-1990
Epidemiology Division, 1989-1990
Tuberculosis Division, 1990
Injury Control Program, 1990-1991
Immunization Division, 1990-1991
HIV Division, 1989-1990
Bureau of Dental & Chronic Disease Prevention, 1989-1990
Dental Care Prevention & Administration Program, 1989
Chronic Disease Prevention Program:
1988-1989
1990
Kidney Health Program, 1989-1990
Bureau of Laboratories, 1990
Associate Commissioner for Environmental & Consumer Health Protection, 1989-1990
Bureau of Environmental Health, 1989-1990
Chemical Services Division [empty]
Infectious Disease Program, 1990
Bureau of Radiation Control, 1989-1990
Food & Drugs Division, 1989-1990
Milk & Dairy Products Division, 1989-1990
Product Safety Program, 1989
Shellfish Sanitation Control Division, 1989-1990
Occupational Safety & Health Division, 1989-1990
General Sanitation Division, 1989-1990
Water Hygiene Division, 1989-1990
Bureau of Veterinary Public Health, 1989
Zoonosis Control Division, 1989
Cooperative Meat Inspection Division, 1989
Associate Commissioner for Community & Rural Health, 1989-1990
Nutrition Services, 1989
Primary Care Program, 1989-1990
Hospital Care Division, 1990
South Texas Hospital, 1989
Bureau of Emergency Management, 1989-1991
Bureau of Community and Rural Health Administration, 1990
State Purchasing and General Services, 1987-1989
Solid Waste Management Division, 1989-1990



 

Speeches, 1998-2002,
1 cubic ft.

The Texas Department of Health was the State of Texas' primary agency for public health planning, services, and regulation until it was abolished in 2004 and absorbed into the Texas Department of State Health Services. The Department of Health consisted of the Commissioner of Health, the administrative staff, and the chest hospitals at San Antonio and Harlingen. The Commissioner of Health had overall management duties and powers of the Department of Health and was assisted in oversight functions by deputy commissioners, assistant deputy commissioners, and associate commissioners. Speeches, 1998-2002, are largely those given by Commissioner Eduardo J. Sanchez, M.D., with a smaller number given by Executive Deputy Commissioner Charles Bell, M.D., Commissioner William R. Archer III, M.D., and others. The speeches were given to meetings and conferences of health-related organizations and agencies (some coordinated by the Department of Health), other organizations (including public schools) with an interest in health issues or participating in health campaigns, and legislative hearings.
Arrangement
These records are arranged by the agency in roughly reverse chronological order.
Preferred Citation
(Identify the item), Speeches, Texas Department of Health Commissioner of Health records. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
Accession Information
Accession numbers: 2005/108, 2006/205
These records were transferred to the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission by the Texas Department of State Health Services on February 14, 2005 and February 10, 2006.
Box
2005/108-1 Speeches, 1999-2002
Box
2006/205-2 Speeches, 1998-2002



 

Itineraries, 2002-2003,
0.1 cubic ft.

The Texas Department of Health was the State of Texas' primary agency for public health planning, services, and regulation until it was abolished in 2004 and absorbed into the Texas Department of State Health Services. The Department of Health consisted of the Commissioner of Health, the administrative staff, and the chest hospitals at San Antonio and Harlingen. The Commissioner of Health had overall management duties and powers of the Department of Health and was assisted in oversight functions by deputy commissioners, assistant deputy commissioners, and associate commissioners. Itineraries, 2002-2003, detail the schedule of Commissioner Eduardo J. Sanchez, M.D.
Arrangement
These records are arranged by the agency in roughly chronological order.
Preferred Citation
(Identify the item), Itineraries, Texas Department of Health Commissioner of Health records. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
Accession Information
Accession number: 2006/205
These records were transferred to the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission by the Texas Department of State Health Services on February 10, 2006.
Box
2006/205-2 Intineraries, 2002-2003