Policy Number: 181
Records Management Program
I. POLICY AND GENERAL STATEMENT
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston ("university") recognizes the need for orderly management and retrieval of all records and information; and an approved records retention and destruction schedule congruent with all state and federal laws and related regulations. All records (paper, microform, electronic, or any other media) will be retained for the minimum periods stated in the Records Retention Schedule approved by UT System, the Texas State Library and Archives Commission and the Texas State Auditor's Office in compliance with Texas Government Code, Chapter 441. After the specified period of time, records must be disposed of in a manner that is consistent with, and systematically carried out in accordance with, prescribed records and information management guidelines and procedures.
The Chief Information Officer ("CIO") is the official custodian of all university records. As such, s/he is responsible for ensuring that the university is in compliance with all relevant legislation. The CIO delegates to the records management officer in Records Management the responsibility to establish and maintain the records management program and to department heads the responsibility to protect and efficiently maintain their departmental records in accordance with the university's Records Retention Schedule.
Records are those that include, but are not limited, to (1) documentation of student academic performance, (2) documentation of patient health care, (3) documentation of research activities, or (4) documentation of the administration of policy and expenditures in accordance with state, local, and federal requirements.
Any record created or received at the university is the property of the university and is to be maintained in accordance with policies and procedures of the records management program. The Records Retention Schedule, which is the basis for the records management program, supersedes any and all policies pertaining to records retention and disposition.
Duplicate files, duplicate copies, library materials, and stocks of obsolete forms or pamphlets originally intended for distribution are not considered to be official records or record copies. Duplicates or nonrecord convenience copies should be destroyed when they cease to be useful and should never be kept longer than the official record copy.
Vital records are identified in the records retention schedule and protected in accordance with Texas Government Code, Chapter 441. State law defines a vital record as any record necessary to the resumption or continuation of state agency operations in an emergency or disaster, the recreation of the legal and financial status of the agency, or the protection and fulfillment of obligation to the people of the state.
Archival records are identified in the records retention schedule and maintained in accordance with Texas Government Code, Chapter 441. An archival record is any record that is retained permanently for lasting historical value and may be used for research and reference by university offices and the general public. Archival or historical records are to be preserved in the archives of the institution.
A. Records Retention Schedule
The Records Retention Schedule is prepared and maintained by the records management officer. The schedule is a list of record series classified by departments on campus and prescribes the retention period, open or confidential status and vital and/or archival status of each record. The schedule is revised periodically by the records management officer to include newly created record series, to change retention periods, or to delete a record series no longer used. Appropriate approval procedures must be followed and completed before any revision would become effective.
All records are to be kept for the minimum periods listed in the records retention schedule. Notwithstanding such minimum retention periods, all records must be maintained until all required audits are completed and should be retained beyond the listed retention periods when there is a probability of litigation either involving records or requiring their use.
Records kept only in electronic format are identified in the records retention schedule and must comply with the administrative rules of the Texas State Library, 13 Texas Administrative Code, Sections 6.91 - 6.97. The university must ensure that the accuracy, completeness, and accessibility of information are not lost prior to its authorized destruction date by migrating electronic storage media and taking other action as required to provide compatibility with current hardware and software.
B. Destruction of Records
No records may be destroyed without permission from the Texas State Library as outlined in Texas Government Code Section 441. The Texas State Library has two established methods for obtaining legal authority to destroy records. Procedures differ for records listed on the records retention schedule and any records not listed. Contact the records management officer in Records Management for the proper method to use.
Records or media (such as disks, tapes, hard drives) containing social security numbers shall be discarded in a way that protects the confidentiality of the social security number, such as shredding, reformatting, erasing, or otherwise modifying the material to make it unreadable or indecipherable.
C. Release of Records
Records deemed as public information under the Texas Public Information Act may be released in accordance with HOOP Policy 132 Handling Requests for Public Information.