The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration today released a proposed rule that would amend federal regulations regarding disclosure of patient information for individuals seeking treatment for substance use disorders. Among several proposed changes, the agency provides clarification on what types of records are subject to restrictions under the law known as 42 CFR Part 2, and would allow more entities to provide and get information from prescription drug monitoring programs. HIPAA regulations permit the responsible sharing of patients’ health records for treatment, payment and health care operations. But 42 CFR Part 2 requires SUD treatment records to be treated differently – maintained in a separate record. The AHA has long held that 42 CFR Part 2 places unnecessary barriers that impede sharing of vital patient information and puts patients in treatment for SUD at risk. 

“From saving lives and reversing overdoses 24 hours a day in emergency departments to providing substance use disorder treatment to connecting patients with recovery resources in communities, America’s hospitals and health systems work to combat the opioid epidemic on a daily basis,” said AHA Executive Vice President Tom Nickels. “We commend the administration for taking steps to improve safety for patients seeking substance use disorder treatment. In particular, we appreciate the support for data reporting in prescription drug monitoring programs, with patient consent, and the clarification of the role primary care physicians can play in coordinating treatment. We urge Congress to further this progress by enacting legislation to align requirements for information sharing for the treatment of substance use disorder with HIPAA.”

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