HHS Proposes the Removal of Some Addiction Treatment Privacy Restrictions

Today, HHS announced proposed changes to the regulations that govern the confidentiality of patient records created by federally-assisted substance use disorder treatment programs. The most notable change would enable primary care doctors to note substance use disorder treatment history in regular patient records. This would facilitate better coordination with behavioral health providers.

From HHS: “The proposed rule modifies several sections of 42 CFR Part 2 to encourage care coordination among providers, including updating the definition of what constitutes a Part 2 record and its applicability. This is designed to give providers clarity about what is, or should be, protected by Part 2 and to ensure non-Part 2 providers are not discouraged from caring for SUD patients or recording SUD information due to onerous legal requirements. The rule also clarifies that personal devices not used by a Part 2 program in the regular course of business do not have to be sanitized (i.e. record deletion) because an SUD patient sends an incidental message to their physician’s personal device. Non-Part 2 providers under this rule will now have access to central registries to determine if a patient is enrolled in an Opioid Treatment Program (OTP) and receiving medications as part of SUD treatment to ensure at-risk patients are not accidentally overprescribed or given prescriptions for which they are seeking treatment.”

Click here to read the press release from HHS.