HHS modifies substance use disorder privacy regulations

Washington Connection - July 17, 2020

Health Information Technology

Federal Compliance

July 16, 2020:  The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, an agency within HHS, released a final rule modifying the 42 CFR Part 2 regulation governing the confidentiality of records for patients with substance use disorder (SUD). While HIPAA permits the sharing of patient data for treatment, payment, and healthcare operations without patient consent, Part 2 creates a separate standard for the sharing of SUD information that requires patient consent. Key modifications include:
  • Treatment records created by non-Part 2 providers are explicitly not covered by Part 2, unless any SUD records previously received from a Part 2 program are incorporated into such records;
  • SUD patients may consent to disclosure of Part 2 treatment records to a practice without naming an individual (previously, they would have had to identify a specific person in the practice); and
  • Non-opioid treatment program and non-central registry treating providers are now eligible to query a central registry in order to determine whether their patients are already receiving opioid treatment.
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