CHA News

HHS Proposes Confidentiality Protections for Substance Use Disorder Patient Records

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The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) has issued a proposed rule on changes to the confidentiality of substance use disorder patient records. 

HHS’ Office for Civil Rights and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration issued the changes under 42 CFR Part 2, which protects patient privacy and records concerning treatment related to substance use challenges from unauthorized disclosures. 

The proposed changes are aimed at better aligning Part 2 with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), as required by Section 3221 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.  

Proposed changes include: 

  • Permitted use and disclosure of Part 2 records based on a single patient consent given once for all future uses and disclosures for treatment, payment, and health care operations 
  • Permitted redisclosure of Part 2 records in any manner permitted by the HIPAA privacy rule, with certain exceptions 
  • New patient rights under Part 2 to obtain an accounting of disclosures and to request restrictions on certain disclosures, as also granted by the HIPAA privacy rule 
  • Expanded prohibitions on the use and disclosure of Part 2 records in civil, criminal, administrative, and legislative proceedings 
  • New HHS enforcement authority, including the imposition of civil money penalties for violations of Part 2 
  • Updated breach notification requirements to HHS and affected patients 
  • Updated HIPAA privacy rule notice of privacy practices requirements to address uses and disclosures of Part 2 records and individual rights with respect to those records 

Comments are due to HHS by Jan. 31, 2023. Additional information is available in a fact sheet.