February 17, 2016

Confidentiality of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Patient Records: Proposed Revisions Open for Public Comment

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, titled "Confidentiality of Substance Use Disorder Patient Records," published in the Federal Register on February 9. The goal of the proposed changes is to facilitate information exchange within new health care models while addressing the legitimate privacy concerns of patients seeking treatment for a substance use disorder. The regulatory changes will ensure that these patients have the choice to participate in and benefit from new integrated health care models without fear of the risk of adverse consequences. Due to its targeted population, the rules provide more stringent federal protections than most other health privacy laws, including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Public comments on the proposed rule are due no later than 5 p.m. on April 11, 2016, and may be submitted by using one of the methods outlined in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking