Updates to 42 CFR part 2

confidentialityNew rules have been released for 42 CFR part 2, the law that provides for confidentiality of addiction treatment records.

The changes are intended to make information sharing between providers easier, though it’s not clear how much this will actually help.

The new rules can be found here.

The federal press release can be found here.

The proposed and final rules are not loved by all:

In response to the proposed rule, Kaiser Permanente had written: “SAMHSA appears to have gone out of its way to make sharing clinical information for treatment purposes more difficult, other than nominal easing of consent form requirements for a very limited type of HIE. SAMHSA has not created a treatment exception, has not permitted patients to consent to disclosure of information to “all of my treating providers ….and has made consent forms more complicated and confusing.”

In response to the final rule, Pamela Greenberg, president and CEO of the Association for Behavioral Health and Wellness, noted that while the final rule is an improvement over current regulations and over the proposed rule, it continues to limit communication among providers, and in some cases, the ability to use existing medical information to identify members at risk for substance, such as opioid, misuse or diversion,

“ABHW applauds SAMHSA for addressing this important matter. Our hope was that the final rule would align substance use privacy protections with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Unfortunately, it does not,” Greenberg said in a prepared statement. “Separation of substance use from the rest of medicine creates several problems: primary care lacks the ability to coordinate a patient’s medical and substance use treatment; substance use treatment programs lack the capability to coordinate a patient’s medical and substance use care; and patients are put at risk of unsafe, uncoordinated, and uninformed care.”