patient confidentiality

How will the The Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018 affect patient confidentiality

No one will be “found out”

The passage of Proposition 47 in November 2014 provided relief for many who lived with substance abuse addiction, as this measure reduced the legal ramifications of drug use from a felony to a misdemeanor. However, the stigma associated with drug and alcohol abuse still deters individuals from seeking treatment for addiction, partly because those who have not yet been caught do not want to stain their clean record should anyone find out about their drug rehabilitation. Thanks to patient confidentiality laws like HIPAA and 42 CFR Part 2, those who want to seek addiction treatment of their own volition, without coercion from the drug courts or other external forces, may do so without undue anxiety.

What is HIPAA?

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) governs how your Protected Health Information (“PHI”) is shared among covered entities such as health plans, health care clearinghouses, and health care providers. Protected Health Information is defined as “any information about health status, provision of health care, or payment for health care that is created or collected by a Covered Entity…and can be linked to a specific individual.”

What is 42 CFR Part 2?

Short for Title 42 of the federal law (42 U.S.C. § 290dd-2) Code of Federal Regulations (“CFR”) Part 2, this regulation takes protection of patient confidentiality to another level in the substance abuse treatment field. HIPAA governs how information is shared, whereas 42 CFR Part 2 limits the circumstances under which information can be shared, and this is especially important for those seeking substance abuse treatment because without your written consent, any information pertaining to your identity, diagnosis, prognosis or treatment in a substance abuse program cannot be shared with third parties, including law enforcement agencies.

Updates to the patient confidentiality laws – what does this mean for you?

The idea of modernizing the confidentiality laws came about when a young woman, Jessica Grubb, died of an opioid overdose when she was given a prescription for Oxycodone for her recovery from hip surgery. Could her death have been prevented if her doctors knew about her seven-year addiction to heroin? Would they still have prescribed the pain killer if they had access to her medical records? In light of the current opioid epidemic, the Senate health committee voted to approve The Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018, which would update existing patient confidentiality laws to prevent future accidental deaths from unnecessary opioid prescriptions.

Should the laws be updated and enforced, your medical records and patient rights are still protected. The proposed legislation would:

• Remove barriers to coordinated care for individuals with substance use disorders
• Continue to protect data privacy with the patient’s written consent
• Simplify the data disclosure process with one consent form throughout a medical system or hospital (as opposed to filling out a form for every single clinician)

Where can I find help for alcohol and drug use?

New Method Wellness, one of the nation’s best centers for alcohol and drug rehab, is a dual diagnosis treatment center that integrates evidence-based practices with holistic therapies. Every client is paired with two therapists, which ensures the success of their recovery after they complete one of our numerous holistic programs. Highly recommended by Dr. Phil, New Method Wellness has helped thousands of clients from all over the country to break free from their chains of addiction.

For more information, call 866.951.1824 to speak to our Outreach Coordinator today!

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