HHS Published Long-awaited “Part 2” Rule on Substance Abuse Info Sharing
Today the Administration published the long-anticipated 42 CFR Part 2 proposed rule involving consent requirements associated with the release of substance abuse history. CHIME has long advocated to the Administration and Congress the need to streamline consent policies associated with sensitive health information, aligning these policies with the consent policies under the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
CHIME’s Opioid Task Force has also been vocal on this issue. Our position is that clinicians need a full and accurate picture of a patient’s health conditions in order to best treat them and prevent situations like possible overdoses related to patients prescribed opioids who have an opioid use disorder (OUD). Countless lives have already been lost because of a provider receiving an incomplete picture of a patient’s record and condition. In fact, a bill introduced last year, the Jessica Grubb’s Legacy Act, would have addressed precisely this issue. Unfortunately, despite much support from CHIME and other stakeholders, it was not included in the opioid legislative package that was enacted as The Support Act or the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment for Patients and Communities Act. Conversations, nonetheless, have continued — with policymakers pushing for the need to remove barriers that impede a clinician’s ability to treat those with or at risk for substance abuse disorders (SUDs).
Based upon a cursory review, it does not appear that the proposed rule published by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), addresses our chief concern as outlined above. According to the HHS fact sheet, the administration writes, “Part 2 will also continue to restrict the disclosure of SUD treatment records without patient consent, other than as statutorily authorized in the context of a bona fide medical emergency; or for the purpose of scientific research, audit, or program evaluation; or based on an appropriate court order for good cause.” A summary of the rule’s proposed changes are located in a table in the fact sheet.
Our policy team is reviewing this rule and will be sharing more information in the coming days and weeks. We will be hosting workgroup calls to shape our response to the rule. Please email our team at [email protected] if you would like to join.
In the meantime, you can find the following materials below – a summary is offered in the fact sheet and the consent policies are found starting on page 83 of the rule.
President & CEO, CHIME