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Rule Makes Substance Abuse Records Easier to Disclose

Posted in HIPAA and the HITECH Act, Legislation and Public Policy, Mental Health, Privacy and Data Protection

A January 3 article in Bloomberg BNA’s Health Care Daily Report and other publications, “Rule Makes Substance Abuse Records Easier to Disclose,” discussed the new rule released January 2 by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Day Pitney’s Eric Fader was quoted in the article.The new rule is intended to align privacy protections with new healthcare delivery models. The new rule and previous changes adopted in 2017 are the first changes to the so-called Part 2 regulations since 1987, years before the creation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

“Industry awareness and compliance with HIPAA and the HITECH Act, and the available regulatory guidance regarding HIPAA, were far ahead of those for Part 2, so the new rule will certainly improve compliance with Part 2,” Eric told Bloomberg BNA. He added that although Part 2 provides tougher protections for substance abuse records than HIPAA, the new rule references the more familiar HIPAA requirements, which should make providers’ lives easier.

“Just as information flow and interoperability of electronic health records systems are critical in this era of increasing care coordination and value-based care, the governing regulations should also be interoperable to the extent possible so that sloppy inconsistencies between them don’t impede innovation,” Eric concluded.

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