Individuals enrolled in treatment for substance use disorders, such as those patients enrolled in treatment services at both Counseling Solutions Treatment Centers locations, have held specific and comprehensive confidentiality protections since the 1970’s under federal regulations codified in 42 CFR Part 2. THOSE CONFIDENTIALITY PROTECTIONS ARE NOW AT RISK! Powerful lobbyists are trying to fold the comprehensive confidentiality protections afforded under 24 CFR Part 2 into those much less comprehensive privacy rights delineated in HIPAA.
While HIPAA does afford some privacy protections, it is nowhere the protection afforded under 42 CFR Part 2. Do not be fooled! If the proponents of this change are successful, treatment enrollment and other records from substance use treatment may be uploaded into electronic health records and other databases (including Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs). This could result in ANY physicians or ANY pharmacist (or their delegates) to find out that someone is in treatment with the click of a button. PATIENTS SHOULD BE ABLE TO DETERMINE WHO KNOWS THEY ARE ENROLLED IN TREATMENT AND WHAT RECORDS THEY SHOULD HAVE ACCESS TO. The stigma around substance use disorders in general and the use of medications like methadone or buprenorphine to treat those disorders in particular remains great. Many patients may not seek or not remain in treatment if these important confidentiality protections are removed.
A recent issue of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Weekly (ADAW) highlighted this issue and goes into detail about why these protections are so important.
Please see that issue of ADAW here: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/adaw.32018. Share this article and this issue WIDE and FAR. It is unconscionable during a national opioid addiction and overdose crisis that our elected representatives would cower before lobbyists and consider doing something that could discourage individuals from seeking and/or remaining enrolled in treatment!
Important organizations such as the American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence (AATOD), the National Alliance for Medication Assisted Recovery (NAMA), and Faces and Voices of Recovery (FAVOR) have made strong statements against the efforts to undo the protections afforded by 42 CFR Part 2.
It’s time for those in recovery and patients currently enrolled in treatment to let their voices be heard! There is too much at stake to stay silent on this issue. With hundreds of thousands of people enrolled in substance use treatment across the country, and millions of individuals in long-term recovery, making quick calls to your U.S. Senators could make an enormous difference if even a small fraction of people in treatment and/or recovery take action!
WHAT CAN I DO?
The U.S. House of Representatives has already passed the bill that would fold the comprehensive confidentiality protections under 42 CFR Part 2 into the far less protecting laws under HIPAA. The legislation now sits in the U.S. Senate.
CONTACT YOUR TWO U.S. SENATORS TODAY and tell them to PROTECT 42 CFR PART 2, Confidentiality of Substance Use Treatment Patient Records! It should only take a few minutes to make the call. Be sure you call the two U.S. Senators in your STATE OF RESIDENCE. Tell them you are one of their constituents (someone who lives in the state they represent). If you are in recovery, tell them you are a person in recovery and that you are watching to ensure your Confidentiality remains protected! Tell them you and your family and friends will remember how they vote. Tell them that HIPAA does NOT afford the necessary comprehensive protections that we currently have under 42 CFR Part 2. Tell them how important confidentiality is to your treatment and recovery process!
GO TO THIS LINK and enter your ZIP CODE to FIND YOUR TWO U.S. SENATORS and their phone numbers: https://whoismyrepresentative.com/. Please call BOTH of your U.S. Senators.
SAMPLE COMMENT when calling:
“Hello, my name is _______________________. I live in ______[city]_______, ______[state]__________. The U.S. House recently passed a bill that would remove confidentiality protections for substance use disorders under 42 CFR Part 2 and fold it into HIPAA. That is not acceptable, as the stigma around addiction and treatment remains too high. As someone who you represent, I urge you to PROTECT 42 CFR Part 2 and ask that you OPPOSE any efforts to fold 42 CFR Part 2 into HIPAA. Thank you for your time.”
MAKE YOUR VOICES HEARD!! #Save42CFRpart2