On Feb. 9, 2016, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) published in the Federal Register a proposed rule putting forth amendments to the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Treatment Confidentiality Rule at 42 C.F.R. Part 2 (the “Part 2 Rule”). A redline of the proposed changes to the Part 2 Rule is available here.

For some time, the Part 2 Rule’s rigid consent requirement has represented an often insurmountable hurdle to including alcohol and drug abuse treatment information (“Part 2 information”) in electronic health information exchange (HIE) and care coordination efforts. The long-anticipated proposed rule takes one step forward – allowing a consent to specify a class of treating providers, but also manages to take (at least) two steps back: (1) potentially making it more difficult to disclose Part 2 information to an organization without a treatment relationship; and (2) providing patients with the right to an accounting of disclosures that HIPAA has shown to be of dubious value in comparison to its burden.

Anyone operating or seeking to coordinate with a Part 2 program should consider submitting comments on the proposed rule.

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